Rising Utility Bills Unsustainable for Many Colorado Households

Public News Service | Eric Galatas

Experts are warning Colorado households utility bills currently making their way to mailboxes are likely to be even higher than the supersized bills people received for November’s energy use.

Denise Stepto, chief communications officer for Energy Outreach Colorado, said as energy prices have remained stubbornly high, December brought an arctic blast and subzero temperatures right in time for winter holiday celebrations.

“This next bill, we think, is going to be the higher one, much higher,” Stepto explained. “It was a holiday, so more people were gathered in a home, lights on, things cooking, everything going.”

It is a problem, Stepto said, because many Coloradans may have already tapped one-time-only assistance through Energy Outreach Colorado and the state’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program.

Calls to Energy Outreach Colorado’s Heat Help Line are up 43% compared with the same time period last year. The week ending Dec. 18, they received more than 16,000 calls, up from 9,000 the week before, which is the largest call volume in two years of tracking.

"People are not abusing their energy use,. They're keeping their thermostat as low as they can. They're being energy wise, it's just the cost is the cost. So there's only so much that folks can do."

Denise Stepto, chief communications officer for EOC