Study claims Pueblo has lowest utility rates in US; locals disagree

Study claims Pueblo has lowest...

PUEBLO, Colo. - Ask almost anyone in Pueblo about their utility rate and they'll say something along these lines:

"I think we're one of the highest in the state," said Karen Wheeler, a Black Hills Energy customer.

So, when we got a news release from the Council for Community and Economic Research claiming that Pueblo has the cheapest utilities in the nation, we had to scratch our heads. And so did City Councilman Larry Atencio.

"I hear from people from all over the city, not only in my district, about their utility rates and the high rates that they're paying," Atencio said.

The average monthly bill for Black Hills customers in Pueblo is around $114.

In comparison, on the study's list of the most expensive cities, utility customers in Honolulu paid around $144. 

Black Hills spokesperson Julie Rodriguez said the company sets its rates based on what it sees in the communities it serves.

"We want to make sure that we can help our customers keep their power on and manage their energy usage," Rodriquez said.

But many people in Pueblo would argue that too much of their money is going into the Black Hills payment slot.

"Our business utilities, I think, are really high. My home -- I'm not too, too disappointed with. It does keep going up," Wheeler said.

Atencio said the rates are so high, it's limiting the city's growth.

"And it limits the amount of disposable income that people have because their high rates are so high, they can't spend money on anything else," Atencio said. 

He is part of a commission looking for other energy options for the city and said this study isn't an accurate reflection of reality.

If you want to take a look at the study, visit the Council for Community and Economic Research website here.

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