DENVER (KDVR) — Skyrocketing utility bills are hitting all Coloradans.
Gov. Jared Polis issued a directive on Monday to find short-term and long-term solutions to these high-cost energy bills.
Colorado leaders from labor, utilities, natural gas and oil trade associations and nonprofits gathered together Monday to explain how and why energy costs have been higher in recent months and what they’re doing to help.
“We recognize that our customers right here in Colorado are suffering,” Xcel Energy CEO Bob Frenzel said.
Frenzel, joined by other state energy leaders, announced more than $1 million in donations to Energy Outreach Colorado, a local energy assistance nonprofit.
“We are proud to stand here and provide assistance with Energy Outreach Colorado and with our other industry providers as we seek to offset the burden that everyday Coloradans are feeling from high energy prices,” Frenzel said.
Demand rising for help paying utility bills
Lately, leaders with the assistance group said they’ve been receiving 16,000-18,000 calls a week from customers struggling to pay their utility bills. Along with Energy Outreach Colorado, the state’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program offers financial help to those who qualify.
“With costs for just about everything at all-time highs, we recognize the impact that energy bill increases have on our families and businesses,” said Kellie Ashcraft, with Black Hills Energy. “We also recognize there’s not one solution to the challenges confronting our customers and our industry.”
State energy leaders did not provide a clear short-term solution but said they’re working on expanding energy assistance programs and bill payment assistance.
“We’re going to be working with and reaching out to our customers to ramp that up and amp that up to make sure that we have maximum participation,” Robert Kenney, Xcel Energy Colorado President, said. “It’s not just dollars, but it’s also ways in which we can use energy more efficiently and be more conservative in their usage.”