Colorado’s renewable energy rules survive

Three proposals to lower consumer rates and utility bills in Colorado, attacking the state’s recent clean-energy policies, have been rejected.

02/17/2011


Colorado Democrats narrowly rejected three Republican proposals to lower consumer utility bills, undoing clean-energy policies that have been adopted in recent years. Democrats reportedly said they sympathized with residents paying steeper power bills but insisted the proposed changes would be short-sighted.

Republicans contended the clean-energy policies have hit too hard in a poor economy. Xcel Energy, which serves about 1.4 million Coloradans, according to Bloomberg, has raised rates some 20% over the past six years -- a hike allegedly attributed in part to upgrading power plants.

Colorado's renewable-energy standard, exceeded only by California, is reportedly faulted by Republican politicians who say it improperly inserts government into the private energy market. The rejected bills intended to instructed regulators with the Public Utilities Commission to put greater emphasis on ratepayer fees, and less emphasis on possible future energy costs, when considering utility rate requests. The hearing dealt a blow to Republican campaign promises to try rolling back Colorado's turn toward clean energy in recent years.

Democrats on the State Senate, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee reportedly blasted the ideas as short-sighted. Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, allegedly took special aim at a proposal by Republican Sen. Steve King to forbid the PUC from considering potential future costs such as carbon taxes.

- Edited by Amanda McLeman, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, www.csemag.com



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