21R-0326EG – Proposed Changes to Commission Low-Income Electric and Gas Rules
Proposed changes to Low-Income Electric and Gas Rules include:
- Removes requirement for Low-Income Assistance Program (LEAP) qualification when requesting Percentage of Income Payment Program (PIPP) support;
- Allows for customers to participate in a PIPP assistance program without being forced onto average monthly budget billing, giving consumers the ability to opt out of monthly budget billing;
- Clarifying that LEAP benefits may be applied to decrease a utility PIPP grant to a consumer, noting that it is not mandatory;
- Incorporating language about the Energy Assistance System Benefit Charge from House Bill 21-1105 at a rate of $0.50, rising to $0.75 on October 21, 2022, and to begin being annually adjusted for inflation beginning in October 2023;
- Allowing customers to participate in the assistance program without having to go on the average monthly budget billing process;
- Ensuring that customers who have electric heating, but also natural gas services, are covered by the rules so they do not pay more than 6 percent of monthly income towards their utility bills;
- Raising the funding ceiling to up to $1.00 per residential customer each month;
- Clarifying annual reporting dates for low-income activity and the 50 percent program balance limit which will trigger increased or decreased low-income funding fee.
If you are interested in hearing what other participants in the rulemaking have commented or read the full proposed rule changes, please click here.
Your voice is important. If you would like to provide a written public comment to this proceeding, please visit our comments and complaints form and specify that your comments are for the Low-Income Rulemaking and be sure to include the proceeding number 21R-0326EG.
The public comment hearing has been scheduled for December 21, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Commission Hearing Room B. If you would like to provide public comment during the hearing, you can find out how to participate via Zoom here.
21R-0326EG: Cambios propuestos de la Comisión a la normativa que regula los programas de servicios de gas y electricidad para hogares de bajos recursos
A continuación se describen los cambios propuestos a la normativa de los programas de servicios de gas y electricidad para hogares de bajos:
- Se elimina el requisito de participar en el Programa LEAP de asistencia energética a hogares de bajos recursos al solicitar apoyo del Programa PIPP de pago según el porcentaje de ingresos.
- Se permite a los clientes participar en un programa de asistencia PIPP sin verse forzados a utilizar la facturación mensual promediada, dándole a los consumidores la posibilidad de darse de baja de dicho tipo de facturación.
- Clarificar que los beneficios del LEAP pueden emplearse para reducir la subvención PIPP para un servicio público de un consumidor, al indicar que no es obligatorio.
- Incluir una explicación sobre el cargo por beneficio del sistema de asistencia energética del proyecto de ley de la Cámara de Representantes 21-1105 a una tarifa de $0.50, que aumentará a $0.75 el 21 de octubre de 2022, y que comenzará a ajustarse anualmente de acuerdo con la inflación a partir de octubre de 2023.
- Permitir que los clientes participen en el programa de asistencia sin tener que participar en el proceso de facturación mensual promediada.
- Garantizar que los clientes que cuentan con calefacción eléctrica, y que también tienen servicios de gas natural, estén cubiertos por la normativa para que no gasten más que un 6 % de su ingreso mensual para pagar las facturas de servicios públicos.
- Aumentar el límite de fondos a un máximo de $1.00 por cliente residencial al mes.
- Clarificar las fechas de informes anuales para actividad de bajos recursos y el 50 % del límite de saldo del programa que activará el cobro de una tarifa mayor o menor de financiamiento por bajos recursos.
Si le interesa escuchar lo que han comentado otros participantes en la elaboración de la normativa o desea leer los cambios reglamentarios completos, haga clic aquí.
Su opinión es importante. Si quiere proporcionar un comentario público escrito para este procedimiento, visite nuestro formulario de comentarios y quejas e indique que sus comentarios se refieren a la normativa de bajos recursos (Low-Income Rulemaking) y asegúrese de incluir el número del procedimiento 21R-0326EG.
"La audiencia de comentarios públicos se fijó para el 21 de diciembre de 2021 de 9:00 a.m. a 12 p.m. y de 4:00 p.m. a 7:00 p.m. en la sala de audiencias B de la comisión. Si desea hacer comentarios durante la audiencia, consulte cómo participar a través de Zoom aquí.”
Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)
The LEAP program works to keep our communities warm during the winter (November through April) by assisting with heating costs, equipment repair and/or replacement of inoperable heating tools. While the program is not intended to pay the entire cost of home heating, we aim to help alleviate some of the burdens that come with Colorado's colder months.
