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      Xcel Energy withdraws request for price increase

      Your electricity bill will not be going up after all.

      Energy company Xcel Energy has withdrawn its plan to the Public Utility Commission of Texas for a seven percent increase to electricity bills.

      The plan would have added $6.30, to a typical winter residential bill of 1,000 kilowatt-hours, Xcel Energy said.

      Xcel said it was seeking the increase as it was working to be in short-team compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).

      According to a news release, Xcel learned in July 2011 that CSAPR was going to require electricity generators in Texas to reduce their emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide by as much as 50 percent starting Jan. 1, 2012. Xcel previously said the only realistic and short-term compliance option is to reduce its output of coal-fueled plants. Those plans emit more nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide than natural gas-fueled plants.

      On Dec. 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals stayed CSAPR's implementation until the court has a chance to review the merits of several lawsuits. Those suits included one filed by Xcel Energy that sought to block the new rul and come up with a more reasonable way to reduce emissions.

      Xcel Energy said it still needs to update its fuel cost factor on customer bills because its fuel mix has changed and the natural gas prices have decreased since the last update. Xcel will now submit a new proposal before the end of January. The customer impact is unknown.

      Legal efforts will be continued by Xcel Energy to block CSAPR and lobby for better plans with more reasonable options for its customers, the energy company said.

      Hill said that because natural gas is more expensive than coal, the current formula to figure average fuel costs will be outdated after the new year.

      "We opposed and still oppose CSAPR because of enormous and immediate costs of complying so quickly," said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. "Even so, we remain committed to investing in new emission-control technologies, and we hope the court's decision will allow us to make these investments in a more reasonable timeframe that would ease the financial impact on our customers and maintain the reliability of our generating system."