By Kalyn McMackin
Published: December 11, 2016, 9:35 pm Updated: December 12, 2016, 7:02 am
Group uses Advent themes to protest Black Hills Energy rates
Hoping to create positive change
PUEBLO, Colo. — A small group of protesters gathered outside Black Hills Energy in Pueblo Sunday, hoping to create positive and effective change in a unique way.
The small group sang Christmas carols and brought gifts to the company in hopes of having their message heard.
“The socioeconomic status of our citizens is pretty low, but we pay one of the highest electric rates in the state and one of the highest in the country, so we just want to have competitive prices here so people can afford their electricity,” said Rebecca Vigil, a community organizer.
“Black Hills rate increases have been going on and on and on in Pueblo and we have about 7,000 people, 7,000 families in Pueblo who have their electricity disconnected each year,” said Chris Markuson, a protester.
The peaceful demonstrators used the themes of Advent season, including hope, peace and Sunday’s theme of joy.
“Advent is a time of peace and joy and celebration and we would like to highlight that this is usually a very happy time of the year,” said Markuson. “However, when your electricity has been disconnected, it’s very hard to be happy and joyful.”
Small business demand charges, rate reduction for low-income families and reasonable deposit policies are a few things the group hopes the out-of-state utility company will consider changing.
“These families that can’t afford their bills in the first place, they need to do the reconnect fee plus three months deposit to get their electricity back on, and so there’s neighborhoods that are completely blacked out,” said Vigil.
“This is not an adversarial thing,” said Markuson. “It’s purely an issue that we’d like to bring up.”
The group said they will continue to protest every Sunday until the company changes its policies or rates.
Black Hills Energy was not available for comment Sunday.