Gov. Jared Polis speaks during an event to announce his reelection campaign on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, at Raices Brewing Company in Denver, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/The Denver Gazette)

Gov. Jared Polis on Friday expressed frustration after an an administrative law judge ruled Xcel Energy could recoup from customers some $500 million to cover natural gas costs from a February 2021 winter spell.

In a statement, Polis slammed the decision, noting "extra costs could have been avoided by better early warning systems for consumers to voluntarily reduce energy usage."

"This ruling acknowledges that Xcel did not properly prepare or warn Coloradans ahead of the storm, yet consumers are now literally forced to pay the price," he said. "This is another example of why it is so important that we continue to move away from natural gas to avoid these types of unpredictable price spikes in the future, and I urge the PUC to establish specific actions to take regarding voluntary usage reductions prior to imposition of any extraordinary fees for future events." 

Added Polis: "Colorado consumers fared better than Texas consumers from the events in February 2021, but it really is unfair that Coloradans are paying any price. We are taking bold steps to help Colorado consumers and avoid any future surcharges like this by investing in wind and solar energy, and helping Coloradans move to use of high efficiency electric heat pumps for heating their homes, so that Coloradans are not beholden to the unpredictable price spikes of a globally traded commodity.”

Editor's note: This is a developing story and will be updated.

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