Poles need love too

Published: 8/17/2018  3:00 PM
​ Did you know that every year, Colorado Springs Utilities inspects and tests 4,000 electric wood poles? It takes about 8 to 12 weeks to complete the work. In fact, that’s only a fraction of the poles that serve up power to our community. There is ...

Colorado Springs Utilities moves forward with model water-sharing agreement

Published: 8/17/2018  8:31 AM
​Over the past year, the Colorado Springs Utilities Water Resources team has been working behind the scenes on a history-shaping agreement within the Colorado water industry. Last month Springs Utilities and the Lower Arkansas Water Management Assoc ...

So easy a rabbit can do it

Published: 8/10/2018  2:19 PM
811 Day is tomorrow, and that means we’ve been reminding our customers to contact 811 before they dig. A large percentage of our electric, natural gas, water and wastewater mains and service lines are underground and out of sight, and very dangerous ...

Is an electric vehicle in your future?

Published: 7/31/2018  2:38 PM
​Are you one of the millions of Americans that say the next car they buy will be an electric vehicle (EV)? A survey released earlier this year by the American Automobile Association determined that the appetite for electric cars is heating up. The ...

Solutions to repower the Springs

Published: 7/26/2018  1:12 PM
​Many might not know, but when the Martin Drake Power Plant was constructed in 1925, it was on the outskirts of town. Almost a century later, the power generated at the plant, which is now located downtown, has helped grow this once small town into ...

Tips for wise watering during midsummer heat

Published: 7/24/2018  8:17 AM
With the recent hot, dry weather, many people have been watering their landscapes frequently. So how do you use the right amount of water to keep your landscape healthy without waste? Here are four ideas: Water enough, but not too much. You can tak ...

Expanding our renewable energy portfolio

Published: 7/16/2018  6:14 PM
We are excited to announce the start of two utility-scale solar projects that will significantly increase our amount of renewable energy to power the Pikes Peak Region. “We are committed to offering our customers a cleaner, more diverse and affordab ...

8 steps to consider before going solar

Published: 7/16/2018  1:19 PM
Solar energy helps protect the environment, diversifies our energy supply, creates energy independence and reduces our summer peak capacity requirements. But, it's a big investment and, for many, we can sometimes get paralysis by analysis. In other ...

Boulder Place Park rehab project = major win for the community

Published: 7/13/2018  10:30 AM
​             Before                                                                                     After A 10-month long rehab project for our Construction Maintenance Restoration group has turned into a community gem for hundreds of people. ...

Practice wise mulching for water savings

Published: 7/9/2018  8:49 AM
​One of the biggest secrets to growing a beautiful landscape is covering bare soil between plants with mulch. When you choose the right type of mulch, landscape plants stay healthier, and you can save water by reducing evaporation from the soil. So ...

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2018 Rate Changes Approved   

  by  Natalie E.  on  11/28/2017

Residential Rate Changes for 2018When talking about money no one wants to hear about an increase unless it's related to salary, a dividend check or some other sort of payout. Otherwise, we're really only interested in decreases, like the discounts many take advantage of on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Or the fuel cost decrease we passed along to you Nov. 1.

I don't have any of that for you today. Closest I've got is to tell you that at Colorado Springs Utilities, we DO NOT pay dividends to fancy investors from big cities who have never even set foot in our beautiful city. In fact, we're owned by our citizens and charge customers only enough to maintain safe, reliable utility services for the community. 

In the fall of each year, tied to the next years' budget, we ask City Council for rate changes to support the operations and maintenance of the utilities system for the year ahead.  Or, said another way, if we have need to spend more money to upgrade, replace, repair or install new pipes, wires or plants (e.g. electric generation, water reclamation, water treatment), we ask for rate changes. We may ask for changes, too, to ensure we fairly charge specific rate classes, based on the cost to serve them.

It's not necessary to increase rates for all four services every year, thanks to the hard work of yesterday's and today's utilities' employees. After all, most employees are customers too and have a vested interest in keeping rates low for everyone.

Council today unanimously approved changes to 2018 rates. The changes primarily affect water, wastewater and electric rates. Typical, four-service residential customers will see a $4.21 (1.9 percent) increase, while typical industrial and commercial customer rates will increase by 0.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. Since individual utilities use and rate classes vary, you can use our online calculator to determine how the approved changes will impact you specifically.

The other portion of your utility rates are tied to cost we pay for fuel.  We pass along changes in those costs to you periodically -- usually quarterly.  On Nov. 1, we implemented a rate decrease of about 1.3 percent (or $3.03) on the typical residential bill.

Since as a citizen you are an owner of Colorado Springs Utilities, you should understand why we asked for these changes. 

  • The largest portion of the increase supports water services. Because we don't have a major waterway in Colorado Springs, we pipe in fresh, Rocky Mountain water from more than 100 miles away. Then, we have hundreds more miles of pipe to maintain that carries the water around the city, to water treatment facilities and to homes and businesses. Some of these pipes are nearly 100 years old. We have a treatment plant that is 75 years old and it's time to upgrade it. There are also tanks and pumps and wastewater facilities to keep running. The cost to maintain the system doesn't fluctuate with water use. It costs the same to keep water flowing safely and reliably to you (and wastewater taken away from you), whether you're using a little or a lot.
  • Smaller changes are impacting the electric portion of your bill. Electric utilities are experiencing more changes today than at any time in history (e.g. environmental regulations, cyber and physical security concerns, renewable energy, and conservation products and programs). The 2018 rate changes are the implementation of phase-three of a three-phase plan to address an electric revenue shortfall. The proposed changes better align customer cost with our cost to serve them.

I don't like any of my bills to increase. But, I happen to think it's pretty cool that so much work goes into figuring out how to fairly charge customers for utility services and so many smart folks work every day to keep water flowing, lights on, and homes warm. I like it when wastewater disappears without having to know how it all works, too.

So, yes, rates are going up a bit -- about the same as the inflation rate. I can assure you though, they're only rising enough to continue to bring you safe, reliable utilities that you depend upon every moment of every day.

1  Comment

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It's too bad ratepayers got stuck with the $200M tab for Neumann Systems Scrubbers on the Drake Coal Plant. Thank money would have bought a lot of renewable energy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017  5:00 PM  Sam Masias