Thanks to everyone who wrote to Mayor Arndt and to their councilmembers asking them not to increase the natural gas franchise fee, and asking them to consider a Large Methane User Fee instead.  We recently learned that the natural gas franchise fee has been removed from consideration by council! Please either attend the council meeting on July 2nd at 6:00 p.m. or write a short letter to thank council for doing that, and to reiterate your support for the Large Methane User Fee.  Talking points are provided below.  Information on registering to speak at the council meeting will follow later.

Background

Until recently, City Council had been planning to increase the natural gas franchise fee from its current rate of 1.07% to 3.00%.  This added fee would have been paid by all residents and businesses in the City who receive natural gas (also known as methane) service from Xcel Energy.  Community for Sustainable Energy (CforSE) and the Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) have been advocating AGAINST this fee increase and FOR a Large Methane User Fee, which would only apply to the largest users of methane.  City leaders recently removed the natural gas franchise fee increase from their long-term planning calendar.  However, they have yet to schedule a discussion of the Large Methane User Fee.  For additional background, visit this webpage.

Talking Points for Council Meeting on Tuesday, July 2nd

  1. Thank you for removing consideration of a natural gas franchise fee increase from your long-term planning calendar.
  2. A natural gas franchise fee increase would have impacted all users of natural gas (also known as methane) at the same rate.  It would not have distinguished between large users and small users.
  3. The revenue from a natural gas franchise fee would have gone into the City’s general fund.  It would not have had to have been used to reduce community climate pollution.
  4. It seems as if fees are being increased and new fees are being added to goods and services all the time these days without any accountability.  Increasing the natural gas franchise fee would have been politically unpopular.
  5. Please consider establishing a new Large Methane User Fee, as proposed by the Fort Collins Sustainability Group and Community for Sustainable Energy.
  6. A Large Methane User Fee would only apply to large methane users.  Residential natural gas customers like me would not be affected.
  7. A Large Methane User Fee could potentially raise more funds than a natural gas franchise fee increase.
  8. Revenue from a Large Methane User Fee would need to be used to help large methane users reduce their consumption of methane and the associated climate pollution.
  9. Help would come in the form of incentive payments from the City to reduce overall energy use (such as by adding insulation or improving building controls) and to encourage electrification (such as installing heat pumps to replace gas furnaces).  As the electric supply becomes “greener,” electrification helps reduce climate pollution more and more.  This is a “win-win” situation for the City and for those subject to the fee.
  10. We need to do everything we can to meet our short-term (2026) community climate pollution reduction goal of 50% compared to 2005 pollution levels.  A Large Methane User Fee would help us achieve that goal.