Some Colorado utility consumers could pay more than $550 for February storm
Consumer advocates still pursuing questions of why gas supplies for Front Range shot up so much when the cold hit Texas hardest.
Colorado utility customer surcharges for the February freeze that paralyzed Texas will range from $44 to a high of $557 over time, depending on the region and the company, according to the most recent requests filed at the Public Utilities Commission.
The Office of Consumer Counsel, the governor’s office and others have said they will continue to question the surcharges. They argue the utilities that bought natural gas at inflated prices to generate electricity or deliver to customers should have warned consumers how they could avoid the surging bills.
The utilities asking the PUC for permission to pass on the costs say they had to buy enough energy to meet the potentially high demands of consumers during the extreme cold snap, and that current rules don’t allow them to warn customers solely on the basis of higher costs. They are asking the PUC to approve boosts to monthly customer bills to cover hundreds of millions of dollars in extra fuel costs as delivery systems broke down in the storm.
Xcel said its calls for conservation are usually aimed at easing pressure on delivery systems and ensuring customers can get what they need for safety and comfort, said spokesman Randy Fordice, in an email statement about the latest filings. “Fortunately, in this case, the systems performed well and delivered natural gas and electric service for our customers.”
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