Polis Takes A Swing at High Energy Prices – And Misses the Mark

Having a diverse energy portfolio is vital to a healthy economy and energy sector. Natural gas, solar and wind all play unique and essential parts in Colorado’s energy production. As Governor Polis continues to push his 100% renewable agenda, we have seen more and more aggressive regulations and attacks aimed at the oil and gas industry and the businesses, infrastructure and communities that the industry supports.

The governor’s proposed solution to rising energy costs is multifaceted and includes pursuing federal dollars to make homes more energy efficient; continuing efforts aimed at electrifying buildings; and inquiring about more oversight of gas utilities’ costs.

But as the Chamber frequently notes – public policy and new regulations continue to be the biggest danger to business operations in Colorado. Further complicating regulations is the fact that new policies are being introduced every year, keeping businesses in a constant game of catch-up and moving the needle to reach compliance – driving up costs for businesses and consumers alike.

Oil and gas producers and trade organizations have noted that at least part of the blame for high fuel costs at the pump and at home is due to state and federal politicians and policies discouraging more natural gas production. The reality is Colorado is swimming in new regulations. The Colorado General Assembly has passed over 45 statutes to address air quality, energy and the environment since 2019. Colorado has a demonstrated record of being aggressive on energy policy; however, it’s an implementation challenge when strategies for dozens of new regulations are still being rolled out.

We also deeply value a safe, healthy environment in Colorado. However, it is abundantly clear that some of the cost increases we see today are the direct result of Colorado’s aggressive agenda to transition our energy profile in expedited fashion without considering the market. Coloradans need access to energy we all can afford, regardless of whether our clean energy substitutes are ready to go to market at scale. Colorado ranks fifth in the country for oil production and seventh for natural gas. The United States produces what is arguably the cleanest energy in the world. We are prepared to meet the energy needs of the state and our residents, regardless of the regulations that deliberately shrink traditional energy industries.

Layer-in international conflicts, extreme weather and other external factors that further limit supply and increase demand, and it’s no wonder we are seeing higher home heating costs for Coloradans during our coldest winter months.

In a recent press conference, Polis was quoted calling natural gas “unreliable” and pushing for the state to invest heavily in renewable energy. Polis also made an oath to use federal funding to boost electrification by stating:

“We must leave no stone unturned to save Coloradans money on utility bills. Coloradans need near-term and long-term relief on their energy bills and today I am laying out ways state entities can take action to help save people money on their energy costs, to identify and implement opportunities to protect Colorado consumers, lower costs, and avoid price swings like the one we’re experiencing now.”

The “stone” that Polis seems to not want to turn over is to maintain or even increase the use of natural gas production and focus on making that energy more available and affordable. While we appreciate Polis’s efforts to embrace renewable energy, it’s disingenuous to say natural gas is unreliable when it’s currently underpinning our energy system. The reality is, natural gas will continue to be necessary as we find new ways to power Colorado, especially through record cold winters, if we are to maintain reliability and affordability.

Polis falsely believes that the only way to cut energy prices is to rethink and cut out natural gas altogether, or to take aim at utility providers who have no control over the global energy economy. Our Colorado utilities are leading the clean energy economy, building economic development in rural Colorado, and supporting communities and non-profits all over the state.

Utility providers already offer dozens of energy and money-saving options for all customers, including rebates, home energy audits and discounts on items that can help reduce energy costs, and continue to look for ways to offer more relief. Even now, when investor-owned utility companies need to pass increased commodity costs to their customers – they do so without profiting from it. In addition, natural gas prices have come down recently and are projected to continue to fall in the coming months.

To reiterate – there are multiple elements that contribute to high natural gas prices, but supply and demand dictate the cost of natural gas and normal price swings are exaggerated by additional regulatory costs, cuts to natural gas production and cold weather need.

We as Coloradans have chosen to invest billions of dollars in transmission and renewable energy projects over the next decade – something being done out of both corporate responsibility and to meet state energy goals.

Collaboration is vital for a healthy economy. We look forward to being at the table as a business community to discuss business friendly incentives for energy producers to increase natural gas supplies in a safe, effective manner while also investing in carbon-free technologies.

