Colorado electric utilities donate to relief agencies, distribute early refunds during coronavirus crisis

Xcel Energy plans to donate the first $1.5 million of more than $20 million in new corporate giving to COVID-19 relief efforts, including food banks and United Way chapters in its eight-state service territory.

The $20 million comes from proceeds of the utility’s recent sale of a natural gas-fueled power plant in Minnesota to Denver-based Southwest Generation. Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest electric utility, said Tuesday that it is matching employee donations up to $1,000 at a rate of $2 for every dollar donated.

Employees donated $112,000 dollars within a week. The Xcel Energy Foundation’s match raised the total to nearly $335,000, the utility said.

Another utility, United Power, said it is distributing capital credit refunds earlier than usual to provide members of  the electric cooperative some economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic. The Brighton-based utility will return a total of $5.5 million and nearly all members will benefit from the refunds, which will be sent starting in May, United Power said in a news release.

The utility said its board of directors has also approved using $250,000 in unclaimed capital credits to help offset the electric bills of members affected by the COVID-19 crisis, especially those affected by job losses and illness.

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