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Consumer rights bill passes first committee test

Sponsors say bill aims to give customers ‘a voice’ in all utility cases


A bill to enable the Office of Consumer Counsel to represent consumers in any case in front of the Public Utilities Commission passed its first committee test last week.

House Bill 16-1376, sponsored by representatives Daneya Esgar (D-46) and Faith Winter (D-35) expands the authority of the Office of Consumer Counsel to participate in PUC proceedings on behalf of customers of all public utilities, including telecommunications companies. Current law authorizes the counsel, which has saved Colorado consumers $1.7 billion over the last 30 years, to act only in electric and gas utility proceedings.

“We need to make sure that consumers have a voice when it comes to any issues brought before the Public Utilities Commission,” Esgar said. “My constituents impacted by rate cases approved by the PUC know how important it is to have the Office of Consumer Counsel at the table, not just the utility companies.”

Winter agreed and said it’s imperative to give consumers the control they deserve.

“Today I stand with consumers across Colorado to ensure that their voices matter when the PUC is making important decisions about rates and services,” Winter said. “We are putting the public back into public utility decisions.”

The bill passed the House Transportation and Energy Committee by a party-line, 7-6 vote, with all six Republicans voting against.


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