of the coal-burning Martin Drake Power Plant
downtown is up and running again, triggering a proposal to reduce the electric cost adjustment (ECA) to customers that's been in place through the summer.
During repairs following a May 5 fire, rates went up nominally to recover the higher cost of fuel. Drake operates with three units, which together provide roughly a third of the city's power.
Under the proposed rate decrease, the restoration of Unit 7 would cause the typical residential electric bill to decline by $4.02
per month. It's the second decrease due to restoring Drake. In July the ECA was decreased by $1.68 per month when Unit 6 went back on line. If the latest recommended rate cut is approved, the original rate hike would be cut by roughly 80 percent.
In a news notification, Colorado Springs Utilities
said the rate cut is under going City Auditor's Office review before being submitted to City Council.
As explained in a previous Springs Utilities release:
The Drake facility typically is one of our community’s lowest-cost sources of power. Since the May 5 fire, that electricity is being replaced by Colorado Springs Utilities’ own natural gas-fired plants and purchased power from other electric providers in the region, which are higher cost sources of power. An increase to the ECA went into effect on June 1 to cover the additional costs.
The ECA rate is adjusted periodically to compensate for changing coal, natural gas and purchase power costs. Colorado Springs Utilities is a not-for-profit entity and sets rates only high enough to cover the cost to provide service.