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Bring Power Home group meets ahead of vote on Black Hills deal

Posted at 6:14 PM, Jan 23, 2020

PUEBLO — In just a few days, a major decision will be made in Pueblo over its push to establish its own utility.

It comes after years of outrage from citizens and some city leaders who believe that Black Hills Energy rates are too high.

Will the city council vote to approve or deny a deal with Black Hills Energy? That's the question on the minds of a lot of residents.

The group Bring Power Home 2020 met at the Rawlings Library Thursday night to talk about next steps and also to plan for a rally happening on Monday night before the city council meeting.

The group says the goal is to urge the council to say no to Black Hills completely and to allow citizens to vote to form its own utility.

Two weeks ago, the council did move to push this agreement forward. On Monday, it will be the final presentation of this ordinance.

If the council votes "yes" on the deal it will still allow for a ballot question asking voters whether the city should break away from Black Hills and create its own utility. If council votes it down the deal goes away completely and the city could still move forward with creating its own utility if that's what voters choose.

Some city council members believe the deal is a win-win situation. Black Hills says part of the deal would bring millions of dollars of value to the community and support to low-income customers.

However, others in the community think it's a bad agreement.

Dianne Danti, campaign coordinator for Bring Power Home 2020, said, "It was basically a diversion from the problems that Black Hills has brought."

Pueblo resident Chris Nicoll said, "What's in the deal that they've cut with Black Hills is short-sighted in my opinion and I think that we can do better, and we can save money for our residents."

In response to the rally being held Black Hills sent News 5 the following statement:

“It’s appropriate the T-shirts are green, because public power fans want to spend a half-billion dollars in taxpayer money on a government utility takeover,” said Julie Rodriguez, spokesperson for Black Hills Energy. “Good luck convincing taxpayers this is a better deal than the $300 to $500 million in value that Black Hills Energy is offering.”

The rally starts at 5 p.m. on Monday outside Pueblo City Hall. The city council meeting starts at 7 p.m.