The State of Colorado recently passed a new law HB 21-1105 that requires investor-owned Colorado utilities to collect a new charge from ratepayers starting this October to help low-income households with utility bills. Investor-owned electric and gas utilities are required to remit the charges collected to Energy Outreach Colorado, which would help pay utility bills for the needy, publicize the program, and help weatherize homes.
The fee will start at 50 cents starting in October 2021 and incrementally increase until it reaches $1 after October 2023. Low-income customers are exempt from the fee. Customers may opt out of the Energy Assistance Benefit Charge by emailing email@example.com or calling our customer service team at 800-720-8193.
The bill requires Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) to use the energy assistance system benefit charge to help finance direct utility bill payment assistance and energy retrofits to low-income households within the investor-owned utility’s service territory. No more than 50 percent of the total amount collected, including from optional energy assistance contributions, may be allocated to direct utility bill payment assistance. EOC is required to allocate a portion of the money collected from the energy assistance system benefit charge to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for its fuel assistance payments, and use another portion for EOC’s community outreach about the charge, with the remainder of the money collected split between EOC and the DHS for helping to finance their energy assistance programs.
Last year, EOC paid $12.5 million in energy assistance and another $12.7 million for efficiency programs after receiving federal and state stimulus funding to help meet the needs of over 32,000 households state-wide in Colorado. Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 4 Colorado households struggled to pay monthly utility bills.
To qualify for help, Coloradans must earn less than 60% of the state median income and qualify for help through the Colorado Low-income Energy Assistance Program. Under the current eligibility guidelines, a two-person household earning less than $3,425 a month, or $41,100 a year, could use the federal utility assistance. People applying for LEAP must be permanent legal residents or U.S. citizens, or have household members who are citizens.
Si tiene dificultades para pagar sus facturas de servicios públicos, podría calificar para la exepción de un cargo mensual relacionado con la asistencia de energía y ser elegible para la asistencia para el pago de facturas de servicios públicos. Llame al 1-866-heat-help para ver si califica.
For more information about the new law, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb21-1105.