Utility rates going down


The Southern Delivery System pipeline project has pushed rates up for several years. - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS UTILITIES
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Utilities
  • The Southern Delivery System pipeline project has pushed rates up for several years.
Colorado Springs Utilities' customers will see smaller bills in 2016, but the tiniest decline will be seen on residential bills.

City Council approved the 2016 rates this week, which means the typical residential bill will go down by $1.57 a month, or less than 1 percent, while commercial rates will drop by 7.5 percent and industrial, by 3.4 percent.

From a news release:
Utilities will pass along savings from lower costs for coal, natural gas and purchase power costs to customers through a reduction in the Electric Cost Adjustment (ECA). An electric base rate increase will fund continued emissions control work, programs to help customers reduce their energy use and utility system maintenance.

Natural gas
Wholesale natural gas costs continue to be very low. The savings will be passed along to customers with a decrease in the Gas Cost Adjustment (GCA). There is no change to gas base rates.

With the Southern Delivery System project well under budget, Utilities was able to reduce the number of rate increases over the last few years, and no increase was implemented in 2015. To keep rates as low as possible over this period, water system maintenance has been deferred. An increase in water rates in 2016 will fund reliability improvements deferred from recent years.

No change is needed.
Utilities also noted in the release that CSU's budget for 2016 is $110.2 million lower than this year's budget, at $972.5 million.

"The smaller budget is primarily the result of lower capital expenditures driven by the completion of the Southern Delivery System project next year and lower fuel (natural gas, coal and purchase power) costs," the release said. "The budget is a responsible approach to address considerable challenges including the need for additional capital improvement investments and flat energy and water sales. Through an organization-wide effort, Utilities has systematically prioritized all major projects and programs. Only the most critical expenditures are included in the 2016 Budget."

The new rates are effective Jan. 1.

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