Utility Rate Increases Proposed

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Colorado Springs Utilities is proposing a utility rate increase as a way to offset higher prices for natural gas.

If approved, the average household bill will go up $35 to $45 per month in the winter, and by $20 a month during the summer. The rate change would take effect on Jan. 1.

The Colorado Spring city council will have to sign off on the rate increase. They’ll vote on it at their meeting next Tuesday.

Meantime, the state's largest utility is blaming a nationwide increase in natural gas and oil commodity prices, plus decreased gas production in the Gulf of Mexico due to summer hurricanes, for a proposed four-percent rate hike for natural gas customers.

Xcel Energy submitted its request to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday.

Xcel wants to increase the price per therm, or unit of heat, a little less than $0.03 a piece. The hike would increase an average residential utility bill from about $94 per month in November to $125 next month.

Xcel says it does not profit from gas sales. Prices for natural gas, the main source of heat in Colorado, have roughly doubled in two years.