The bill allows the public utilities commission to approve, and electric utilities to charge, economic development rates, which are lower rates for commercial and industrial users who locate or expand their operations in Colorado so as to increase the demand by at least 3 megawatts. To qualify for the economic development rates, these users must demonstrate that the cost of electricity is a critical consideration in their decision where to locate or expand their business and that the availability of lower rates is a substantial factor. The rates may be offered for up to 10 years.
The bill also authorizes the expansion of a voluntary renewable energy program or service offering as necessary to meet the needs of a commercial or industrial customer that makes a capital investment of $250 million or more, requires the expansion in order to remain as a customer of a utility, or is a new customer.
Utilities that offer economic development rates shall not cross-subsidize the economic development rates by raising rates on other customers, and a utility bears the burden of proof on this issue in any proceeding before the commission.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)