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March 21, 2023

Joint Select Committee on Rising Utility Rates Holds Third Meeting, Seeks Solutions to Save Coloradans Money on Energy Bills

DENVER, CO – Members of the Joint Select Committee on Rising Utility Rates today met to hear testimony from energy policy and utility experts in order to begin identifying potential solutions to save Coloradans money on their energy bills.

“We’ve been investigating the reasons behind Coloradans’ record high energy bills, and now we’re looking to take the next step in order to better understand what exactly we here in the legislature can do about it,” said Joint Select Committee Chair Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder. “We heard a lot of good ideas today such as looking at how we evaluate new infrastructure investments that will take decades to repay, and exploring ways we can address volatility so consumers aren’t stuck shouldering the majority of the burden when prices spike. One thing is clear: Coloradans are fed up with bearing the brunt of inflated energy bills. Now, after weeks of information gathering, the committee is ready to turn its attention to providing better protections for consumers, and eventually delivering lower energy bills for Colorado families.”

"The Joint Select Committee has heard from industry experts, consumer advocates, and utility companies to develop a better understanding of what is leading to record utility costs," said Joint Select Committee Vice Chair Rep. Chris deGruy Kennedy, D-Lakewood. "Coloradans are facing higher-than-normal energy bills, and it is our responsibility to make sure utility companies aren’t passing along unnecessary costs onto their ratepayers. This committee has been presented with many innovative ideas to balance risks and rewards as we move closer to identifying long-term, cost-saving solutions." 

"As a Joint Select Committee, we've been asking the tough questions and having important conversations surrounding skyrocketing utility rates," said Joint Select Committee member Rep. Matthew Martinez, D-Monte Vista. "During this process, first-hand accounts from Coloradans as well as testimony from utility company representatives and policy experts have helped us better understand the need to balance out the risks of market volatility so ratepayers aren’t carrying all the burden. I look forward to continuing working with my colleagues on policy that will better protect Coloradans from avoidable utility price hikes." 

“Over the past few weeks, it's been fascinating to take a deep dive into the factors driving Colorado’s rising utility rates, as we've heard from utility company representatives, advocates, and Colorado’s energy specialists,” Joint Select Committee member Lisa Cutter, D-Jefferson County, said. “With that grounding, we've now begun to hear from experts about potential solutions. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee to ensure our utilities are better planning for future needs and infrastructure, protect consumers from questionable pass through costs and ultimately save Coloradans money on their energy bills.”

The Committee heard testimony from Meera Fickling of Western Resource Advocates, David Pomerantz of the Energy & Policy Institute, Albert Lin of the Pearl Street Station Finance Lab, Ron Lehr, former Colorado Public Utilities Commissioner, and Michelle Brandt King, a local attorney with Holland and Hart that represents large power users.

Convened by President Fenberg and House Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon in response to recent spikes in energy prices, the Joint Select Committee on Rising Utility Rates is working to better understand issues such as the impact of volatility in natural gas markets, the frequency and justification for rate increases sought by utilities, and other relevant factors.

The Committee’s next meeting will take place in the coming weeks. Learn more about the Committee’s work HERE.

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