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Colorado Springs Utilities customers probably will see rate increases in November

October 19, 2016 Updated: October 19, 2016 at 8:47 pm
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Higher bills likely are in the offing for ratepayers of Colorado Springs Utilities, which proposed electric and gas rate adjustments Wednesday.

Electric rates would climb 4.2 percent, or an average $3.18 a month, for residents; 6.3 percent, or $31.80 monthly, for commercial customers; and 6.8 percent, or $2,120 a month, for industries, all effective Nov. 1, if the City Council approves the proposal.

Gas rates could rise 7.4 percent for residents, or about $2.68 a month; 10.7 percent for businesses, or $55.43 on average monthly; and 11.9 percent for industries, or about $554.28 a month.

Those are based on the increased costs of fuels needed to deliver the services, and the City Council will decide on those Tuesday.

The council also is to consider in November the annual base-rates adjustment sought by Utilities.

In other business, the Utilities Board:

- Agreed to have the staff shuffle its projects budget so $1.36 million can be used in 2017 rather than 2018 for a bridge on the West Colorado Avenue Project. That huge project will overhaul a seedy stretch of the street, known as No Man's Land, that leads into Manitou Springs. The regional effort is being orchestrated by El Paso County, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Utilities and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, which is providing most of the funding for the $26 million project.

"We promised citizens who voted for RTA that we'd continue to be a resource for regional cooperation. I no longer want to hear people talk about No Man's Land," said former Manitou Mayor Marcy Morrison.

"This is a critical project being considered for some time," said Utilities Board member Merv Bennett, also president of the Colorado Springs City Council. "We do have things with Utilities that are important to us (there). . To me, this is an investment."

- Heard a presentation on Utilities efforts undertaken at the Rockrimmon fire on Oct. 3. When Utilities came to the site to help with water needs, staff found a gas line that was vulnerable to explosion. It shut down the gas lines, replaced 1978-era service lines, and restored power the next day, said Chief Energy Services Officer Eric Tharpe.

- Heard preliminary recommendations for a new Integrated Water Resource Plan, which would set water policy for years to come, but directed the staff to attach fiscal impacts of such changes to the plan before it can be considered.

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