On behalf of more than 650,000 AARP members in Colorado, the Colorado AARP office, along with support from AARP headquarters in Washington D.C., is intervening in the proposed Xcel rate hike of $142 million.
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AARP Colorado has retained the services of a local attorney, who has more than 21 years of broad-based experience and expertise in the communications industry.
“We believe the Public Utilities Commission should deny Xcel Energy’s interim rate request because the company has failed to justify that such rates are warranted,” said AARP Colorado State Director Morie Smile. “A rate increase on older adults in the middle of this cold winter will cause undue financial strain and make some question how they can afford this and other increases on a fixed income.”
AARP Colorado believes Xcel has failed to properly show that the rate request is material and that its ability to provide reliable service and attract capital will be impaired.
The move to intervene comes on the heels of a fight AARP Colorado lodged against Black Hills Energy that started back in August, in which the utility proposed raising rates on its Pueblo customers – a population that already pays some of the highest rates in the region and is one of the lower-income cities in the state – by up to 23 percent. That challenge ended in the PUC allowing Black Hills to raise its rates by only less than half of its proposed increase.
“We fought hard against Black Hills Energy,” said Angela Cortez, AARP Colorado Associate State Director Communications. “Our members came out in force, we testified before the PUC, we made phone calls, and ran a tough campaign because a rate hike of that nature would have harmed older adults on fixed incomes and low-income families in Pueblo. While the rate increase was not completely crushed, it was reduced significantly. We plan to be just as vigorous in the Xcel proposed rate hike for the same reasons.”
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