September 11, 2009

Rate hike request included donut cash

Colorado's Public Utilities Commission said it is refusing to grant an energy company a $480,000 rate hike for employee snacks and awards.

The PUC said the utility's local unit, the Public Service Company of Colorado, included $173,000 for coffee, donuts and other snacks plus $307,000 for employee recognition awards in its application for a $182 million rate increase, but officials told the company to cut the $480,000 from its request, The Denver Post reported Friday.

PUC officials said the costs are not appropriate to charge ratepayers and should be absorbed by PSCo's shareholders.

Terry Bote, a PU spokesman, said that while the sum accounts for less than three-tenths of 1 percent of the rate request, officials see it as a matter of principle.

We are going through rate requests with a fine-tooth comb looking for any inappropriate charge, Bote said.