Viewers sound off on Fort Collins utility mandatory 'time-of-day' utility pricing

Think of it like the Uber for public utilities

Editor's Note: Denver7 360 stories explore multiple sides of the topics that matter most to Coloradans, bringing in different perspectives so you can make up your own mind about the issues. To comment on this or other 360 stories, email us at 360@TheDenverChannel.com. See more 360 stories here.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Denver7 took a 360 look at the multiple perspectives on the city of Fort Collins going to a 'time-of-day' pay structure for utilities next month.

Since then, hundreds of people have weighed in on Denver7's Facebook page and sent in emails with other viewpoints.

Under the plan, Fort Collins homeowners will pay three times more for electricity during peak hours: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. from May to September and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. October through April.

However, homeowners will pay 30 percent less for that same energy if they use it during off-peak hours.

Impact on senior citizens

Amelia asked, "What about senior citizens who can't choose when they use their energy?"

"My parents are 88-years-old, and typically have their thermostat at 75 or higher in the winter. Foco doesn't take into account senior citizens who are on fixed incomes and need warmer homes," she wrote in an email to Denver7.

From Amelia's perspective, the flip side of electricity savings for some is colder homes for our seniors.

Denver7 reached out the city about her concern. Fort Collins said roughly 10 percent of its customers are age 65 and older.

The city said it has several affordability programs, including payment, medical, and income qualified assistance for those who qualify.

For Amelia's elderly parents, she said that is the problem. She told Denver7 her parents make too much to qualify, but not enough to live comfortably.

Working families raise concerns

A Fort Collins high school teacher also sounded off for working families.

"I believe this is greed and is aimed directly at working people. If I work 7 a.m. - 4 p.m., when do I watch TV? Do my laundry? And spend time with my children? I think it's crazy."

The city said a pilot study with nearly 7,000 homeowners found most will end up paying less, not more, for utilities based on the change and those who's bills went up were only by a few dollars.

Other views from Denver7's Facebook page

Sam wrote, "Is Fort Collins now a suburb of Boulder? Wacky thinking, both towns."

Wanda, on the other hand, offered a comparison. She lives in Arizona where they already have "time-of-day" utility pricing.

"It does reduce your bill, if you use the schedule. There is less electricity that has to be generated when businesses are closed so this balances out usage," she wrote on Facebook.

Tips to lower utility costs

Fort Collins offered the following tips to help customers lower their utility bills:

"We encourage adjusting thermostats by a few degrees before or after on peak hours for heating and cooling based on their needs and comfort.

"Customers can reduce costs by using all other appliances during off peak times, for example, dryers, dishwashers, charging electronics, etc."

Fort Collins has posted other suggestions on its website: www.fcgov.com/TOD [fcgov.com]

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