New proposal will tackle high utility bills

SB23-291 will reduce reliance on volatile, expensive and dangerous gas.

Gas is volatile, expensive and dangerous. This winter, our overreliance on gas to heat and power our homes and businesses led to huge spikes in utility bills for Coloradans across the state.

Now a new bill at the legislature aims to tackle these high utility bills by reducing our reliance on gas.

We’re glad members of the Joint Select Committee on Rising Utility Rates included many of the recommendations we made.

The bill has pieces that should stop wasteful subsidies on new infrastructure that increase our reliance on gas, increase incentives for efficiencies that save us money and help people better transition away from gas to heat and power our homes and businesses.

We’re still reviewing the bill but there are some good components we are seeing including:

  • Not allowing regulated gas and electric utilities from recouping the costs from ratepayers of lobbying, tax penalties, political contributions, and marketing that focuses on promoting itself and its brand.
  • Eliminating the ratepayer subsidy for new gas line extensions, which incentivizes increasing customer dependence on gas.
  • Requiring a depreciation study to ensure ratepayers will not be on the hook for new gas investments that may become underutilized or stranded.
  • Eliminating the penalty for customers who choose to disconnect from the gas system and evaluating ways to better support ratepayers to switch to electric-heated homes and businesses.
  • Requiring the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to adopt new rules with possible financial incentives so investor-owned utilities are more aligned with ratepayers around fuel costs, helping to reduce the impact from volatile gas prices. These rules could also increase efficiencies and reduce waste across the system saving ratepayers money.
  • Increasing the transparency around the assumptions that investor-owned utilities use for their rate cases.
  • Requiring more evaluation around the impact on ratepayers of providing gas infrastructure in new developments. It will also require a map of anticipated gas infrastructure that will need replacing, which could lead to more cost effective, large-scale ways to reduce reliance on gas.

For more information on the bill, you can view our news release here.


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