Say watt?! Xcel Energy customers to see smaller bills

Electricity bills are going down again, Xcel Energy says.

Xcel Energy is set to drain electricity bills once again, thanks to the continued fall in the price of natural gas.

The energy company gave notice on Thursday to its Texas cities as well as the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) that it is canceling a fuel-cost surcharge six months ahead of schedule.

With Xcel Energy canceling the surcharge, a typical residential bill of 1,000 kilowatt-hours will drop $5.09, or 5.5 percent, per month.

Implemented in November 2011, the surcharge was intended to offset under-collections of fuel costs from early 2011. Xcel Energy said the under-collected money was recovered faster than first anticipated because of the continued fall in the price of natural gas.

"This is great news for area customers because it helps offset some of the higher prices they're paying for food and gasoline," said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. "But we know that natural gas prices are volatile, so we remain committed to investing in a mixed-resource portfolio to help offset possible price increases in the future."

Xcel customers will see the change starting May 1.

More than $4 was already zapped away by Xcel Energy on April 1 when Xcel lowered its fuel-cost factor.