DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado lawmakers are forming a special committee to address rising utility costs.
Senate President Steve Fenberg and House Speaker Julie McCluskie announced the bipartisan committee will investigate skyrocketing energy bills and ways to prevent future price hikes.
“Most importantly we want to have a discussion around policy changes that we could propose to help insulate consumers from those cost spikes, so that could mean legislation, that could mean recommend for future legislation,” said Senator Fenberg
The committee will meet with utility companies, consumer advocates and policy experts. The goal is to come up with legislation that can help protect customers.
“Keeping your house warm and making sure that you have warm water, I think is an essential right for Coloradans and we want to make sure we do what we can so it doesn’t feel like it’s a luxury” Fenberg said.
In a statement from Xcel they said, “We look forward to working with policymakers to further reduce the impact volatile energy prices have on our customers. We expect bills to continue to lower as the weather warms and the wholesale fuel cost of natural gas continues trending downwards.”
Xcel attributes the increase in utility bills to the rising fuel cost. That increase in cost is passed onto the customer, which is something Fenberg says need to be addressed.
“There needs to be a real conversation around who bears the risk. If the utility is saying that’s just the cost of fuel right now it’s not our fault we just pass it onto the customers. We as customers didn’t have a choice in that marketplace,” Fenberg said. “I think we need to have a conversation around who is bearing the risk and is the proportion of the risk on the consumer fair.”
Earlier this week, Xcel announced the cost of gas recently decreased. The average residential customer can expect to see savings of $11.60 in March, compared to February. Small businesses will see savings of $57.15 on average.
Everyone wants lower energy bills including the Governor which is why he is leaving no stone unturned in his efforts to help save people money and we will continue to find ways to lower costs. The Governor appreciates the action of Speaker McCluskie and President Fenberg, who are partnering on his efforts to help save people money on energy costs, and looks forward to reviewing the committee’s work.Spokes person for the Governor’s office.
The joint committee will have its first meeting in early March.