In the face of increased costs, we applaud our energy providers for responsively mitigating consumers monthly energy bills by looking at programs that assist low-and-fixed income customers. The Chamber will continue to push for business-friendly policies and an all-of-the-above approach – that includes natural gas – when addressing energy affordability, sustainability and reliability in Colorado.


Help Us Protect Restaurants and Retail – STOP House Bill 1118

This bill would have significant and widespread impact on thousands of public and private sector employers and employees across Colorado. House Bill 1118 creates new restrictions on scheduling practices, removes much needed flexibility in the workplace, and ultimately hamstrings those it is intended to help. Creating an employee schedule takes time, elaborate coordination, labor demand management, and often negotiating between an employer and an employee about availability and preference. The bill demonstrates a dire misunderstanding of the way retail, food and beverage, and related industries operate. In its current form, the proposed bill is entirely unworkable for Colorado businesses.

Who does it affect?

This bill primarily targets the food and beverage and retail industries; however, it includes all labor that is integral to such operations, such as janitorial and security services. While those industries are specifically mentioned, the bill also includes franchises and some language that might be more broadly applicable to business.

What does this bill do?

  • It requires that employers give employees an average number of hours they’d work in a week and pay them a minimum of 15% of those hours, regardless of whether they work the hours.
  • It mandates that schedules be posted two weeks in advance. Deviations would require employers to pay “predictability pay,” “rest shortfall pay,” and other fines.
  • It requires written employee consent for changes in scheduling.
  • The bill bars employers from hiring additional staff until existing employees are scheduled for their desired number of weekly work hours, up to 40 hours a week or 12 hours a day, by penalty of six months of required retention pay to the existing employee.
    Take action against House Bill 1118 using our advocacy tool below.

Bills We Took a Position On


  • House Bill 1091 extends the child care contribution tax credit three years and expands the tax credit to include in-kind donations of real property.
  • House Bill 1153 requires the state department of human services to conduct a feasibility study to determine if creating a system to support people with serious mental illness through a collaboration between Colorado’s behavioral health and judicial systems is feasible.
  • House Bill 1101 increases the flexibility of the ozone season transit grant program by: allowing transit agencies in areas where ozone is highest at a different time than between June 1 to Aug. 31 to designate such time as its “ozone season”; to use grant money to advertise free ridership; to use grant money to increase free routes or increase their frequency; and allowing the regional transit district (RTD) to use grant money to cover the full costs, not just 80%, of free ridership fares.
  • Senate Bill 65 removes the requirement to complete a qualified industry pre-apprenticeship program for the career development success program.
  • Senate Bill 110 requires proposed metropolitan districts that submit plans to one or more Boards of County Commissioners or municipalities to include the maximum mill levy that may be imposed and the maximum debt that may be issued through the metropolitan district.


  • House Bill 1068 prohibits insurance companies from denying homeowners insurance based on dog breed, while allowing denial if the breed is a dangerous dog; forbids insurers from asking about what dog breeds live at a residence; requires an officer executing a writ of restitution to inspect for pets and give any pets to the tenant; forbids a landlord from taking a security deposit for pets living in their property; and creates the pet friendly landlord damage mitigation program administered by the department of local affairs.
  • House Bill 1120 requires a landlord and tenant to participate in mandatory mediation before eviction if the tenant receives supplementary security income, federal disability insurance or cash assistance through the Colorado works program.
  • House Bill 1162 creates the “Colorado Consumer Legal Funding Act,” and it provides the requirements for a consumer legal funding contract, which is satisfied when a consumer’s associated legal claim has been resolved or settled.
  • House Bill 1171 prohibits a landlord from evicting a tenant unless there is just cause for an eviction.
  • Senate Bill 47 changes the closing process in real estate transactions by requiring that funds intended to be used at closing have been received and deposited in a trust account at least one business day prior to closing, and that the funds be confirmed as deposited and available upon closing.
  • Senate Bill 105 requires the Director of the Division of Labor Standards to investigate complaints or other leads concerning wage inequity; if a violation is found, order compliance and relief; and promulgate rules to enforce the bill.
  • Senate Bill 111 grants public employees including individuals employed by counties, municipalities, fire authorities, school districts, public colleges and universities, library districts, special districts, public defender’s offices, the university of Colorado hospital authority, the Denver health and hospital authority, the general assembly, and a board of cooperative services certain rights.

Read our full stances here.