An area utility company has filed for a temporary fuel cost surcharge.

Xcel Energy has requested approval from the Public Utility Commission of Texas for a fuel cost surcharge, due to past under collection.

According to a statement from Xcel, increased electricity load coupled with a spike in customer demand this summer has led the company to depend more on natural gas-fueled power plants, causing an increase in the purchase of natural gas.

President and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company Riley Hill said “Electricity demand so far this summer has exceeded 2010’s peak demand on 36 days or more, and it’s the new sources of natural gas-fueled power that has enabled us to keep pace.

The downside is the higher cost to purchase that natural gas.” If approved, the new fuel cost surcharge would add $4.56 per month to a residential bill of 1,000 kilowatt-hours.

A third natural gas-fired unit was activated on June 30th at Lubbock’s Jones Generating station.

Hill added that customers can help lower their fuel costs by making their homes more energy efficient. Efficiency programs and conservation tips can be found online at www.xcelenergy.com.