Colorado Springs Utility Bills Could Soon Drop

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Restoration crews are ahead of schedule in restoring power at the Drake Power Plant. That means we could soon see our utility bills drop.

Back in May, a fire broke out at the power plant in downtown Colorado Springs. The plant has been shut down ever since.

For the past few weeks, Colorado Springs Utilities says the typical customer has been paying about $5 more a month. Springs Utilities says we could see a drop in our bills over the next few weeks. It's all dependent on the units at the power plant that generate electricity. One of them may be back up and running next week. If that happens, expect about a 30 percent reduction. That means the initial $5 increase for customers will go down to $3.50.

Crews are making a lot of progress inside the plant. They hope to have another unit working again by this fall, which would again drive down the $5 increase even more. But utility crews say unfortunately natural gas prices are continuing to rise so these proposed reductions are not set in stone. They say their highest priority is to get both of those units back up and running.

“We have a lot of people working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get this unit up. We're doing everything we can, keeping in mind most of us are customers too,” explained George Luke with Colorado Springs Utilities.

Initially the 88 employees at Drake were re-assigned to other plants because of the fire. Now 80 of those employees are back at Drake helping with the restoration process.

Many people have asked about CEO Jerry Forte’s salary.
He's making about half a million dollars and people want to know if he can help offset any costs. 11 News asked him about it.

"My salary is really something that the board and the city council decides is appropriate from their perspective, so it's really not something I want to comment on. It's something they decide is the right thing to do,” Forte stated.

Fire investigators ruled the fire to be accidental because of human error. We’re told that employee is no longer with Colorado Springs Utilities.