Xcel Energy today filed for a revised fuel cost formula with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) that, if approved, would reduce residential bills of 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity by an average of $1.83, or about 1.8 percent, starting April 1.

“We’re pleased to announce the reduction in the fuel cost factor, and that our joint efforts to oppose the Cross-State rule have helped contain expected increases in bills,” said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. “Moving forward, investments in new, more efficient generating units and new transmission lines will help us keep downward pressure on fuel costs.”

According to Xcel Energy, another factor holding down fuel costs this year is the delay of a costly new federal emissions rule that was set to take effect on January 1, 2012. Xcel Energy’s only viable short-term compliance option to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was to reduce the output of lower-cost coal-fueled power plants and depend on natural gas-fueled plants for the bulk of power generation. Compliance would have increased costs of all fossil fuel generation despite lower natural gas prices. A federal appeals court issued a stay of the Cross-State rule on December 30, 2011, which temporarily delayed the effective date of the rule until the court takes up the merits of lawsuits filed in opposition.