Feb 3, 2022 - News

Colorado cold blast sends energy bills through the roof

Animated illustration of a thermometer in the shape of a dollar bill sign, with temperature rising rapidly

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

You may want to crank down the heat if it's blasting right now.

What's happening: Frigid temperatures are tightening natural gas supplies and "significantly" raising Coloradans' energy prices, state utility officials warn.

  • Average energy bills currently hover around $62 for residential properties and $250 for small commercial spaces, The Denver Post reports.

Blast from the past: A cold snap last February, for example, sent bills through the roof — almost 50 times higher than normal.

Of note: The state offers energy assistance for low-income residents through a federally funded program.

  • State officials allocated $550 million for the 2021 federal fiscal year, almost 20% more than 2019, but still well below the $671 million doled out in 2020 when help was most needed during the height of the pandemic.

The big picture: Limited natural gas inventories and production, along with an increase in demand globally, are driving prices up everywhere.

Here are energy officials' tips to save power and dough this winter:

⬇️ Lower your thermostat to 68° or lower when awake; 58° when you're asleep or out of the house.

💧 Set your water heater to 120°; reduce shower times; and limit baths or using washers, dryers and dishwashers.

🌬️ Seal any air leaks around the house and cover drafty windows with heavy-duty plastic film or tight-fitting insulating drapes.

⏰ Replace furnace filters monthly and schedule service for your heating system annually.

🔌 Unplug devices that aren't in use, including cell phone chargers, lamps and cable boxes.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. Subscribe here.

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