Colorado Springs Utilities this week sent out its third notice this year that it’s reducing natural gas rates. But it’s important to point out that those reductions are actually refunds owed customers for the $20.6 million that the utility over-collected last winter.
The City Auditor’s Office noted in a March 17 report that the over-collection was due to colder-than-normal weather during the months of October, November and December. Natural gas prices were also lower than expected, contributing to the over-collection.
(Over-collections and under-collections are quite common in utilities because it’s difficult to forecast in advance the price of commodities, such as natural gas and coal, and it’s also impossible to forecast the weather).
Utility spokesman Dave Grossman said all the money owed customers should be returned by December.
Customers have seen their natural gas bills decline three times this year. Bills dropped by $8 on Jan. 1, 2010, $2 in April, and $3 in May.