In most cases, the energy assistance benefit is paid directly to the household energy supplier. In most cases, if you are approved for LEAP, payments are made directly to your primary heating fuel vendor and a notice will be sent to you informing you of the benefit amount. Other benefits provided by LEAP include repair or replacement of a home’s primary heating system, such as a furnace or wood-burning stove. The program does not provide financial assistance for any type of temporary or portable heating.
If your income is up to 60 percent of the state median income level, you may qualify for heating assistance through LEAP. The amount of the energy assistance benefit varies depending on a variety of factors, including the primary heating fuel costs and income. For more information on LEAP visit cdhs.colorado.gov/leap or call 1-866-432-8435.
If you do not qualify for LEAP, you may still qualify for any number of income-qualified programs offered by Energy Outreach Colorado.
Percentage of Income Payment Programs
Utilities regulated by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission offer a Percentage of Income Payment Program (PIPP) that is designed to ensure consumers are not paying more than six percent of their monthly income on electric and natural gas bills. Currently, consumers may qualify for PIPP after they have worked with the LEAP program to determine eligibility.
The income threshold for eligibility for the program sits at 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, or 60 percent of the State Median Income. In Colorado, the State Median Income is $100,760 for a four-member household, making that family qualified at $60,456. Click here for details on income qualifications for other household sizes. For more information on programs offered by the Department of Health and Human Services, click here.
Energy Outreach Colorado Programs
Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) leads a network of industry, state and local partners to support, stabilize and sustain Coloradans to afford their energy needs. EOC’s tiered approach provides immediate critical services, resources to help prevent returning to a critical energy-related situation, and removing the barriers that prevent equitable energy affordability to decrease the number of Coloradans who live in energy poverty. Through that, EOC provides bill payment assistance to households across Colorado who are behind on their energy bill and are at risk of not having home energy. Payments are made directly to a local utility or fuel company. Click here to learn more about EOC’s Bill Payment Assistance.
EOC's Crisis Intervention Program helps coordinate emergency repair and/or replacement of your heating system. While EOC doesn’t provide routine maintenance, they will help to get your heat back on when it goes out. Services provided include repairs of failed furnaces or boilers, replacement of failed heating systems, and snow removal to facilitate fuel delivery in rural areas of Colorado. Click here to learn more about EOC’s Crisis Intervention Program, or call 1-855-4-MY-HEAT (1-855-469-4328) toll-free.
EOC’s Colorado Affordable Residential Energy Program focuses on your home’s energy efficiency, which is a crucial component to your overall energy costs and comfort during the hottest and coldest months of the year. This program offers energy audits, energy conservation education, upgrades such as LED light bulbs, low-flow fixtures, energy start refrigeration, air sealing, insulation, and HVAC services. Click here to learn more about EOC’s Colorado Affordable Residential Energy Program.
EOC’s Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program awards grants for energy efficiency upgrades to nonprofit organizations that serve low-income individuals and families. This funding offsets the purchase and installation of energy efficient equipment. Participants additionally benefit from lower monthly utility bills. Services provided include energy assessments, contractor quotes management, rebates and funding resources, installation and contractor management support, energy conservation education, and replacing energy-efficient equipment. Click here to learn more about the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program.
Additional nonprofit support offered by EOC can be found here.
Utility Assistance Resources
Xcel Customers – Need help paying your bill? Visit Xcel Energy’s Energy Assistance page to learn more about resources to help keep your lights on.
Black Hills customers interested in income-qualified programs can visit the Black Hills Energy Assistance Program page to learn more about the programs they offer.
Atmos Energy also offers a Bill Payment Assistance program. Visit their page to learn more.
Colorado Natural Gas offers a variety of income-qualified programs. Learn more about how you can get the support you need by visiting their website.
Colorado Energy Office’s (CEO) Weatherization Assistance Program is designed to maximize energy cost savings for Coloradans by providing them with cost-effective energy efficiency services. These services focus on the home as a system and include a variety of measures that improve the home's energy efficiency. These cost-effective services reduce wasted energy and lower heating bill costs, while improving the overall comfort and safety of a home year-round. Click here to learn more about CEO’s Weatherization Assistance Program.
2-1-1 Colorado streamlines services and provides one central location where people can get connected to the resources they need. With a database that is updated daily, 2-1-1 Colorado can connect you to variety of critical resources on the website or simply by dialing a three-digit number. You can call 211 from your phone for assistance. 2-1-1 can connect you to available resources in your local community.
The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Lifeline program helps low-income earners to stay connected to the nation’s voice and broadband networks, allowing them to maintain access to health care providers, emergency services, and other support systems.
The FCC also has the Emergency Broadband Benefit program offers a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.