Advocacy of EOC
It’s Not Just About Assisting With A Bill, But Making Sure The Bill Is Fair In The First Place
Because of our expertise in consumer energy issues, we lead the state in pursuing affordable energy policies with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, the Colorado General Assembly, and gas and electric distribution companies. We have helped pass legislation to raise millions of dollars for energy assistance and energy efficiency and our advocacy work provides low-income households access to previously unattainable benefits.
Advocacy With A Focus On Low-Income Energy Consumers
We do not take a position regarding a specific energy source or fuel. We consistently monitor energy policy and programs and their impact on the limited-income consumers we represent. Our mission is to ensure that all low-income Coloradans can meet their home energy needs. We actively intervene in utility rate cases and rulemaking at the Colorado Public Utility Commission to ensure that limited-income consumers have a voice in these proceedings, and that cost consideration and the distribution of those costs among various customer classes are considered.
We leverage public and private funds to support programs that increase the energy efficiency, health, and safety of our clients’ homes and reduce their energy costs. We also analyze what the changing energy generation mix and energy price volatility mean for low-income consumers and how we can mitigate negative consequences for these vulnerable customers.
The development of distributed energy resources like solar photovoltaic, demand response, and energy storage is changing the traditional electric industry business model and we are committed to protecting the needs of low-income consumers through this transition. EOC works with more than 65 energy providers in the state, including rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities, and regulated utilities such as Xcel Energy, Atmos Energy, Colorado Natural Gas, and Black Hills Energy.
Energy Outreach Colorado’s role is not to take a position on the proposed public energy policy but rather to shine a light on the home energy needs of vulnerable households.
ADVOCACY IN ACTION
Working with lawmakers and utilities, EOC advocated for HB-1105 which passed in the 2021 legislative session. It provides much-needed additional resources and energy assistance funding for income-qualifying households statewide. House Bill 21-1105 directs utilities to collect a monthly fee from electric and natural gas customers to help support the work of organizations — like EOC — that help keep the lights on for Coloradans in need.
Some Highlights Include
- Colorado investor-owned utilities will add a $0.50/month charge to their utility bills beginning in October 2021, rising to $0.75 in October of 2022, and adjusting for inflation thereafter.
- These funds will be tracked by Energy Outreach Colorado which will work with the Commission on Low-Income Assistance to distribute it for energy assistance, efficiency, and outreach programs.
- These funds will be issued to and tracked by Energy Outreach Colorado which will devise a budget to distribute it for energy assistance, efficiency, and outreach programs approved by the Commission on Low-Income Assistance.
- A portion of the funds will also be used to provide energy assistance to SNAP clients potentially providing more LEAP applicants.
CONSUMER PROTECTION STATEMENT
Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) has made a concerted effort to safeguard income-qualified energy consumers from unfair rate increases and disconnections. Working with lawmakers and stakeholders, EOC has been instrumental in the outcome of important legislation like SB20-030, HB21-1105, and HB22-1018. Equity and safety are at the core of these issues, and EOC has fought to secure appropriate policy language to protect households from unfair treatment during disconnections that too often have left families in the dark and/or without heat overnight or on weekends.