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Higher Utility Costs Are Coming, Here's What To Know

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Xcel Energy Comanche 3 power plant

Get ready for yet another increase on your utility bills, more than a year in the making.

As reported by The Denver Post, Xcel Energy and other utility providers found themselves purchasing a surplus of natural gas for as much as 95-times the average cost in a scramble to keep up with demand during a February 2021 freeze that crippled parts of the south and the midwest. Once the ice melted, Xcel energy was left holding a $550 million bill.

The utility company asked the state to help it offset its losses. As of June 2022, the Public Utilities Commission has ruled mostly in favor of Xcel and cleared the way for the utility company to recoup as much as $508 million by (you guessed it) increasing rates for their customers in Colorado.

While it's not clear when we'll see higher costs on our monthly bills, The Post reports the increases could eclipse $200 over the next 30 months for residential electric and natural gas customers. Coupled with the record-high gas prices, raising interest rates and inflation everyday homeowners are already facing, any monthly increase feels like a punch in the stomach.

What if you could offset future rate hikes AND reduce your utility bill at the same time? It's not a far-fetched idea — thousands of local homeowners are doing just that.

From solar panels and home batteries to geo-thermal HVAC and LED lighting, the list of home efficiency upgrades is long and varied. And though any energy efficient improvements you make helps in the long run, few can deliver a noticeable return on your investment in the short term. When it comes to saving money and offsetting cost increases, the faster the ROI the better.

Lowering AC usage is one of the best and most affordable ways to instantly lower overall energy costs, making summertime peak season for savings opportunities. According to the International Energy Agency, air conditioning systems account for nearly 20% of the electricity costs in buildings around the world today, more than twice the amount of lighting and heating.

How much could you be saving on your home energy costs? Try our one-click energy cost savings calculator

Affordable ventilation products like whole house fans and attic fans can lower your AC demand by as much as 90%, saving you hundreds in utility bills each year. These systems are designed to maintain cooler indoor temperatures for longer periods of time, keeping your AC system from running constantly throughout the day. For example, a 2,000 square-foot home using a properly installed AC system for 7+ hours a day could save as much as $535 in home cooling costs this year alone by using a whole house fan in the morning and evening. With low upfront installation costs, manufacturer rebates and high efficiency operation, homeowners can see a return on their investment in 1-3 years — compared to10-15 for solar panels or 7-10 years for air conditioning.

As the PUC finalizes its decision on the $550 million Xcel Energy bill, it's not a matter of if utility rates will increase again, it's a matter of when. Cutting home energy costs in a meaningful way doesn't have cost tens-of-thousands of dollars upfront, and you don't have to wait to get your money back. Lowering your AC usage with affordable, high efficiency ventilation products promises a faster ROI and hundreds in annual savings.

Colorado Home Cooling & Daylighting is Colorado's top-rated home ventilation and daylighting providers, offering unmatched customer service, quality and craftsmanship since 2003.

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