Xcel Energy pledges to provide electrical services to the county through 2021

A new 10-year agreement between Eddy County and Xcel Energy provided electrical service until 2031.

The two entities have entered into a new non-exclusive franchise agreement for Xcel’s Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS) to provide electrical service to Eddy County.

A franchise agreement is a contractual agreement negotiated between a municipality and an electric utility that grants the utility the right to serve customers within a city’s jurisdiction, read the National Renewable Energy Laboratory website.

“The contract often specifies the period of service and a fee returned to the municipality. These agreements usually include stipulations regarding a utility’s right of way to install and maintain the electrical infrastructure,” the website says.

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The Eddy County Council of Commissioners approved the new agreement at the September 7 meeting.

Xcel Energy spokesman Wes Reeves said his company and Eddy County began talks in late 2020.

Eddy County Community Services Director Wesley Hooper said Xcel’s response times for county projects was a key negotiating point.

“The county and SPS recognize the importance of coordination and communication in the timely completion of work in public places in the county,” one part of the franchise agreement reads.

Xcel Energy power lines in an Eddy County neighborhood on September 7, 2021. Eddy County commissioners have approved a ten-year deal with Xcel Energy for a franchise deal.

“To assist in the coordination of work in public places across the county, including projects requiring the relocation of SPS facilities, county and SPS representatives will meet, at least quarterly, to share information regarding planned projects. “

According to the franchise agreement, the meetings would minimize conflicts in the location and relocation of SPS facilities to public places in Eddy County.

“In order to achieve the relocation in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible, and to facilitate coordination with any reasonable timetable established by the county for its projects,” the franchise agreement said.

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Hooper said the new deal was essential because Eddy County had deadlines for financial grants and road construction projects.

Reeves said Xcel representatives suggested it was best for the company to be involved early in talks for the grant-funded projects.

“So that there is regular communication to make sure there is a clear timeline to complete the job,” he said. “To this end, we have agreed to meet on a quarterly basis to discuss these projects to ensure that everyone’s goals are met. “

Eddy County Manager Allen Davis said he and Eddy County Cas Tabor had taken a close look at the deal.

“We were able to achieve the conditions desired by the county in terms of performance for Xcel Energy. “

Tabor acknowledged that the county and Xcel had spent time going back and forth to secure the deal.

Left to right: Fred Beard, Eddy County District 1 Commissioner, Ernie Carlson, Eddy County Commissioner, and Eddy County District Attorney Cas Tabor, at the July 6, 2021 Council of Eddy County Commissioners.

Hooper said the new deal would come into effect in early October.

Approved in 2014, the city of Carlsbad entered into a 25-year franchise agreement with Xcel Energy, according to a city document.

Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.

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