DENVER (KDVR) — Some Colorado residents were shocked to open their Xcel Energy bills and find the charge is double, and in some cases triple, what they expected to pay. The cost of heating bills is up 18% from this time last year.

Marine veteran Israel Tekhelet showed FOX31 a bill he received for more than $300.

“It would be nice if they lowered it a little bit because it’s this time of year. This is when people need money the most,” he said.

Delores Brugger’s bill increased from $68 last month to more than $100.

“I thought, this is crazy,” she said.

Save money on your energy bill or get help

Xcel Energy said that the increases are linked to global supply and demand problems. The company buys natural gas, which is used to generate electricity wholesale. Although the cost to customers is not marked up and steps are taken to protect against market fluctuations, price increases can be inevitable.

Energy customers can save money by:

  • Scheduling timely furnace inspections
  • Properly sealing doors and windows
  • Opening drapes during the daytime and closing them at night
  • Leaving interior doors open
  • Keep your thermostat set to 68 degrees Fahrenheit

Need help with your bill?

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program offers financial help to those who qualify.

Since Nov. 1, nearly 60,000 people in Colorado have applied for assistance, a 7% increase since the 2021 holiday season.

“We have been granted a supplemental grant by the federal government for an additional million dollars so it is a huge help,” said Theresa Kullen, LEAP manager.