Debate Over Future Of Power Plant After Fire

Drake Power Plant Fire, May 5, 2014

The Drake Power Plant could be up and running again by July.

That will be just two months after a large fire broke out in the plant and rendered it temporarily unusable. Colorado Springs Utilities has been buying power from other sources since the May 5 fire. Until the plant is generating electricity, this could mean that customers will be seeing a rate increase. CSU says the average family might see a bill $5 higher than they are accustomed to receiving.

But until City Council decides on an increase, rates have stayed the same.

"As we continue to under collect, the concern becomes really not just the financial stability of the organization, but the way those actions would be viewed by rating agencies and others that are concerned we steward those financial resources appropriately," Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte said.

City Council will expected to decide on a rate increase next Tuesday.

While the company looks at reopening the damaged plant, the debate goes on about the future of the Drake Plant.

The city is looking at shutting down the plant at some point down the road. A study on decommissioning the Drake Plant will look at financial costs and effects on the environment and health.

"The important thing for us is to be able to make the appropriate long-term decision; that involves looking at all the options," Forte said. "What we're really about with the Drake decision is really what the community wants to do, and then we're the appropriate people to implement that decision."

Several people who spoke at a meeting Wednesday asked Springs Utilities to not reopen the plant at all.

"Shut the plant down that's in the middle of the city, we instantly have a healthier city, and for right now its actually healthier for the next foreseeable months...lets keep it that way," Springs resident Eric Verlo said.

There will be a couple of open houses next month to hear from businesses and the public about what to do with the Drake Plant. We'll let you know when and where they'll be held.