COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Cost adjustments began Thursday for Colorado Springs Utilities customers. The rate adjustment on natural gas is temporary and will help to make up for the spike in natural gas prices in mid February as frigid cold weather hit many states. An average residential customer can expect to pay roughly $22 more on their gas bills per month.
April Speake, the Community Liason for Colorado Springs Utilities wants customers to know that bill assistance programs are available to help those in need.
"We really want to make sure people are aware of the fact that there are programs out there to assist them if they are unaware of them."
The primary assistance program is the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP.) It's federally funded and helps customers who meet income guidelines, roughly double the federal poverty limit. Colorado Springs Utilities customers can also apply for help through Project COPE which is funded locally and has no income limits.
"Someone could qualify for utility assistance from COPE simply because they have an unexpected emergency, maybe they have a child who is sick and there are medical bills," Speake explained.
"So, for whatever reason, they could also apply for Project COPE."
She encourages those who need help to call the Pikes Peak United Way's 2-1-1 hotline to sign up.
While the Colorado Springs Utilities Board paused disconnections, Speake said customers shouldn't ignore their bills. Even if they don't qualify for assistance, they should contact the customer service center at 719-448-4800 to explain their circumstances and set up a structured payment plan.
"You're not out there by yourself," Speake said. "So, reach out, there are programs out there, federal programs, local programs. We really do want customers to be able to get the assistance that they deserve, that they are eligible for."
On Thursday, Black Hills Energy announced a $340,000 assistance program to help its customers in Southern Colorado. The utility provider partnered with local charities to distribute the relief funds. Customers should reach out to the following individuals based on their location
Canon City, Penrose and Florence
Loaves & Fishes
Cripple Creek and Victor
Aspen Mine Center
Rocky Ford (and surrounding towns)
Tri County Family Care Center
Pueblo area and Veterans assistance
Posada of Pueblo
Energy Assistance Funding for Small Businesses
Latino Chamber of Commerce