by Pam Zubeck
At a time when everything seems to cost more and more households are pinching pennies, Colorado Springs residents might be happy to learn they paid less to power and heat their homes last year than those living in other Colorado cities.
According to the the 2009 Summary ACCRA Cost of Living Index, energy bills averaged $124.79 in Colorado Springs compared to $153.23 for all Colorado cities in the survey and $181.86 nationwide.
Here's a comparison of monthly electric and natural gas bills:
Colorado Springs $124.79
Glenwood Springs $152.07
Grand Junction $154.10
There are several reasons for the Springs having low bills. For one, the climate is relatively mild, although you couldn't tell that on Dec. 8 when temps dipped well below zero. Second, Colorado Springs Utilities is city-owned, meaning it doesn't have to show a profit for shareholders and takes advantage of cheaper tax-exempt financing not available to investor-owned utilities.
In addition, Utilities generates most of its power from its own plants. It also purchases some gas through long-term contracts to minimize price volatility and uses underground storage to keep natural gas on hand to avoid paying exorbitant peak prices during gas shortages.