Arctic Cold and Xcel’s December Shock

In my Wednesday morning Zoom yoga class, two women from Lakewood said the wind was picking up. Calm then in Denver but if the front had reached our western suburbs, we knew it’d be here soon. An hour later as I walked to the library, temps still high 40s, a sharp gust snaked a shiver inside my unbuttoned coat. Blue skies still. I prolonged my walk a bit, despite the wind, because later that day and the next, there’d be no going out for me. This was to be a killing cold.

December 22, 2022

I asked the Lakewood ladies about their Xcel bills and they too found them doubled. One had a bill for $450. She can’t pay that, said her friend indignantly. My yoga class is mostly us retired folk. No, she can’t pay that. Neither can many of us.

On the heels of shocking utility bills, the arctic cold arrived. We usually get a dose of it in January for the Stock Show when we’re ready for it. This one was early and the worst in decades. While we’ve huddled inside, the heat has run ceaselessly and we’ve pictured ten dollar bills being sucked into the furnace and belched out our chimneys. And Christmas two days away.

Snow in Denver normally melts as soon as sun returns the next morning, and by evening these few inches are almost gone. People wonder, “did it snow?” Snow that stays all winter—that’s Leadville or some other high-country location. Not Denver. Normally. Today though, with bright sun all day, not even the snow apparently glued to bare branches has budged. Our high yesterday around 0°, today about 15°.

The deep freeze will move out of here tomorrow. We were proud of our recent weatherstripping. This cold has been happy to show us the places we missed. Walking past the front door is like standing before the open fridge. Only worse. The fridge doesn’t produce wind. Our wonderful young neighbors shoveled our walks. We never stepped outside yesterday. Today we did venture out for Christmas dinner supplies, but the heat still runs constantly, no doubt amassing another unsustainable bill.

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4 Responses to Arctic Cold and Xcel’s December Shock

  1. Scott Spring says:

    Our Excel bill was $500

    • dubrava says:

      Scott, many people wrote about it on our neighborhood Facebook page and most reported bills twice what they have normally been in winter. I sent a letter to The Denver Post that should be published with a group of others this Sunday—Christmas. So many can’t afford this sudden increase.

  2. Deb says:

    Yeah, we’re all in this together. October: $125, November $300 and now December a whopping $470. Right on about “the ten dollar bills being sucked into the furnace and belched out our chimneys.” We just feel lucky to be able to pay this, so many will not… Happy Christmas!

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