How Will The Drake Power Plant Fire Affect You?


Colorado Spring Utilities is raising electricity rates this summer to cover increased costs resulting from a May 5 fire at the Martin Drake power plant expected to leave Drake shuttered through the highest electric demand months of the year. So, how will the Drake power plant fire affect you?

Before we explain how the Drake power plant fire will impact you and your neighbors, we’ll explain a bit more about Drake.

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What is the Drake power plant?

The Martin Drake power plant, until the fire, produced more than a third of all the electricity consumed by Colorado Springs Utilities customers. The coal-fired power plant provided base load power, running 24 hours a day, seven days a week and was by far the cheapest electricity generation in the city.

It was first constructed at the turn of the century. But the three generators still working when the fire started were built in 1962, 1968 and 1974. The fire broke out in generator 5, which is the oldest of the three and the one that produced the least power.

How long will Drake be shut down?

Colorado Springs Utilities is working on getting the power plant back up and running, but has said it will likely be offline throughout the summer, which is when electricity use is highest because of air conditioning.

Where is power coming from now?

Right now, CSU is using its Nixon coal plant, a natural gas power plant and buying power from the grid to supply customers with needed electricity.

Will electric rates go up?

Colorado Springs Utilities asked City Council to approve a 7 percent rate increase to cover higher generation and acquisition costs over the summer. That equates to $5.34 a month for the average household.

Will rates go back down?

It’s hard to say if CSU will be able to reduce rates after Drake is back in operation. The cost of repairing the plant might require the utility to keep rates higher.

How does the Drake power plant fire affect you?

If you get your electricity from CSU, you will likely pay higher electric rates at least through the summer.

What can you do about higher electric rates?

If you can’t afford the rate increase, contact CSU or the Energy Resource Center to learn about options for assistance.  The ERC can help you make your home more energy efficient. If you’re using less electricity, rates can go up without making your bill go up.

We also have some good tips in previous blogs about ways to keep your home cool during the summer without using high-priced air conditioning.

Contact the ERC if you need help to make your home more energy efficient this summer.


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