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Governor discusses high utility bills for Coloradans after February cold-snap

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.

Colorado Springs / Local News / State & Regional News

Chase Golightly

Chase is a reporter and an anchor for our weekend evening newscasts. Learn more about Chase here.

Comments

18 Comments

      1. I’m not referring to me.
        The only way to get those windmills to spin is by having your mother blow….never mind.

  1. City council, do right by your constituents, not the corporations.

    1. Your faith in politicians is hilarious!
      I bet you want wind and solar NOW!!! Don’t you?

      Get mad with the environmentalist.

      1. Politicians only have to be as good as what “We the People” hold them accountable to be, Republican, Democrat or other. Rather than looking around for someone else to hold them accountable, I take a more direct approach by voicing my recommendations as a constituent of this city.
        And partially yes, having a renewable energy supply that supplies the city with clean energy and a supplemental power supply as a contingency plan that utilizes fossil fuel as a back-up system in events where renewable energy suffered a temporary setback until fixed and brought back online would be ideal for all of us. I do understand this cannot be done right away, good infrastructure takes time to establish but an expedited approach would again be intelligent design. Making sure Colorado’s power line has proper insulation and other requirements to deal with the climate change we are observing would also be prudent so we don’t end up like Texas did.
        Why would I get mad at the environmentalists, they themselves didn’t cause climate change to occur, the worlds dependence on fossil fuels along with several other factors is where the fault lies. Having better, renewable options and not using them because big oil pays our politicians off is what upsets me. Even that doesn’t get me mad, being mad at everything takes too much energy is a fruitless endeavor and I don’t have the time to waste on being mad.

    1. Thanks to Joe gas has has gone up…and that’s just the start.
      The race to $3 a gallon and beyond begins. This hurts the poor the most. Right Dems? Or is that the plan, make them poorer to maintain control over them…..like their Master maybe?

      1. The prez didnt raise the prices the greedy oil companies did….all while laying off hundreds of employees…….the oil companies….get your target right.

        1. When you cut off domestic production of natural gas and oil and then start to force these companies to buy from overseas… yes it is Bidens fault. Prices will go up because now we have to boat in oil and natural gas. Cost goes way up.

  2. Property taxes have soared as construction and property taxes has soared due to skyrocketing home costs…Where is that money going?

    During the pandemic which has financially hurt many businesses and people ColoFornia Springs city council has voted to increase the Storm Water “TAX” and will likely vote to increase utility costs.

    Our city roads continue to be a pot holed mess, traffic is a nightmare and crime is horrible.

    Incompetence and bad decisions by city/county leaders are hurting we the people.

    It appears that the fast growth in El Paso county has outpaced the competency or desire of our local government leaders to do what is best for their constituents.

    Who they represent is clearly not “we the People”. There has to be a better path than the one we are on.

  3. Quote: 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.”

    And when did these warnings go out? I NEVER RECEIVED ONE….NEVER ONCE.

    1. Back in the day they used to put out a PSA in the paper and on the news.
      Now they stated, “CSU posted on their Facebook page telling customers to turn down their thermostats, turn off lights, and find more efficient ways to do laundry.” like everyone uses Facebook, or even has them added to their friends list. Quality of customer care has diminished much over the last 40 years.

      1. Oh yeah they used to send out notifications in the mail as well, just like they still do with their bills.

  4. You better put your helmet on. It is only going to get worse as Biden moves us away from domestic energy production to is forcing companies to buy from over seas. So he killed American jobs and energy independence all for what reason? “To show the rest of the world we are serious about climate change.”(Yes, his words)
    In the midst of this pandemic he thrusts the costs to go green on the American people who are already struggling. We went from energy independence to having to rely upon Saudi Arabia (who we know if corrupt)for oil now. Soon we will be buying natural gas from Russia and Ukraine just like the rest of Europe does right now.
    Now you really have to wonder about Hunters and the Bidens ties to the Ukraine energy companies……. Just to convenient to not be a coincidence. SMH

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