DENVER (KDVR) — Energy prices are pushing Coloradans’ utility bills up on the back of internationally expensive natural gas prices.
Xcel Energy, which provides electric and natural gas utilities services for the most populated areas of the Denver metro area, said the average bill this winter is indeed higher than normal.
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“The average residential bill increase is approximately 37% higher this winter compared to last winter and the impact to small commercial customers is similar,” wrote spokesperson Michelle Aguayo.
Nationally, most customers are dealing with the same bump in household utility prices. Colorado utility providers Black Hills Energy and Atmos Energy have both acknowledged similar price increases. All hold responsible a spike in natural gas prices.
Natural gas prices are indeed at a five-year high point, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration records. In January, the average price per million Btu (British thermal unit) of natural gas was $4.38. Except for the fall of 2021, natural gas prices haven’t been this high since early 2014.
In historic terms, gas prices could be returning to a turbulent and expensive norm that lasted roughly throughout the 2000s. During that time, gas prices fluctuated between $2 per Btu and over $13.
Time will tell whether producers will be able to stabilize and lower prices with a greater supply.
On the plus side for Coloradans, price increases could be worse in the Centennial State. Aguayo points out that Colorado utilities are largely cheaper than elsewhere in the U.S. Several studies back this up. Move.org and WalletHub ranked Colorado fourth and third least expensive in the U.S., respectively.
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Aguayo said Coloradans have resources if their monthly utility bills are too much.
“If any customer is having trouble paying their bill, we encourage them to contact us as soon as possible. We will always work with our customers to set up a payment plan and connect them with other resources to help with their energy bills.”
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