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Seventy percent of Colorado ratepayers would see their electric bills increase if a bill laid over in the House Transportation Committee becomes law, according to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). HB 1271 would collapse a tiered system, which currently allows low-energy users to pay less per kilowatt hour than high-energy users.
A tiered system of electrical rates that increase as residential consumers increase their use, especially during peak consumption periods, has ignited a power play between Colorado's electric co-ops. According to one rural co-op CEO, who helped draft a bill that makes such rates possible, the industry's future is moving greater use of renewable sources and energy conservation. Another co-op chief, heavily tied to coal-fired power, argues a voluntary alternative-energy system will sock residents in the pocketbook when they can least afford it.