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Old 01-10-2019, 10:56 AM
 
24 posts, read 20,082 times
Reputation: 47

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As we know, Colorado Springs Utilities has a lock aka monopoly on our water, electric and gas. No competition, no market shopping available for homeowners.


For the past two years I've been on "balanced billing," with $166.00 as my monthly charge. I live alone, have a 2400 square foot house, keep my thermostat on 55-62 during the winter months, and never use my air conditioner. The only time(s) I have guests are for one or two weeks during the year when my children and grandchildren visit. Those weeks would increase the water, electric and gas usage, but only for two weeks a year max.



This week I received a notice from Colorado Springs saying my balanced billing will increase from $166.00 to $214 every single month of the year, representing approximately 25% increase. My salary hasn't gone up 25%, and I don't have any way to come up with additional 25% for utilities.


Has anyone else experienced this, and is there a solution? My initial thought is I'm going OFF OF BALANCED BILLING right now, because this seems like CSU's scam. Thank you for your help.
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
2,910 posts, read 1,901,647 times
Reputation: 3256
The rate increase was announced back in November. However, at that time they were touting it as something around a $10 increase per household. Perhaps they were off a bit, but a $48 jump seems a bit at the far end of extreme. It is primarily to support water and waste water infrastructure improvements that are rapidly degrading due to age.

You can can and speak to a rep and see if they can alter your adjustment or explain the significant jump compared to what was communicated previously.

You can go back to monthly billing, which will bring back the fluctuations of winter heating and summer visitor usage. Perhaps you can better budget against those spikes with the extra time and after a year, go back to balanced billing at a revised actual average instead of an estimated average

You can also apply for LEAP assistance. This is the low income energy assistance program they offer. I do not know of requirements for participation, but you certainly can ask.
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:42 AM
 
20,643 posts, read 38,520,686 times
Reputation: 18668
I'm hoping we have someone here who can research the rates for water, gas, electric and sewerage and put up a comparison list between COLO SPGS and Pueblo / Denver. IIRC the rates in COLO SPGS were always about 25% lower than those other cities, especially lower than Pueblo which is served by Black Hills Energy.

From my 11 years in COLO SPGS there was always a lot of press about the aging sewage treatment facilities that often overflowed and sent some very foul water downstream to Pueblo, who, IIRC, sued COLO SPGS to get the city to fix its waste water infrastructure problems.

Sounds like the chickens have finally come home to roost.
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:48 AM
 
76 posts, read 17,603 times
Reputation: 196
You can use the bill calculator function at the CSU website to do monthly estimates based upon past usage quantities which should be detailed on your monthly bills.


There was a rate increase that starts 01 Jan 2019, but it was only 2.1%, and pertained to water and wastewater.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:10 PM
 
487 posts, read 231,140 times
Reputation: 720
Seems to me all of those "little rate increases" (as Utilities loves to call them) are starting to add up- we used to have pretty affordable utility rates but now Xcel is probably cheaper.

For all of the newbies in the city the rates are still "better than where we came from"- for others like me that grew up in CO. not so much!

Definitely seeing it this winter too- it was pretty mild last winter so that has something to do with the bills- it has been COLD (near 0 degrees) quite a few times so far.
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:34 PM
 
24 posts, read 20,082 times
Reputation: 47
I called CSU today. The representative said they used 2018 October, November and December usage ($161, $220, and $353 respectively) to review and adjust my bill. My December bill was high because my children and grandchildren were here for five days at Christmas. Five days, and my monthly bill increased by $48.00, or 25%, for each and every month from now on.


I have now discontinued Budget Billing, but I will continue to believe this company is hosing us, and it's a scam. I'll now owe $483 by the end of January 2019 since I discontinued Budget Billing. I'm also applying for LEAP, but they denied me a couple of years ago when I applied, so I'm expecting the same result this time.



I am as conservative as possible, senior citizen, low income (but probably not low enough for LEAP) and live "lightly" in my home.

Last edited by Nawah; 01-10-2019 at 12:42 PM..
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Old 01-10-2019, 12:41 PM
 
900 posts, read 956,974 times
Reputation: 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by LHS79 View Post
Seems to me all of those "little rate increases" (as Utilities loves to call them) are starting to add up- we used to have pretty affordable utility rates but now Xcel is probably cheaper.

For all of the newbies in the city the rates are still "better than where we came from"- for others like me that grew up in CO. not so much!

Definitely seeing it this winter too- it was pretty mild last winter so that has something to do with the bills- it has been COLD (near 0 degrees) quite a few times so far.
Affordable is all in context, Xcel has rates that are in the bottom quartile of utilities in the US. Colorado Springs Utilities had dirt cheap rates in comparison, but are now on par with Xcel.

That lack of investment is really going to bite the city in the ass- I'd can envision Colorado Springs selling off all of its generating assets and becoming a distribution utility.
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:05 PM
Status: "Modern day Salem" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Colorado
809 posts, read 424,418 times
Reputation: 897
I’ve found gas and electric rates here to be cheapest of any place I’ve ever lived. Water on the other hand is extremely expensive.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
2,910 posts, read 1,901,647 times
Reputation: 3256
Cos Utilites doesn't have a profit motive to raise rates like other utilities may because they are city owned and basically sustain themselves. They do have a need to provide for infrastructure and maintenance, which is always increasing. Despite the lack of competition, I don't necessarily believe the CSU monopoly is out to bilk the residents as they have introduced rate reductions on occasion and they do tend to charge some rates that are pretty reasonable compared to other places.

Simply being attached to them will create a minimum access fee of around $65 a month, even if you have no consumption. The rest of the fee structure is widely varied based on usage and there are multiple tiers for peak and off peak use of electric and water. Rate sheet is here if anyone wants to read it. https://www.csu.org/CSUDocuments/rat...esidential.pdf
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:38 AM
 
Location: 80904 West siiiiiide!
2,884 posts, read 7,209,278 times
Reputation: 1584
You think it's expensive now? Just wait until the idiots who want Drake gone get their way.
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