The public had its first opportunity to weigh in on Wednesday about Xcel Energy's most recent request to increase rates.
According to a release from the company, Xcel Energy is asking for a net revenue increase of approximately $312.2 million, which if approved, would increase the typical residential bill by approximately $7.33 a month or 8.20%, compared to bills at that time.
The public comment hearing was held remotely, but behind the names stacked in boxes across a computer screen were real Coloradans, with real stories about the impact rising energy bills are having.
"I'm living in real small space I'm now a widow, I'm leaving off my social security," Paige Hoebel said.
Hoebel is one of them. Having recently lost her husband she worries an already shrinking budget, will soon disappear should the Public Utilities Commission approves Xcel Energy's rate increase request.
"They've just been raising their rates and raising their rates and in the short time that I have been a widow my bills have gone from 60-some dollars a month to this winter it was a little over $200," Hoebel said.
In a release sent out by Xcel Energy, in November when they requested the rate review, It says the typical residential bill would go up around $7.33.
The increased funding will be used for things like replacing aging equipment, providing service to new housing and commercial development and better protecting the grid and customer data from cyber security risks.
"$7 a month is not a small amount that would be 7% of one $100 that's more than what the inflation rate is," she said.
While Hoebel shared her personal story, switching to energy efficient appliances and winterizing her home trying to save.
"I've had plexi glass cut and put on over all the double pane windows," she said.
Dozens of other Coloradans used their time pointing to Xcel Energy's increased profits and other recent rate hikes as reason to deny the request.
"It is an abuse of rate payers," one woman told the commission.
Everyone who in the hearing spoke against the increase, while calling on the PUC to put Coloradans first.
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