Sure, increase my utility bill...
... As long as the money goes for renewable energy, survey respondents say
Think you're paying too much for electricity on your Colorado Springs Utilities bill? Believe it or not, if you answered yes, you're in the minority.
So say the results of a Utilities telephone survey of 400 randomly selected residential customers in December. Seventy-five percent of those interviewed said they were willing to pay $15 extra a month, Utilities analyst Debi Pelican said during a meeting of the Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP) Feb. 20 at the Conservation and Environmental Center on Mesa Road.
There's one kicker. The money would have to cover the increased cost of using renewable sources (such as wind, solar or hydro power) instead of traditional, less expensive ones (such as coal and natural gas) to create electric energy, according to the survey results.
“Frankly I was surprised, with customers so sensitive to increased rates,” Pelican said, “to see the community support for renewables even though it could cost them more.”
The responses are not utterly unexpected - a similar survey in 2003 showed a majority in favor of getting away from less “clean” gas and coal - but the numbers are noticeably higher this time, she said.
Survey responses by business customers to the same set of questions were much the same. And, responses on Util-ities' website (separate from the phone survey) showed even more support for renewable sources, she said.
Pelican added the caveat that the support might not prove as overwhelming when people are asked to “vote with their wallets.” Also, she noted, the pay-more-for- renewables concept was less popular with lower-income respondents. However, Pelican said that overall she believed customers “are sending the message that they think the city should emphasize renewables over coal.”
Currently, according to city figures, 89 percent of city electric energy is supplied by coal or gas.
In other developments at the meeting, Utilities spokeswoman Gail Conners said that the EIRP update effort is taking a little longer than expected. Utilities representatives had hoped to provide five or six different “scenarios” at the meeting, each suggesting possible combinations of energy methods/ resources/ efficiencies, but they weren't quite ready in time. Because of the delay, the plan now is to have another meeting, probably in early March, to let citizens see the scenarios before the next previously scheduled meeting March 22.
Westside Pioneer article