03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Xcel Executive Perks: Energy Company Eliminates Executive Spending From Rate Increase After Outcry

After weeks of public outcry, Xcel Energy, Colorado's largest energy provider has agreed to drop $280,000 worth of requests for food, travel and other perks from the $136 million in rate increase requests currently being considered by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Xcel, which initially submitted a request to the Utilities Commission for a $180 million rate increase, came under fire from groups like Arapahoe County's ArapaHOPE Community Team, which took issue with what they perceived as excessive executive perks coming at bill-payer expense. The perks being decried by such organizations included a night at a luxury hotel in Paris, rounds of golf, Colorado Avalanche tickets and other expenses.

Public Utilities Commission spokesman Terry Bote told the Colorado Independent on November 20 that the Commission did not have the authority to enact rules preventing executive spending, saying "the Commission can't set a rule by deliberation in a rate case, so if they were going to make a rule, they would have to go into a rule-making proceeding to do that,"

Xcel's decision was reached voluntarily through discussion with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

After announcing the drop in rate increase requests, Excel Vice President Scott Wilensky told the Denver Post Monday the company's goal is to "assure that the cases remained focused on the primary need for our requests, which is to recover significant new investments in our generation, transmission and distribution systems."