Aug 12, 2014 9:03 PM by Greg Dingrando

Repairs to Drake Power Plant ahead of schedule

COLORADO SPRINGS - There's good news for Colorado Springs Utilities customers.

After May's massive fire at the Drake Power Plant, repairs to turbine 7 are ahead of schedule and that means your rates will soon be going down.

When the fire first happened, the flames and smoke were so bad many feared the plant would never be able to recover, but crews have been working around the clock.

They first were able to get turbine six online early, and now seven isn't far off.

The fire at the Drake Power Plant had the city's largest power source knocked off line immediately. It didn't take long for the city to have to start buying power off the grid and that meant a rate hike for customers.

"I don't think we should have to pay for someone's mistakes and for someone elses incompetence," said Anthony Lascala.

"I'm a widow living on benefits so I immediately noticed when things took a hike," said another woman.

Utilities CEO Jerry Forte said he knew it would be tough on people, especially during the summer months, which is why he's made sure his crews have been working 24/7 to fix it.

"I can assure the community that we have done everything humanely possible to bring plant back up and getting it running as soon as possible," said Forte.

But some people say it still wasn't fast enough.

"I think during that time frame they could have moved a lot more expediantly instead of doing all that investigation. I understand its for insurance purposes, but as far as actual work being done they should have started a lot sooner instead of just talking about it," said Lascala.

But considering what they were up against, Forte said being ahead of schedule by even a little bit is a victory.

By adding turbine 7 to the mix, they'll be able to generate all of their own power, meaning your rates will be going down yet again. Forte said you might be surprised by how much.

"That reduction is looking like it will be at or even lower than rates were before the fire," said Forte.

And that's the news rate payers really wanted to hear.

"It will free up some money that I can spend everywhere else," said one rate payer.

Forte thinks it will be up and running by the end of the month, but said it could happen even sooner.

As for the rate drop, they're not exactly sure how much it will be or when it will happen because that's up to city council.

A meeting has already been set up to discuss it and Forte said Council has made it very clear they want to act immediately.



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