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High utilities bills expected to spike after bitter start to December

By Rachael Plath, Meteorologist, r.plath@krdo.com
Published On: Dec 27 2013 05:45:51 AM CST

Frigid temperatures earlier this month are to blame for the increase many customers will likely see on their utilities bills this month.

Temperatures earlier this month plummeted thanks to a surge of arctic air.  Colorado stayed below freezing for six days.

“In December, we did have that really cold snap, below freezing.  That meant natural gas use went up,” said Patrice Lehermeier, spokesperson for Colorado Springs Utilities.

According to CSU, 77 percent more natural gas and 23 percent more electricity that usual was used this December.  That increase is expected to be reflected on this month’s utilities bill.

Earlier in 2013, City Council also passed a rate increase for Colorado Springs Utilities.  Beginning Jan. 1, customers will be paying about 4.3 percent more per month.  This money will go toward funding infrastructure investments, construction of the Southern Delivery System and upgrades to the Drake and Nixon Power Plants.

Lehermeier said depending on your billing cycle, this increase will impact the bill customer’s receive next month rather than this month.

“The majority of your December bill isn’t going to have anything to do with the rates increasing.  It’s really going to be the cold weather,” said Lehermeier.

Colorado Springs Utilities said there are ways to reduce utilities bills.  Opening shades to let in the daylight, ensuring furniture is not covering heating vents, replacing furnace filters and utilizing programmable thermostats are a few strategies to lower costs.

Lehermeier said it is important to know what is driving the cost of utilities.  She recommended investigating customer’s usage online, and comparing usage from month to month, and year to year.

Click here to access CSU’s free “My Usage” service.

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