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On behalf of its 674,000 Colorado members, AARP is thanking Public Service Company of Colorado (Xcel) for listening to the concerns of AARP and others about Xcel’s plan to pursue membership in the Little Rock, Arkansas-based grid operator Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

Last year, AARP learned that Xcel, Black Hills and others were considering joining the Little Rock SPP, which would’ve turned over much of the regulatory authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

AARP’s concerns — echoed in Xcel’s recent press release to back out of joining the SPP — were that there could have been additional costs to consumers, including the possibility that Colorado ratepayers would have to foot the bill for upgrades to the grid in other states. In addition, AARP questioned Colorado’s connectivity to the far-away eastern interconnection and lamented the loss of state jurisdiction.

AARP now urges Xcel to consider whether the Front Range even needs a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. AARP suggests that use of the Peak Reliability control center in Loveland be kept instead of moving grid reliability operations out of state.

AARP looks forward to continued discussions to keep Colorado electricity and natural gas rates fair and affordable. Again, AARP thanks Xcel for reconsidering and putting ratepayers first regarding the SPP.