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Senate President Garcia to introduce bill creating competitive utility market

Posted: 3:55 PM, Mar 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-02 21:04:42-05

COLORADO-  The Colorado Senate’s top leader plans to introduce legislation taking away power from investor-owned utility companies such as Black Hills Energy and Xcel.

‘I think this is a conversation that is long overdue,’ said Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo)

‘What we see is time and time again, for years and years, for investor owned utilities like Black Hills, having immense control in our community from South Dakota, and that model needs to change.’

Garcia says the legislation would focus on creating a competitive market, and giving choice to consumers on who they do business with for utilities.

Ultimately, in hopes of creating lower costs for users in places like Pueblo, which often sees some of the highest rates in the state.

For example, Black Hills Energy is the service provider in Pueblo. The bill would allow opportunity for other companies to come in and look at doing business in those areas, in addition to municipal options.

The City of Pueblo is currently exploring the idea of moving to a public utility model.

‘Community energy choice is one of the things that we want to look to the future,’ said Garcia.

Some leadership changes have occurred within the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), which regulates the investor owned utilities.

This year, the Colorado Senate is responsible for the sunset review of the PUC, which is a process the legislature uses to examine state regulatory agencies.

‘This is all, all different approaches to make sure that the bad actors who are investor-owned utilities just aren’t protected under these monopolies that they have,’ said Garcia.

The Senate President says he is already seeing push back from the investor owned utility companies, and he expects more push back as the legislation sees the light of day.