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Decisions about Drake Power Plant still in the air

Decisions about Drake Power Plant still in the air

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs Utilities, CSU, leaders met with the Utilities Board Wednesday to weigh in on the future of Martin Drake Power Plant.

The power plant was crippled by a fire on May 5. Unit 5, the smallest power generator at the plant suffered the most significant damage.  Miles and miles of melted instrumentation and control cables will have to be replaced. 

One of the major points of contention has been the cost of the fire to customers. The board, which is comprised of Colorado Springs City Council, reviewed two options at Wednesday's meeting.

The first option would impact customers' utility bills starting June 1.  Residential electric bills would increase by 7.4 percent, commercial bills by 10.4 percent and industrial bills by 11.2 percent.

The second option would have less of an impact on customers' utility bills, but it would extend the length of time it would take for CSU to recover the costs from the drake power plant fire.  Residential electric bills would increase by 3.8 percent, commercial bills would increase by 5.3 percent and industrial bills would increase by 5.7 percent.

Several board members spoke in favor of the first option. One board member described option two as putting money on a credit card, and could compromise CSU's financial stability down the road.

Two business leaders spoke before the board in favor of option two. One said a utility hike would have a significant impact on his company's bottom line. Another said higher utilities will make Colorado Springs less desirable for prospective businesses thinking of settling in the area,

The board did not make a decision on the future of Drake Power Plant. It will need to decide how to quantify social costs in looking at the pros and cons of Drake Power Plant's future.  It will have to make a decision on that during July's meeting.

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