Tiered rates intended to promote energy conservation can create unintended hardship for those with heat-exacerbated illnesses like MS.
In Fort Collins, our advocacy has resulted in a medical exemption to the tiered rate structure for residents, extended to all electrical durable medical equipment and including a discount for customers whose medical needs require air conditioning. To qualify for the medical exemption, residents must prove they earn 60% or less of the median income in the Larimer County area.
For Xcel customers, recent changes will mean more relief. Thanks to the hard work of MS Activists, in 2013 the Chapter helped to pass Senate Bill 13-282, providing for a medical exemption from tiered rates for people with MS and other conditions that cause heat sensitivity.
The bill was signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper on May 28, 2013 and requires the creation of a medical exemption for the summer of 2014. Additionally, the legislation allows the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to means test a medical exemption, if necessary, so long as the income threshold is no lower than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level.
The Chapter continues to work with the PUC and Xcel to implement the exemption for summer 2014.
For more information please contact the Chapter’s Public Policy Coordinator Matt Pfeifer at 303-698-5435.