Colorado Moving Toward Retail Deregulation

The Colorado Senate last week approved and sent on to the House a bill to deregulate retail gas distribution in the state. The bill's sponsor, Sen. David Owen, R-Greeley, said he expects the legislation (SB 99-153) to pass this year.

Senate approval followed an amendment that removed language that would have allowed utilities to recover 100% of their stranded costs from ratepayers. Should the bill become law, the state's Public Utility Commission would have oversight of stranded cost recovery. Among those participating in negotiations for the amendment were Public Service Co. of Colorado, KN Energy, and Enron Corp, as well as producers and pipelines. Gas deregulation legislation failed last year due to fears it would boost consumers' rates. A government panel is studying electricity deregulation.

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