One explanation for this past winter’s soaring utility bills was the disruption in global natural gas supplies caused by the war in Ukraine, but it turns out the source of many Colorado households’ woes was closer to home: California.
Drought cut California hydropower production to half of normal levels in 2022, and to fill the gap the state’s utilities went on a natural gas buying spree that drove up the cost of delivered gas to Colorado utilities by almost 100% over the course of the year.
“California bid up natural gas in December and January in basins Xcel buys gas in,” said John Harpole, president of Mercator Energy, a Littleton-based gas brokerage firm. “As a result of California, Colorado ratepayers paid more for natural gas.”
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