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    Colorado customers with Xcel Energy can expect to pay about 5 percent less for their power this year than they did in 2010, even though the retail energy provider has raised its rates in three of the last four years, the Denver Post reports.

    According to the news source, Karen Hyde, Excel's vice president for rates and regulatory affairs, stated that the decline in rates has come from lower natural gas costs, which have tremendously shaved the energy company's overall spending.

    Because purchasing fuel to run natural gas power plants is the company's greatest expense, the lower fuel prices have been significant enough to mask a 10 percent increase in rates on the generation, transmission and operation side of users' electricity bills.

    However, the favorable rates may not linger for long.

    "We're benefiting for the moment, but when natural gas prices go up, and they will, we'll feel it," said Dennis Kelly, an attorney for the consumer group United Rates Payers of Colorado.

    States with energy deregulation laws in place, such as Texas, New Jersey, Illinois and Pennsylvania, allow residents to shop around for electricity rates to determine if a price increase or decrease is the best option for them.