Castle Rock residents question timing of new meters with skyrocketing energy bills

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — During the dog days of summer, homeowners like Joshua Robinson use every trick in the book to keep their house cool, without breaking the bank on energy bills.

“We’ve also done a ton of other electric upgrades for efficiency,” Robinson said.

They installed a Nest thermostat, and even took the hinges off their basement door to help pump colder air into their home and not have to rely on air conditioning.

But Robinson and dozens of ratepayers in Castle Rock are finding despite their efforts, their energy bills doubled or more for this cycle.

“This isn’t right, something must be off,” said Julie Entrekin. “Last month was $73 and this month it went up to $171.50.”

Entrekin posted to Facebook, only to find more people in the same situation. Bills going up significantly, and the timing coinciding with new energy meters installed at their homes.

The Intermountain Rural Electric Association is in the process of installing new meters to 160,000 homes in their coverage area. So far, they’ve put in around 25,000.

“The meters are all being tested before they’re being sent out,” said IREA spokesperson Josh Liss.

Liss says this summer has been unique, and ratepayers normally see a gradual increase in temperatures. He pointed out how we’ve seen snow in June across the front range, followed by several 90 degree days in July.

But customers don’t believe the math adds up, or that they’ve used twice as much energy this cycle compared to last month, or even August last year.

“I feel like the timing was just very interesting, for them to put on a new meter and all the sudden the usage is significantly more,” Robinson said.

Liss says they offer customers a free energy audit to help with efficiencies towards their home. Liss also tells the Problem Solvers they had one case where the technician for the new meters made a mistake that led to an incorrect reading, and the company gave that customer credit.

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