Due to an unusually cold winter, Colorado Springs Utilities over-collected $20.6 million from its natural gas customers.
The city-owned utility has already begun refunding customers for that amount by reducing natural gas bills by roughly $2 a month beginning in April 1.
Spokesman David Grossman said the utility occasionally over-collects – and under-collects – on its gas bills because the price for natural gas is based on some unpredictable factors, including the weather and customer usage.
The $20.6 million, which was described in a March 17 city auditor memo, was “probably a larger amount that what is typical,” Grossman acknowledged. But on the other hand, natural gas prices were lower than what was typical and customers were using more natural gas to heat their homes, he pointed out.
Mark Stutz, a spokesman for Xcel Energy, said it is not uncommon for the investor-owned utility to over-collect in the “eight figure range.”
When that happens, Xcel also makes adjustments to customer accounts. “It’s the nature of the market,” he said. “You can’t predict the future.”