This summer, Colorado has had its fair share of highs and lows, from the return of sports, concerts, and large events, to the poor air quality, at times, from out-of-state fires. Unfortunately, however, there is another small thing that has been sweeping across the front range of the Rocky Mountains: increased electricity bills.
So far this year, Colorado’s residents have already seen a fair share of rate hikes, both instituted and active as well as proposed for the future. In turn, more people and businesses are seeing increased electricity bills and looking for ways to reduce their ongoing monthly expenses.
Below, we outline why more people than ever before have been reaching out to us to explore the idea of lowered electricity bills with a solar energy system.
Summer Electricity Bills
Historically, electricity bills are generally higher for most homeowners in the summer when accounting for the electric power used to cool internal temperatures with air conditioners, swamp coolers, and fans. On top of ordinary household consumption (used for appliances, entertainment, etc.), most homeowners in Denver are spending significantly more money on electricity each summer, year after year.
Today, this is especially true as most utilities charge users higher electricity usage rates in the summer to account for increased demand. For example, if you look at Xcel Energy’s Residential Rates Brochure, it’s easy to notice the significant difference in summer electricity prices for most customers.
When considering time of use and peak demand rate increases, bills only get higher while users consume electricity during both fixed hourly windows and throughout periods in which local conditions have caused a surge in electrical usage.
Increased Utility Rates in Colorado 2021
In 2021, Colorado residents are seeing utility rate increases imposed by investor-owned companies, cooperatives, and communities large and small. Although unfortunately, this is not groundbreaking news, this year has been a bit of an outlier when looking at the area’s steady price increases over the last few decades.
Recently, the city of Longmont voted for the unanimous initial approval of increased electricity rates for residents. Currently, the city is planning to implement two separate 2.5% rate increases, scheduled for January 1st of both 2022 and 2023.
Serving over 10 counties of rural customers in the Denver area, electric co-op IREA rebranded as CORE Electric Co-op. As of September 1st, the company will now be charging customers for electricity via its new modernized rate structure. While the company is claiming that rates will only increase customer costs by 2.25%, some calculations have determined the reality may be a bit harsher for ongoing residential electricity bills.
While higher electricity rates are very much both a cause and effect of the increased local cost of living as a whole, IREA celebrates their minimal increase as a win compared to other local providers. In the same article, it is noted that Colorado Springs Utilities has “raised residential rates 8%” and Black Hills Energy “introduced rate increases of between 6% and 7%.”
Of course, it is impossible to mention local utilities without considering Xcel, serving over a million residential and commercial customers in Colorado. Xcel plans to increase its electrical rates by 13%, which in addition to an already approved 4% increase and Time of Use adjustments may increase customer bills by upwards of 20%.
Currently, Xcel Energy’s proposed rate increases are being pushed forward by the utility to recover customer capital after record-setting storm surcharges in February.
How Solar Can Help
Unlike ordinary electricity users, most solar system owners rejoice in the summer when their panels can capture the most daily sunlight. And thanks to our great net metering in Colorado, over-producing solar panels can generate tons of power on sunny days so that homeowners can sleep easy at night, knowing that their air conditioners aren’t racking up sky-high bills.
If you are a property owner in Colorado interested in a free solar assessment, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Apollo Energy is Denver’s first B-Corp-certified solar energy provider, and we are here to help you see if you can save on long-term energy costs with a solar panel installation.