Colorado lawmakers grill utilities about high bills while profits soar |

Colorado lawmakers grill utilities about high bills while profits soar

Select committee looking for ways to protect customers from skyrocketing rates

Judith Kohler
The Denver Post

As Colorado legislators and officials from the state’s regulated utilities sorted through ways to avoid a repeat of this winter’s huge increases in heating bills, one lawmaker asked how to square the soaring rates for customers with reports of big profits for the companies.

“Why are we simultaneously living in a time when people are struggling the most to pay their energy bill and at the same time the utilities are making the most profits they’ve ever made?” asked Senate President Steve Fenberg, chairman of the Joint Select Committee on Rising Utility Rates. 

“I think why we’re here today is that sort of disconnect, at least the way it feels in the average person’s mind,” Fenberg said in a hearing Tuesday, the committee’s second.

Starting late last year, utility customers across Colorado saw their heating bills spike, many at least doubling from the previous year. Natural gas bills shot up after the wholesale prices that utility companies pay rose substantially.

The committee of Senate and House members is investigating the steep jump in heating bills prices that unleashed a torrent of complaints on elected officials, utility companies and regulators. Agencies that help people with their energy bills were flooded with calls.

Read the full story at The Denver Post.

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