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      Xcel Energy looks to add small surcharge on electricity bills

      Residential and small commercial customers in Texas may soon see a small fuel cost surcharge on their year-end bills, Xcel Energy said on Wednesday.

      The surcharge is pending regulatory approval and takes place as the company works to balance its fuel accounts.

      According to the utility, industrial and large commercial customers will instead receive refunds.

      Southwestern Public Service, Xcel's Texas-based operating company, filed on Monday its plan for the fuel cost true-up at the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

      Xcel said its residential customers in Texas who use 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month pay a one-time surcharge of $3.38 that is split between two billing cycles. The charge starts with the December bills and expires once the amount is collected, Xcel said.

      "A true-up can lead to both surcharges and refunds because usage patterns differ among the customer classes," Xcel said in a statement. "Residential and small commercial customers tend to use more power - and thus more fuel - during the summer months. Usage patterns among large commercial and industrial customers tend to stay roughly the same across a 12-month period. "

      Because of the early cancellation of a fuel cost surcharge in May, an under collection was recorded for fuel costs associated with the residential and small commercial classes, Xcel said. The additional fuel charge is to balance the fuel accounts.

      Thanks to the early expiration of the surcharge and a lower fuel cost factor implemented in April, Xcel said a typical residential bill of 1,000 kilowatt-hours saved $10. \