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Reauthorization of Colorado's utility consumer advocate takes step forward

CO Senate Transportation and Energy committee approves SB21-103
For Immediate Release

DENVER - The Colorado Senate Transportation and Energy Committee approved SB21-103 and moved the Office of Consumer Counsel one step closer to reauthorization. CoPIRG thanks Senator Winter and Majority Fenberg for bringing the bill forward and Senators Pettersen, Donovan, and Zenzinger for voting yes.

Statement by Danny Katz, CoPIRG executive director:

"Thank you to Senator Senator Winter and Majority Fenberg for sponsoring this bill and Senators Pettersen, Donovan, and Zenzinger for voting yes to reauthorizing the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC), Colorado’s utility consumer advocate. 

For decades, the OCC has represented the public interest and specifically the interests of residential, small business and agricultural consumers in electric and natural gas proceedings.

Colorado consumers need a voice at the Public Utilities Commission. The decisions made by the PUC have huge impacts on our environment, our health and the rates and costs we pay to light and heat our homes. Proceedings before the PUC are complicated to say the least requiring incredible levels of technical expertise and in-depth legal knowledge. While some parties in proceedings have the resources to ensure their voice and position is heard, consumers and ratepayers would not without the OCC. 

In order to ensure that consumers and ratepayers have a voice and that their interests are represented, we need a utility consumer advocate. We need someone with the technical and legal expertise to ask the tough questions and drill down into the proposals that will impact our future. We need the OCC. 

Over the last 30 years, the OCC has saved consumers $1.7 billion - with average annual consumer savings of $113 million over the last five years. The OCC has a cost/benefit ratio of 63:1. They are effective. 

CoPIRG supports reauthorizing them and we approve of the amendments that will ensure they are even better equipped to look out for the public interest as we continue to see important transitions in the energy space toward more sustainable energy and a more transparent and accountable utility sector."  

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