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Xcel loses bid to recoup $16.5M for smart grid

DENVER (AP) -- A judge has rejected a request from Xcel Energy Inc. to recover $16.6 million from the company's completed SmartGridCity project in Boulder by charging Colorado ratepayers.

The city of Boulder, the Colorado Consumer Counsel and two of Xcel's industrial customers opposed the request, which was rejected Thursday.

PUC officials ruled Xcel could recoup about $30 million of its costs but that $16.6 million more could not be recovered until the utility showed it had completed the project and that the project would help all of its Colorado customers. The case now goes back to the PUC to make the final decision. Xcel officials say they may renew their request.

The project connects 23,000 homes in Boulder with smart meters using computers to manage electricity distribution.