Xcel Energy customers are demanding answers from Colorado regulators

Customers took part in this online meeting with the Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday to speak up about their utility bills.

DENVER — The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) held a public hearing Tuesday on high energy costs.

It ended up being a listening session, with customer complaints going unanswered.

“How many times has PUC rejected these rate increase requests? I’ve been here – I’m a native. I’ve never heard of them rejecting a rate increase,” said an Xcel Energy customer at the meeting.

“I’m sorry I can’t answer questions but all I can tell you is I can assure you that we are listening and trying to do what we can,” said PUC Commissioner Eric Blank.

Blank led the meeting, moving from one public comment to the next, but his responses were blank by default.

“Mr. Blank, how can we get answers to our questions? Right now you are very polite and calm down everyone. How can we get answers to our questions? Which forum should we go through? This is clearly not working,” said one customer .

‘I don’t know what to tell you. We have pending cases before us and we act as judges on those cases and we are unable to answer questions in forums like this without compromising our ability to decide those future cases,” Blank said.

Customers complained about high utility bills and recent rate increases approved by the PUC. Natural gas rate increases include paying back Xcel dollar-for-dollar for the price of natural gas.

“My bill two months ago was $131, my bill a month ago went up to $331. I just got my bill, it’s $481,” said customer Jeanette Neubauer.

“Not only do I not want you to grant them another rate increase, I don’t even know if this is possible, I would like you to reverse their natural gas rate increase from two months ago,” said customer Maury Cohen.

“They have to invest their profits in infrastructure. That’s what companies do: they invest their own money in infrastructure,” said client Jill Egburtson.

“We need some help here, we really need some help,” said customer Gary Martinez.

The recommendation to customers is to contact the Utility Consumer Advocate, the group that represents the public in hearings before the PUC.

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