I’m no big fan of Xcel, or how it handled the recent gas and electric price spikes. (“Rural Colorado is footing the bill for deep freeze,” April 12.) But gas and electric rates have been historically low for almost a decade and these temporary surcharges due to gas screwups in Texas won’t change that.
During my life, the costs of most other necessities have increased faster than energy. I siphoned gasoline as a teen in Jersey. I built insulated shutters in Boulder. I installed solar thermal systems in Steamboat when fuel was terribly expensive. I’ve worked on building efficiency for years, but recently extra efficiency is harder to justify.
It is stagnation in earnings and benefits, plus the pandemic, that has increased “energy burdens” for some. So energy assistance programs should be expanded, more than Biden has proposed.
Utility greenhouse gas emissions could decrease more quickly if we would accept slightly higher rates in the near term. Or we can just stagger towards the meltocolypse while AARP and “justice” advocates unwittingly support fossil fuels.
Xcel’s next Resource Plan will soon go before the PUC; they should be encouraged to fast track more wind and solar with firm gas backup. Any rate increases can be mitigated for those in need. Gas utilities need to seal their networks ASAP. (E.g. Crystal compressor station above Carbondale). In December, Black Hills Gas demonstrated how American industry can spring into action. The utility companies just need to treat planet-warming emissions as a similar crisis.