COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) customers can expect to pay a little more for their utility bills starting in January. City council approved a $954.4 million at its meeting on Tuesday.
Customers will see an increase of about $5.71 each month, the increase is specifically for water and wastewater rates.
The increases break out to $5.22 on water rates, and $0.49 for wastewater. CSU says the increase in rates is going towards improving water infrastructure in the city.
One of the big priorities for CSU is making improvements to one of the utility's oldest water plants: The Phillip H. Tollefson plant off of Mesa Rd.
"The plant was originally brought online in 1942, only minor upgrades really in the 1960s and the 1980s this is by far the most significant upgrade to that plant," said Natalie Eckhart, a spokesperson for CSU.
In addition to the Tollefson plant, CSU will be upgrading water pipes. CSU is working with the city as more 2C road projects get underway in the coming years to update the pipes on roads being repaved.
Eckhart says CSU understands how rate increases can have an impact on families and individuals. There are a few resources available to customers in need of help.
Home Efficiency Assistance Program (HEAP): CSU partners with the Energy Resource Center to perform in-home energy and water audits. With this program, people can learn about ways to reduce their utility bill.
Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP): This is a federally funded program which can help people with utility costs, based on their income.
Project COPE: This program is for people who may be having financial difficulty from a personal crisis or emergency, and is not based on income.
"Everyone has occasions that they fall on hard times so we offer a variety of ways to help customers with that," said Eckhart.
In addition to the rate increases and budget, city council also approved a New Green Power Rate. This would allow customers to receive more renewable energy. CSU says the program is in its early stages, but customers will be able to subscribe in 10 percent increments for renewable energy.