COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs Utilities announced Thursday it would stop its shut-off services "until further notice."
Last month's cold snap put a strain on utility providers across the country and CSU was no exception. The record low temperatures across much of the country caused an extreme demand for electricity and natural gas, resulting in a surge in fuel prices.
While the utility provider took steps to ensure reliable service during the abnormal weather event, they did have to purchase some fuel on the open market at exorbitant rates. In some cases, a unit of natural gas went from $2.50 to $200. CSU was able to sell some of its excess supply during this same time. However, early estimates indicate a $95 million loss.
Due to this unexpected event, CSU announced the temporary pause in disconnections to customers who can't pay their bills.
"We have done everything possible to make sure we shelter, and we keep the customers from being exposed to the disturbances of the market during that period of time," the CEO of CSU Aram Benyamin stated.
In another effort to ease the burden on customers, CSU will be asking the Colorado Springs City Council to adjust gas rates over a 14-month period for the increased natural gas cost prior to council's March 9 meeting.
Chief Financial Officer Scott Shewey said they plan to repay that debt through a temporary rate adjustment, likely appearing on monthly bills beginning in April.
A 12-month rate adjustment is currently estimated to cost customers roughly $20 more per month. A 20-month adjustment would cost an extra $12 per month.
"The longer we spread it, the lower the monthly impact will be, but the slower financial recovery the utility will have," Shewey said.