Over the past year, people all over Colorado have been witnessing increases in their natural gas bills.
In fact for those in and around the Denver area, an Xcel Energy spokesperson recently stated that residential and small commercial customers have seen 37% higher utility bills this winter compared to last, as a result of internationally expensive natural gas.
Unfortunately, this is no surprise, as the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that the price of residential natural gas in Colorado hit an all-time monthly high of $16.20 per thousand cubic feet in September of 2021.
And with no real signs of slowing down, major utilities are raising rates all over the state. To kick off 2022, Xcel has introduced a proposal to increase the price of natural gas by $188.6 million over the next three years.
If approved, Xcel’s 1.4 million natural gas customers statewide can expect to see an $8.14 increase in monthly electricity bills by 2024 (or an average of $97.68 annually).
And as Colorado’s Low Income Energy Assistance received 13,000 more applications than usual in January of 2022, higher bills will only continue to have devastating effects on our community.
So what does natural gas have to do with PV solar?
Well, if you are one of Xcel’s 1.3 million electric customers in Colorado, then you should also be paying attention to the price of natural gas, as the resource is used in local electricity production.
And while the utility’s carbon reduction plan has a goal for net-zero emissions by 2050, this image from Xcel’s Energy Portfolio shows us that natural gas combustion was still the leading form of electricity production in Colorado during 2020.
Even with clear plans to add wind and solar projects, Xcel’s continued focus and development of natural gas production facilities have been criticized by clean energy supporters. And while current systems are completely necessary to keep energy supplied to existing customers, escalating the use of natural gas for electricity production seems counterintuitive when trying to reach emissions goals.
While Xcel hopes to “balance high levels of renewables” with natural gas production and dispatchable storage, critics believe there are better ways to transition from coal power.
And with 3.7 million electricity customers and 2.1 million natural gas customers across Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin, Xcel’s energy decisions will continue to have large impacts on communities throughout the western plains.
While solar power is the cheapest form of electricity ever and emission-free through decades of production, new investments in natural gas can be potentially avoided, especially in states like Colorado and New Mexico where conditions are excellent for solar energy production.
So long as natural gas is being used to generate a large portion of Xcel’s electricity, we believe that customers can really only expect rising energy rates and the continuation of potentially avoided carbon emissions.
Go solar to reduce emissions and keep electricity costs low.
Here’s one thing we do know: you won’t find many people with a natural gas power plant on the roof of their home. And, with independently owned residential and commercial solar energy systems, utilities like Xcel Energy no longer have an electricity monopoly.
If you want to lock in a fixed price of electricity for the next 20 years or more, consider going solar to protect yourself against rising utility rates and to rest easy knowing exactly where your energy is being cleanly produced.
For a free home or business consultation in Colorado or Southern Wyoming, contact Apollo Energy today. We are a local solar company in Denver, here to help our neighbors save money with residential and commercial solar panel installations.