Ratepayers, Activists Decry Xcel Energy Bill Surges at CO Capitol, Lawmakers Promise to Take Action

Colorado Times Recorder | Sean Price 

Environmental groups and Colorado residents gathered outside the state Capitol Wednesday to decry the burden of skyrocketing energy bills and ask state lawmakers to take action. At the rally, two lawmakers promised to introduce a bill aiming to address the rally attendees’ concerns.

In December, energy bills spiked in Colorado due to record-cold temperatures, high natural gas costs, and fees added to bills from Xcel Energy, Colorado’s primary electric utility.

In February, in response to higher energy costs, leadership in the Colorado Senate and House of Representatives formed a Joint Select Committee on Rising Utility Rates. Its purpose was to explore the causes of the bill surges and potential solutions the legislature could implement.

During several meetings over the past two months, the committee pushed representatives from Xcel and other energy companies for answers about how they set their rates and about the record-high profits and executive salaries reported by Xcel. The utility’s profit margin grew 9% last year, and the company reported a record $1.7 billion in profits, according to SEC filings. Xcel’s CEO earned $8.3 million over the last four months of 2021, according to the latest data publicly available.

Meanwhile, Coloradans’ gas bills increased by 75% last winter compared to winter 2021, while electric bills increased by 25%.

“This is an awesome and vibrant community fighting for these changes. The fact that we’re trying to do this for future generations and we’re bringing so many people together is inspiring to me personally.”

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