Help Available for Higher-than-Usual Utility Bills

Public News Service | Eric Galatas

As Coloradans continue to experience sticker shock each time they open their utility bill, the volume of calls to Energy Outreach Colorado’s helpline has been off the charts, topping 1,600 calls per week.

Michel Infante, energy assistance project manager for Energy Outreach Colorado, said they are processing more than 700 new applications each week. The good news is, help is available, even for people who have had to tap the program’s funds in the past.

“At EOC, we just want to bring awareness to the folks that are having a hard time right now that we have resources to help them,” Infante explained. “And it doesn’t necessarily have to be folks that have never asked for this kind of help.”

Xcel Energy blames rising natural gas prices for high utility bills, yet its gross profits in 2022 came in at more than $8.3 billion, an increase of more than 10% from the previous year.

Last year, more than 71,000 Colorado customers received more than $87 million in utility-bill assistance. Those who need help paying an energy bill, know someone who does, or are at risk of being disconnected can call the helpline at 866-432-8435.

"If you have a lower-income family who is already struggling, then you increase their utility bill, they are going to have to sacrifice one thing or another to be able to stay warm in the winter."

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