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.
Recent changes will mean more relief for Xcel customers. 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, which now waits for Governor Hickenlooper's signature, requires the creation of a medical exemption for the Summer of 2014. Additionally, the legislation allows the Public Utilities Commission to means test a medical exemption, if necessary, so long as the income threshold is no lower than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level.
In the summer of 2013, Xcel will continue an existing pilot medical exemption program for low-income customers who meat LEAP eligibility criteria.
For more information please contact the Chapter’s Public Policy Coordinator Allie Moore at 303-698-5435.