Monday, June 11, 2007

Smart Move, Idiots

Here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, we receive our power from Xcel Energy. I've been generally happy with them as I've never had a problem with a bill, the transfer of service went smoothly when I moved, the rates are reasonable, and I applaud their efforts to try and get people to conserve energy and gas. I actually thought the company was solid enough in financials and attitude to go ahead and buy stock in them. I'm starting to second guess my decision.

The last month or so their stock has been on a slow downward trend. Of course all stocks go up and down, but along with the downward swing, I found myself frustrated by some of the decisions being made by Xcel. The first was a rate hike on their natural gas services that equated to about a 29% average increase in price. I find that a bit steep, but it wasn't something so egregious that I wanted to dump my stock.

What happened recently, does. Xcel wants to put a surcharge on natural gas users if there is an underusage of natural gas. This totally defeats the purpose of trying to conserve energy usage. There is no logical sense to this move, except to pay for the extra gas reserves Xcel might have sitting around if too many people conserve.

Now I don't use Xcel's natural gas service, but I can understand how customers would be downright pissed about these two moves being made so closely to each other. It's basically taking the consumer, punching him in the face, and then while he's trying to figure that out kicking him in the kidneys.

Xcel, shame on you.

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