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Colorado Springs Utilities: Customers can expect to pay more for natural gas again this winter

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- People who struggled to pay heating bills last winter because of a spike in natural gas prices will likely do so again this winter, a Colorado Springs Utility spokesman confirmed Thursday.

The exact amount of the increase is still being determined but should be similar to last year's increase, spokesman Scott Shirola said.

Colorado Springs Utilities

Natural gas for heating and generating electricity continues to be more expensive, he said, because of inflation, reduced production since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased demand for liquefied natural gas from overseas.

If approved by the City Council in two weeks, Shirola said, the increase will start Oct. 1 and continue through March; the change is part of a quarterly review of utility rates by CSU.

Colorado Springs Utilities

However, Shirola said that there's some good news; rates for electricity are expected to be lower during that period.

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“Typically, we do see lower usage in terms of electricity during the fall season, as customers begin to transition from air-conditioning usage to heating usage," he explained. "And typically, energy consumption during this fall period is slightly lower. We should have more details on what the rates will be in a few days."

Colorado Springs Utilities

Now is a good time, the spokesman said, for customers to winterize their homes -- insulating doors and windows, for example -- using less heat when possible, and keeping thermostats at no higher than 68 degrees when people are at home and 60 degrees when they're away.

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It's something that Esohe Igbinedion will continue doing this winter.

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"I do a lot of weatherproofing," she said. "So a lot of the tape on my crevices, windows and doors that I don't use. That's really the biggest thing that I do. And by doing that, I didn't have a big increase in my bill last winter.

Candice Quist is a local landlord who said that coping with a rate increase is challenging.

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"I can absorb some of the cost for my tenants," she said. "But I can only do it so much. I had a big increase in my property tax bill this year, too. Still, natural gas rates aren't as high as they were after the 2008 recession. I'll just try to wade through it and hope it's not worse this time."

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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