A few facts for clarification for pokey:
Water rates in Colorado Springs are actually about average in Colorado. Cities such as Denver and Pueblo that have a large river bringing their water into their town have lower water rates. Water rates in Aurora, Lakewood and Fountain have higher water rates than Colorado Springs. That's because - similar to Colorado Springs - these communities have no large source of water close by and have to construct, maintain and operate pump stations, large reservoirs and hundreds of miles of transmission pipeline to bring water to their communities.
Regarding access to reservoirs: The following Colorado Springs Utilities' reservoirs are open to fishing and other recreational activities:
- Rampart Reservoir
- Crystal Reservoir
- North & South Catamount Reservoirs
- Pikeview Reservoir
- Rosemont Reservoir
- Montgomery Reservoir
Also, we are working with CS Parks and Rec to open reservoirs on the South Slope of Pikes Peak to recreational use.
See reservoir access details at http://www.csu.org/residential/environment…
Dave, Colorado Springs Utilities
The reporter suggests that Colorado Springs Utilities budget should be cut simply because it’s higher than the municipal government’s budget. An energy and water utility is quite different than a municipal government. If the reporter had looked at our budget online or called us, she would have found that, similar to other utilities, our expenses for natural gas, coal and required capital improvements alone are 63 percent of the total budget.
Over the last five years, Springs Utilities has eliminated 200 employee positions. Our labor expenses are now just 17 percent of the total budget. Labor expenses at typical municipal governments are near 80 percent of their budget.
I’m not sure what big fix the reporter would like Springs Utilities to make. As with any organization, we're not perfect; however, our employees do their best to provide the greatest-possible customer experience while keeping costs as low as possible.
We are bringing water to our community for our future in the most environmentally-friendly, most cost-efficient way. We are increasing our use of renewable energy and using new technologies to dramatically reduce emissions from our power plants. Springs Utilities continues to provide some of the most reliable service of any utility in the nation. And our energy bills are among the lowest in Colorado and across the country.
Colorado Springs Utilities
This article was extremely one-sided and left out several key facts. The information below was provided to the reporter, but was not included in the story:
1. Colorado Springs Utilities is already refunding money to customers for both electric and natural gas.
2. Customers are already receiving a credit of 8 cents for every CCF (hundred cubic feet) of natural gas they use and .7 cents for each kWh of electricity.
3. We are a not-for-profit entity. Any revenue above our expenses is either refunded to customers or used to reduce the need for further rate increases.
4. We know of no other municipally-owned utility that charges or pays interest on ECA or GCA balances.
5. Our tariffs do not allow us to pay or collect interest on over- or under-collections.
6. We had an under-collected (negative) balance for four months in 2009. Having an interest-payment/collection policy in place would have required us to charge customers interest on this amount.
Based on recent projections for even lower wholesale gas costs this winter, we’ve proposed a further reduction in the GCA effective Nov. 1. If the current proposal is approved, customers will receive a credit of nearly 15 cents for every CCF. The refund rate is expected to remain in effect through the heating season. The typical residential customer uses an average of 90 CCF of natural gas per month, October through March. Therefore the 15-cent refund will reduce the typical winter bill by approximately $13 each month compared to last January.
Using the ECA and GCA as a true-up mechanism allows us to refund over-collections more quickly to customers. To refund dollars by changing the base rate as suggested in the article would delay our ability to react to volatile energy markets and delay the refund by two months.
The ECA and GCA rates are working as intended: The balances for both ECA and GCA are expected to be fully refunded to customers by Spring 2011.
Colorado Springs Utilities
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