(The Center Square) – Colorado consumers can expect lower heating bills in the fall and early winter due to lower wholesale natural gas prices, according to a filing from Xcel Energy.
The average residential consumer’s natural gas bill for the fourth quarter is expected to be approximately $85.62 per month, down 35% from last year’s average monthly bill of $130.90 during the fourth trimester. The average monthly bill for a small business is expected to be $356.60 during the fourth quarter, down 37% from the 2022 average of $564.57.
“Xcel Energy has submitted its proposed quarterly fuel price adjustments to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, and these fuel costs, including the cost of wholesale natural gas, are being passed directly to customers without markup,” it said. a press release from the public service. “…Xcel Energy uses all available options to obtain the best prices for its customers by purchasing and storing energy when it is cheapest. This protects customers and guarantees the lowest price available.
In February, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis ordered the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and Office of Energy to take Immediate action to address high natural gas and energy costs for Coloradans. Polis reported that consumers’ gas bills increased 75% over the winter compared to winter 2021. The governor’s plan calls for the state to use 100% renewable energy by 2040, ending the use of fossil fuels.
By the end of summer, the utility estimates that consumers’ natural gas bills will increase by 15% and businesses’ bills by about 16.7%.
The high wholesale price of natural gas, combined with unusually cold temperatures and a severe winter storm, led to extremely high heating bills for Colorado consumers in 2022. The utility advised its customers to take action to reduce their consumption this year.
“Even though natural gas bills are expected to be lower this winter, Xcel Energy still encourages its customers to take steps to save energy and money, and to contact us if they need help paying their energy bills,” the utility said. “Customers can take advantage of the range of energy efficiency programs and savings advice offered by the company to help them manage their energy consumption and keep their bills as low as possible.”
The utility projects that residential electricity customer bills would decrease by just under 1% during the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter. The average residential bill would decrease by 34 cents to $84.74 and small businesses would pay $123.51, a decrease of 52 cents.