DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- Natural gas consumers in Southern Colorado are no doubt going to see an increase on their utility bills.
On Tuesday, Governor Jared Polis talked about the impact during a press briefing.
"Regulated utilities, like Black Hill, as well as municipal utilities, like Colorado Springs Utilities, which also suffered additional loss," Polis said.
Colorado Springs Utilities spent an estimated $95 million for skyrocketing gas prices during a four-day stretch in February. Now that cost is going to consumers with an estimated rate hike between $12 and $36 a month.
"We are not Texas consumers," Polis says, "we should not be expected to shoulder unexpected costs." He believes utility companies should have done more to prepare ahead of time.
"I don't think utilities should approach the state and say we want to charge consumers when during the period in time, they weren't even out there notifying people," Polis says.
However, CSU CEO Aram Benyamin says they did warn customers. "We started messaging several days before the event happened and I think the public responded very well."
CSU posted on their Facebook page telling customers to turn down their thermostats, turn off lights, and find more efficient ways to do laundry.
During the press conference, Polis said that if companies did warn customers to take precautions to reduce usage and there was still a cost for utility companies then it's, "a fair conversation."
However, Benyamin says CSU is working to expand education and messaging to its customers when these situations arise. "We are going to look at where we can improve and how we can do better," Benyamin says.
As to why CSU had to buy gas in the first place, knowing prices were at an all-time high, Benyamin says it was to ensure the system didn't go down if cold temperatures and grid strain continued.
"The things that are not negotiable is the reliability of the system - so we want to make sure that's always non-negotiable," Benyamin says. "So we don't sacrifice anything on the reliability side because the price is high."
CSU also says they did sell about $18 million worth of natural gas that did put a dent in their overall cost.
The Colorado Springs City Council will vote on the natural gas rate increase for customers next Tuesday. If approved it will go into effect on March 11.