Protect Clinically Ill Patients From Unmanageable Energy Costs

Heat Sensitive Tiered Rates

Target: Pat Steadman, Colorado Senator

Goal: Reduce energy rates for people coping with heat-sensitive medical conditions.

People with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other heat sensitive diseases need increased air conditioning during warmer months to combat symptom exacerbation brought on by increased heat. Tiered summer energy rates create an increased financial burden on sick individuals already dealing with many financial and medical obstacles. Please sign this petition and support legislation in Colorado that would exempt low and middle-income people with MS and other medical heat sensitivities from increased energy rates.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) has been working with the Public Utilities Commission to create an exemption from tiered summer energy rates since their introduction in 2010. The NMSS, Colorado-Wyoming Chapter has proposed SB282 which would set a standard for exemption from Xcel Energy’s tiered summer energy rates. Xcel Energy provides electricity to about 2/3 of Coloradans, and those with heat sensitivities pay more under tiered rates than other rate structures because of their medically necessary energy use. A doctor’s note is required as verification of the person’s medical need due to heat sensitivities.

Many people with MS and other medical heat sensitivities experience a temporary worsening of their symptoms when their environment is very hot or humid, or get overheated from exercise, sunlight exposure, or hot showers and baths. According to the NMSS, “these temporary changes can result from even a very slight elevation in core body temperature (one-quarter to one-half of a degree) because an elevated temperature further impairs the ability of a demyelinated nerve to conduct electrical impulses.” Generally, increased heat produces only temporary worsening of symptoms, and they are reversed once the source of increased temperature is removed. That is why people with MS and other heat sensitive diseases need regular air conditioning during warmer months.

The Rocky Mountain MS Center estimates the direct and indirect costs of MS to be $57, 500 per patient, per year. SB282 would at least ease some of that cost to the residents of Colorado, where sunny days are prevalent and summer heat is high. Please sign this petition and urge Colorado Senators to vote yes on SB282 to ensure the health and wellness of Coloradan’s coping with Multiple Sclerosis and medical heat sensitivities.

PETITIONL LETTER:

Dear Senator Steadman,

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), Colorado-Wyoming Chapter has teamed up with the Public Utilities Commission to create an exemption from Xcel Energy’s tiered summer rates for low and middle-income people with Multiple Sclerosis and other medical heat sensitivities. Symptoms such as blurred vision, fatigue, vertigo, incontinence, numbness, muscle weakness and more are exacerbated by increased heat, thereby demanding increased air conditioning to combat relapse. Please support SB282 and relieve some of the astounding cost faced by people with MS and similar diseases that are unable to reduce summer energy use without threatening their health.

Xcel Energy provides electricity to about 2/3 of Coloradans, and those with heat sensitivities pay more under tiered rates than other rate structures because of their medically necessary energy use. Colorado has one of the highest rates of Multiple Sclerosis in the country so a lot of people would benefit from the passage of this bill. The Rocky Mountain MS Center estimates $57, 500 as the total direct and indirect costs per patient with MS, per year. Medications ranged from $20,000 to $30,000 and the cost for treatment of a disease flare-up is estimated at $12, 870. Lost wages to under or unemployment also contribute to the estimated $2.2 million spent by individuals with MS over the span of their life.

Please support SB282 and provide at least some relief to people coping with MS and other medical heat sensitivities.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: healthline via Yahoo

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