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Colorado Springs Utilities planning to raise rates again

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- Colorado Springs Utilities is considering another rate increase, including a 30% rate hike on natural gas rates for residential users.

Just like the last hike Colorado Springs Utilities implemented, the utility is blaming rising market prices for the proposed increase.

Wednesday's meeting was just a discussion on the change, with the formal vote on the rate hike is set for later this month.

Proposed change (Colorado Springs Utilites)

But board members acknowledged the hike is almost all but certain.

"The fact is, we honestly need the money," Bill Murray, a Colorado Springs City Councilman, and by virtue, a Colorado Springs Utilities board member, said. "We need to be honest with you. All the costs are going up, you all know it."

The proposed rate hike could soon add another $16-$18 to the average bill.

The reason is twofold. One, because of uncollected costs by Springs utilities over time, and two, because of record-high natural gas prices.

"We've really seen the highest natural gas prices than we've seen really since the 2000s," rate adjustor Scott Shirola continued. "Significant increases even from this last winter in December."

Colorado Springs Utilities has found itself $18 million dollars down in unpaid costs from the past year, an amount that can largely be chalked up to unexpected market fluctuations. The utility needs to recoup the money somehow.

Now its board is considering two options. One that would collect the money faster with a slightly higher rate for electricity, and another that carries less impact on electricity per bill.

City Council President Tom Strand is one of those in favor of the lower rate, specifically because of seniors on fixed incomes. He met with some at Silver Key Senior Services recently.

"They're all in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. They were in wheelchairs and walkers. They saw my name tag and they came up to me and they said, 'please, don't raise our utility rates more than you have to.'"

The utility is a not-for-profit, just passing on fuel costs to customers.

But given the current economy, the board will need to ask itself, how much is too much so quickly?

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Spencer Soicher

Spencer is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.

Comments

7 Comments

  1. CSU decommissioned Drake and our energy prices soar. The L.A. CEO turning Colorado Springs into CA.

  2. Once again years ago we used to purchase natural gas futures when market rates were low. The Citizens votes to stop this so now CSU is forced to purchase natural gas at current market prices… We did this to ourselves. Its going to be a very tough winter so many…

  3. At this point regarding CSU and our city council, this is my shocked face… 😐 But we keep voting these people to stay in their positions of power while they do no good for the populace, so as Simon stated, this problem is the voter’s fault. and can only be fixed by the voters. No more in(c)umbents.

  4. The proposed rate hike could soon add another $16-$18 to the average bill.

    At least don’t treat us like a fool and lie to us you highway robbers. The rate hike you are asking for is $28.00 for the average residential customer. Read your own proposals

    Electric: $11.28 and Gas: $16.05. Perhaps we need new board members that can do basic math.

  5. There is one and only one reason our electricity rates are skyrocketing. Shutting down coal at Drake. Funny how now no council member will even mention it. Go back through my previous comments. Two years ago when it was voted on by who – City Council!!!!! I wrote our rates were going to skyrocket and to revisit my comments – well was I ever right! Short sighted decision by short sighted council!!! Coal is dirt cheap right now and Drake was actually quite clean. Blame City Council period!!!! And Woke KRDO – why don’t you press the hard questions???? Do your job!

    1. Totally correct. No more Drake = here come the double digit rate increases; here come the first day+ outages in Colorado Springs history.
      .
      City Council has sold out their own residents.

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