Xcel Energy has accelerated its energy engine in utility markets
across the US. The utility holding company distributes electricity
to 3.5 million customers and natural gas to 1.9 million
in eight states through four regulated utilities; Colorado and
Minnesota account for most of its customers.
Its utilities -- Northern States Power (NSP-Minnesota and
NSP-Wisconsin), Public Service Company of Colorado, and
Southwestern Public Service (in New Mexico and Texas)
-- have the combined capacity of more than 17,000 MW of
electricity. Xcel owns transmission and distribution lines, as
well as natural gas assets. It is also a leading wind
power provider in the US, with wind farms in Colorado, Minnesota,
The company serves customers in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota,
New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Xcel operates power and gas utilities: Northern States
Power Company-Minnesota; Northern States Power Company-Wisconsin,
Public Service Company of Colorado; and Southwestern Public Service
Company. The holding company has more than 75 generating
plants, more than 87,165 miles of transmission lines and about
193,110 miles of distribution lines. It also operates an
interstate natural gas pipeline company and a joint venture to
develop and lease natural gas pipelines, storage, and compression
assets. Xcel has 2,248 miles of natural gas transmission
pipeline and 33,872 miles of distribution pipeline. Xcel's
commercial operations manage the generation fleet and all wholesale
activities for Xcel Energy's four public utility subsidiaries.
The company is also the US's fifth-largest utility solar energy
provider and owns the fourth-largest transmission system. In
addition, Xcel operates more than 25 hydroelectric power plants in
Colorado, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Sales and Marketing
The company's major commercial and industrial electric sales are
to customers in the petroleum and coal, as well as food products
industries. It also serves small commercial and industrial
customers, and gets significant electric retail sales from real
estate customers and school systems and universities.
After experiencing lower natural gas and electric revenues in
2012, in 2013 Xcel's revenues grew by 8% due to a 17% increase in
natural gas revenues (thanks to the purchased natural gas
adjustment clause recovery and a 6% increase in the electric
revenues as a result of higher fuel and purchased power cost
recovery). Natural gas margins increased as the result of cooler
winter weather (which spurred demand) and rate increases in
Colorado and Wisconsin.
In 2013 the company's net income increased by 5% due to higher
revenues, an increase in equity earnings on subsidiaries and
allowance for funds used during construction.
After experiencing a drop in operating cash inflow in 2012 due to
deferred income tax and change in working capital, in 2013 Xcel's
operating cash inflow increased to $ 2.6 billion (from $2 billion
in 2012) due to higher net income and a change in working
To meet the demands both of customers and regulators, Xcel plans
to invest $14.1 billion in its utility businesses from 2014 through
2018 to modernize infrastructure, improve system reliability,
reduce environmental pollution, and expand the amount of renewable
energy available to its customers. Xcel has long-term plans to move
from coal-fired plants to natural gas, and on to
alternative fuels such as wind, solar, and biomass to boost
its green power capacity (88,705 MWh by 2015). In 2013 the company
expanded its agreement with the National Center For Atmospheric
Research for sophisticated renewable energy forecasting as a way to
help it save millions of dollars.
The company believes its strategy of making environmentally
sound investments is pivotal to its success. It is constructing the
CapX2020 project, a joint venture transmission expansion
project with 10 other utilities, scheduled for completion by
2020. The project includes a 240-mile transmission line from
Minnesota to North Dakota. It has has filed to extend the licensing
plants of its two nuclear plants on Prairie Island in Minnesota for
20 years, which it expects to save customers more than $1
In 2013 The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has approved
Xcel Energy's plan to buy 698 MW of additional wind energy for its
Texas-New Mexico system, which will save area customers an
estimated $590 million in fuel costs over the 20-year life of the
contracts. New wind facilities planned for Roosevelt County, New
Mexico, Hansford and Ochiltree counties, Texas, and Dewey and
Blaine counties, Oklahoma, will supply the power.
Xcel is also working to develop so-called "smart grid"
technology, which will provide customers with more reliability and
control over their energy use. It has completed the nation's first
fully integrated SmartGridCity in Boulder, Colorado.