DENVER - Like much of the country, Coloradans were affected by the extreme winter weather event that occured from February 13 through February 15 resulting in an increase in demand for both natural gas and electricity in Colorado and other states. This increased demand may have caused an unprecedented spike in natural gas prices leading to regulated utilities purchasing natural gas at extraordinary prices, and potentially passing on the cost of these gas prices to customers. Governor Jared Polis has shared his concerns on how this weather event will impact energy consumers in Colorado.
Although Colorado customers did not face blackouts or interruption in service as a result of the extreme weather in Colorado, state public officials are investigating the event to determine how Colorado regulated utilities handled the highly increased demand for both electricity and natural gas. This includes an investigation into the activities of the utilities. State public officials will also be looking into the activities of gas suppliers and their role in the price spikes.
In response to the extreme gas prices associated with this event, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) promptly opened an investigatory proceeding (21I-0076EG) directing investor-owned utilities Atmos Energy Corporation, Black Hills Colorado Gas, Inc., Black Hills Colorado Electric, LLC, Colorado Natural Gas, Inc., and Public Service Company of Colorado (Xcel Energy) to prepare and file a report detailing their planning and actions taken before and during the winter weather event and is reviewing initial information from regulated utilities. More information will be filed and reviewed in the coming weeks.
Your state government considers this matter of utmost importance and is intensely focused on finding out all the facts surrounding this extreme weather event and understanding the impacts on energy consumers in Colorado. The PUC has also requested voluntary participation from the state's public and cooperative utilities, which are not regulated. Full participation from all the state’s utilities will ensure a full accounting of the impacts of the event and support efforts as the state develops approaches that protect all of Colorado’s energy consumers.
Filing of Written Comments with the PUC
The Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC), Colorado’s advocate in utility PUC rate and rule-making proceedings, requests that customers who receive service from any of the following utilities: Public Service Company of Colorado (Xcel Energy), Black Hills Energy, Atmos Energy and Colorado Natural Gas participate in the PUC’s investigation and share concerns about their utility services regarding that extreme weather event.
To submit written comments in the PUC investigatory proceeding, go to the following site: https://www.dora.state.co.us/pls/efi/EFI_COMMENT_GUI.Gas and select “Rulemaking and Investigations Initiated by Colorado Public Utilities Commission." Then select “21I-0076EG - Investigation into the weather event of February 13-15, 2021 for Investor Owned Utilities." Comments may be submitted on the page titled “Register Your Public Comment."
About the OCC
The Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC), a division within the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), represents residential, small business, and agricultural utility consumers as a class in electric and natural gas proceedings before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The OCC does not regulate; it advises and advocates on behalf of consumers. The OCC helps consumers by lowering or eliminating proposed utility rate increases and by ensuring that utility rates, regulations and policies are more equitable for residential, small business, and agricultural consumers.Visit occ.colorado.gov for more information.
DORA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855/toll free 1-800-886-7675 outside of Denver.