COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs Utilities announced that they anticipate “volatile natural gas prices this year” and they want to prepare customers for high winter bills.
The increased cost of electricity and heat is due to greater demand and limited supplies for natural gas around the world they said.
Several events are being credited to the increase including a slowdown in U.S. production, inflation, increased demand from international conflicts, drought conditions, and lower-than-average natural gas storage.
More customers use natural gas for heating in the winter so changes to natural gas prices could impact users in the winter more.
They also pointed to changing weather trends, the efficiency of appliances, conservation efforts, and home weatherization. They said while it’s possible electric and natural gas rates will stay steady or even decrease this fall, bills are expected to be high this winter.
Colorado Springs Utilities recommend these simple steps to help manage heating costs:
Springs Utilities said they buy natural gas at lower rates when demand isn’t as high and uses other long-range tools to lock in a portion of supply at lower prices. All in an effort to protect customers from these changes in the market.
They also suggest these resources to help customers manage bills such as budget billing. Payment assistance is also available through COPE year-round. Low Income Energy Assistance Program also offers assistance beginning in November. Visit their website for more information.
KOAA’s News5 reporter Andy Koen recently spoke with Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Aram Benyamin regarding the recent closure of the Drake power plant. Benyamin told reporters that the 25-year contract between CSU and juwi inc. will provide stability for utility customers for decades to come.
“So, as far as the bills that we are forecasting down the road, we want to take that volatility out of the fuel costs to make sure that we have a stable price for energy,” he said.
Work crews have since installed a series of six modular natural gas-powered generators at the plant site to temporarily provide replacement electricity. Each unit can produce 30-megawatt hours of electricity for a total capacity of 180 MW.
The temporary generators will remain on the Drake property until at least 2027. That will give Colorado Springs Utilities flexibility as it begins a major project relocating its transmission infrastructure and improving the city’s grid.
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