COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) Board met on Wednesday to consider two options for an increase to the electric cost adjustment (ECA) and gas cost adjustment (GCA).
CSU said in a press release that cost adjustments are coming at a time when fuel commodity markets are highly volatile, both locally and internationally.
“Colorado Springs utilities, as a not-for-profit utility, really passes along fuel costs directly on to our customers because of gas. Natural gas prices have risen significantly in the market,” said Scott Shirola, manager of pricing and rates at Colorado Spring Utilities.
According to CSU, they’ve seen a 150% increase in natural gas prices since December 2021.
“We’re seeing new and increasing demands for natural gas,” Shirola said. “So we have demand for natural gas driven-generation and in the electric market, largely because some of the coal plants across the US are being shut down or decommissioned.”
This increases the costs to provide services, and as a result, CSU is proposing an increase to the ECA and GCA.
CSU provided sample bills for the two options being considered. The second option, with a slightly higher rate, results in quicker recovery of fuel costs.
Changes in fuel costs are passed directly on to customers on a quarterly basis. This proposed increase is part of the regular quarterly adjustment. Customers had a decrease to the ECA and GCA in February, and another GCA decrease in May.
CSU said demand for natural gas in the summer goes down in homes, so customers that rely on electric air conditioning could see the highest impacts.
“Many of our customers are struggling,” said Steve Berry, CSU spokesperson. “We understand that it’s not easy. Know that. And so, the important thing is, as a customer, there are things you can do to offset some of those impacts on your monthly bill.”
CSU said rates can increase with demand and utility consumption.
“Regulating that air conditioning usage, turning off at night, opening the windows instead using fans, that can help a lot,” Berry said.
CSU said keeping your thermostat to 78 degrees is the most energy efficient, but 70 is a good balance. Also, keeping your blinds shut during the day so the central air can be most effective.
“Then, at night turn the central air off and open up your windows and let some of our great Colorado summer evenings… that cooler air blow in your house,” Berry said.
More summer tips can be found here.
City Council will vote on the proposed rates on Tuesday, June 28. If approved, the rates will be effective July 1.