Consumer costs, decarbonization highlight Colorado committee hearing on utilities | Colorado

(The Center Square) – Colorado legislators this week held the primary of 3 conferences to get solutions for shoppers annoyed with expanding software prices.

The Joint Select Committee on Rising Utility Rates convened on Tuesday within the Old State Library. The committee chairman is Senate President Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, and the vp is Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Chris deGruy Kennedy, D-Lakewood.

“I think every single legislator in this building, no matter who their constituents have as energy providers, has received an immense amount of emails and phone calls about this topic,” Fenberg mentioned in a gap commentary. “Constituents have been telling us that, for instance, they’re going to need to choose between paying their heating bill this month or their prescription drugs. That is not something I think anybody wants to be in a position of having to choose between.”

Fenberg additionally mentioned there are not any predetermined results or an intent of “vilifying utilities.” He mentioned many questions should be replied to supply a rising inhabitants with reasonably priced utilities.

Joseph Pereira, deputy director for the Office of the Utility Consumer Advocate, was once certainly one of 4 software mavens attesting on Tuesday. Pereira mentioned the Public Utilities Commission’s present device to set charges lets in utilities to dominate the method.

“In most cases, it’s the utility, trial staff of the Public Utilities Commission and us,” Pereira mentioned. “And so that limits the conversation and the amount of public-interest perspective that’s brought to the table. Again, it’s likely a function of regulation, but a hazard nonetheless.”

The dominance of the software’s request ceaselessly pushes client pursuits apart, Pereira mentioned.

“These dynamics ultimately lead to what’s good for the utility becomes good for the public interest,” Pereira mentioned. “And we often hear the utilities frame the problem as a healthy utility will help you meet cost goals… decarbonization goals. This concept should really be reversed as the utility should benefit when public interest goals are met first. So a utility that can keep costs down should then be rewarded for that.”

Keith Hay, the senior director of coverage for the Colorado Energy Office, mentioned rules will probably be offering aid for shoppers. He highlighted 4 spaces the place the legislature began Colorado’s decarbonization technique or motion clear of fossil fuels: decreasing the call for for herbal fuel, blank warmth plans, really helpful electrification and new development codes.

“This is really great work that we are just getting started on implementing in many ways,” mentioned Hay, who added he spent 10 years running for the Public Utilities Commission. “We have yet to see the full fruit from crafting a regulatory framework and a transition pathway that will reduce customer energy costs by improving energy efficiency of homes or helping them transition to less expensive technologies over time.”

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