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Colorado Fracking Helps Utility Bills

Cathy Proctor | Denver Business Journal
Sep 16, 2013

The mother of John Harpole, a longtime Denver oil and gas executive, kept 35 years of monthly utility bills in a box — making notes in the margins about the weather “in hopes that she could guess what next month’s bill might be,” her son says.

And it’s people like his mother, Mary Harpole — who raised nine children in a home in Denver’s Congress Park neighborhood after her husband died in 1966 — that John Harpole thinks of when he talks about how the oil and gas industry’s use of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) cut residential utility bills in the United States by $32.6 billion in 2012.

“There’s not a bill in that pile [of utility bills] that is over $90 — maybe a really expensive lunch for some folks — but she sweated bullets over whether she could pay it,” said Harpole, founder and president of Mercator Energy LLC, a natural gas marketing and research company in Littleton.

Harpole also is a board member with Denver’s Energy Outreach Colorado, a nonprofit that raises money to help Colorado’s poor pay their utility bills.

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