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.

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