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Colorado Springs power plant fire to lead to electric rate hike

Colorado Springs residents could see an increase of about $5.35 on their next monthly utilities bill as Colorado Springs Utilities officials work to recover the costs of Martin Drake Power Plant fire on May 5.

Before the fire erupted at Drake, damaging a turbine and shutting down power generation indefinitely, it produced a third of the city’s power.

CSU officials estimate that it will cost $3 million per month to replace the lost power, which is now being supplied by the city’s natural gas-fired plants, and with power purchased from other electric providers in the region. Energy supplied by natural gas is more expensive than coal power.

To recover the additional costs from ratepayers, CSU will submit a rate hike request to City Council at the council’s May 27 meeting.

If approved, the rates would increase to $0.0102 per kWh and would go into effect June 1. Utilities officials said that translates to an increase of about $5.35 on the typical resident’s bill. For commercial and industrial customers, bills would increase by 10.5 percent to 11.2 percent, officials said.

Related: Utilities chief provides Colorado Springs council with update on Drake fire

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