GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — This week, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission slashed Xcel Energy’s latest request for a ‘natural gas’ rate increase by 70%.

Our Khira Isaacs spoke with key players to find out what this means and how it’ll effect Colorado consumers.

Xcel energy has hiked utility bills for residential electric and gas customers, year-after-year, a practice AARP Colorado calls “pancaking”.

“We know that people are struggling and we work to protect older adults and their families,” says Angela Cortez, Communications Director for AARP Colorado.

Angela says many residents are already struggling with paying rent, buying food and medicine — higher utility rates would only create a bigger issue.

“When this particular gas rate hike came up, we knew we had to fight back,” Angela continues.

That fight came in the form of an aggressive ad campaign to get Xcel customers to go online, call and write the public utilities commission to oppose the rate hike.

“The rate hike was about $200 million originally and they were only able to get $64.2 million which is a pretty good reduction,” continues Angela.

We reached out to Xcel Energy for a statement and here’s what they had to say: “The Colorado Public Utilities Commission’s decision increases natural gas rates for the average residential begins in November. It is important to note that the cost customers see on their bills are caused by the rising cost of natural gas on the global market, which has more than tripled since January 2021. Customers pay the wholesale cost of the natural gas delivered to them, and Xcel Energy does not make a profit from it. We’re committed to doing all we can to keep costs low for our customers while delivering the safe and reliable energy they depend on.”

As for Angela, she considers the lower rate a big win for Coloradans and says AARP Colorado will continue to fight rate hikes that threaten the financial stability of the state’s most vulnerable.