GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
The Western Slope dodged the deep freeze in February from Winter Storm Uri, but many aren’t spared from the spike in power prices.
Christmas Wharton with Grand Valley Power said, “Xcel Energy has slammed us with a $2.37 million fuel cost bill.” Xcel Energy Colorado President Alice Jackson says, “The size and the scale and the depth of that and the temperatures experienced in this storm significantly increased the demand for natural gas.”
President Jackson also says the primary focus was maintaining the reliability of the system to keep people warm and safe, but Grand Valley Power says lack of communication is the root of the conflict. “When we had the answers to what were the costs, and the alternatives, that is when we reached out to the wholesale customers,” said Jackson. Grand Valley Power CEO Tom Walch said, “They were doing everything they could to ensure reliability and the costs were steep.” Wharton says, “Now, we’re just in this situation where we have to pass this along to our consumers, and we’re not happy about it.”
In the title of a letter, the Polis Administration states “Colorado Ain’t Texas” when referring to the February freeze fuel cost fiasco which has left more questions than answers like why should you pay for the problem? The answer is if GVP doesn’t pay their power bill and you don’t pay yours, you might be left out in the cold, but to keep you from sweating they’re willing to help. “We’re paying the bill, but we’re letting our consumers pay their portion of it over the next 12 months,” said Walch.
GVP is paying millions, but the cost for the average residential customer comes out to $7.81 per month, or a total of $93.72 for the year instead of paying double. “They are being compensated to manage this type of transaction and they failed at that. They failed miserably, and we want to try to hold them accountable,” said Walch. Wharton said, “We’re opening an investigation docket with Xcel Energy in determining if these costs were fair and if our members should be paying them.”
President Jackson comments, “At the end of the day I don’t think any of us like the outcome of Winter Storm Uri, but it is absolutely something we will all look at and we learn from as we move forward.”
President Jackson said they will continue to provide safe, reliable service for customers long term.
The CEO Walch said if you have trouble paying your electric bill they will spread it out even more.