COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs City Council voted on a proposed natural gas rate increase during Tuesday's meeting.
The council voted to approve the increase.
Colorado Springs Utilities submitted a 2021 Rate Case filing that includes proposed changes to the natural gas, electric, water, and wastewater tariffs.
"For a residential standpoint, that base rate in natural gas is about 22 cents (or .1%) a month, for commercial customers it's about $21.08 (or 1.4%) and for industrial customers, it's about $208.11 (or .5%)," said Scott Shewey, Colorado Springs Utilities. "It just depends on the amount of natural gas that you use."
The proposed changes to natural gas come after Colorado Springs Utilities conducted a "Cost of Service Study" that showed the need for an increase. Rate increases are necessary for natural gas services to meet the revenue requirement for that service for 2021.
"It's related to what costs look like and who's causing the increase in costs. That's why you see the difference in rate classes. It's all about cost and who's costing that cost to move upward," said Shewey.
This is the first increase in natural gas since 2014. Another driver of the increase is pipeline upgrades.
"You think about natural gas service and how dangerous it can be. Keeping and maintaining those pipelines is critical to the safety of the city, our utility, and customers," said Shewey.
About 14,000 steel service lines throughout the service area will be replaced with plastic lines to take the gas system to the highest standard of reliability.
Ken and Nancy Thompson say they don't mind the natural gas rate increase.
"We think the increase is reasonable. We are comfortable where we are and we need to pay the price to be comfortable," said Ken Thompson.
The couple says they support the work the utility company is doing to maintain the infrastructure.
"We have to maintain our infrastructure or we are going to paying big prices when it's not maintained," said Ken.
Colorado Springs Utilities understands some may have trouble paying their utility bill with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"There are programs to help them pay their utility bill if they need it. They can go through the 211 phone number which is the Pikes Peak United Way and they can guide them to the assistance
programs that are out there," said Shewey.
The rate adjustments will go into effect on January 1.