AARP CO fight results in lower Xcel gas rate hike
AARP helped save Colorado Xcel customers $138 million, thwarting the energy company’s unfair natural gas rate hike proposal and its ongoing “pancaking” of rate increases ~
AARP Colorado’s opposition to a proposed $202 million hike in base rates for natural gas by Xcel Energy resulted in a Public Utilities Commission decision to reduce the rate hike to $64.2 million, a savings of about $138 million for Xcel customers in Colorado.
Thousands of AARP members opposed Xcel’s proposed hike and submitted thousands of postal cards to the PUC, calling for the PUC to reject the rate increase. AARP Colorado also ran an aggressive ad campaign to get Xcel customers to go online, call and write the PUC to oppose the rate hike.
The PUC approved a $64.2 million allowance for the energy giant that is fixture on the Forbes 500 list. That is about 32 percent of what Xcel wanted to charge consumers. Utility rates are an essential pocketbook issue for Colorado residents 50-plus and their families, many of whom struggle to pay their utility bills along with other household expenses like food and medicine – especially as inflation pushes prices higher.
“While AARP Colorado fought for a complete rejection of Xcel Energy’s proposed increase, we consider the lower rate a big win for all Colorado customers,” said Angela Cortez, AARP Colorado spokeswoman. “Residents on fixed incomes and families that can least afford it will still get stuck paying a disproportionate share. But we will always fight rate hikes that threaten the financial stability of our members and the most vulnerable Coloradans.”
After repeated rate increases, Xcel Energy’s gas rate request would have asked residential customers to shoulder more of the company’s financial burden over a three-year period. Xcel’s proposal had called for residential customers to pay about $4.16 month. The extended year plan was rejected and consumers will now pay just over $2 a month in this rate increase.
Xcel Energy in Colorado has hiked utility bills for residential electric and gas customers year after year, filing one rate case after another – a practice called “pancaking” that stacks costs onto customers. About 1.4 million Coloradans count on Xcel Energy for natural gas. Many also count on Xcel for electricity; these customers face increased bills for both electric and natural gas. Find out more at action.aarp.org/CoUtilities.