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No power shortage for Utilities, despite fire closing Drake plant indefinitely (article updated May 14)

       Colorado Springs Utilities can meet customer electrical needs, despite the temporary loss of the Martin Drake plant, which provides about a third of the city's power.
       Located off Cimarron Street, just east of I-25, Drake is closed for the time being after a fire May 5 (deemed accidental) that damaged part of the facility.
       An explanation was provided May 7 by Patrice Lehermeier of Springs Utilities:
       ďAt this time, we are able to meet the electricity demands of all our customers today and in the weeks and months ahead, despite this current challenge. Much to the benefit of our customers, we are able to rely heavily on our other local generation facilities, such as the Ray Nixon Power Plant and Front Range Power Plant. This is the most cost-effective option and an advantage of locally owned, locally managed public power. We also have access to purchase power agreements and short-term spot market purchases, although these alternatives come with a greater price."
       The following is an updated report released May 14 from Springs Utilities:
       "We now are focused on recovery and repair. Because the Drake plant remains one of the lowest cost and most reliable power facilities in Colorado Springs Utilities' generation portfolio, we are working to get the facility back on line as soon as possible.
       "We have made a great amount of progress over the past week, including:
          - Completed property turnover from Colorado Springs Fire Department.
          - Completed preliminary structural and electrical evaluations.
          - Conducted site visits with insurance adjusters.
           - Secured contractor for facility cleanup.
          - Restored all services to administrative areas.
          - Updated all Drake employee assignments.
          - Scrubber contractor resumed work.
          - Expedited completion of Front Range scheduled outage, bringing that plant back to full capacity.
          - Stopped coal deliveries to the Drake Plant.
       "We still do not know the full extent of the damage to each of the power generators at Drake, but we believe that all units can be restored. We expect our insurance policy to cover the vast majority of repair and recovery costs. A comprehensive condition assessment will begin this week.
       "How does the fire affect the study to decommission the Drake plant? We will continue to receive public input through June. At the same time, we are still assessing the damage, and what will be the costs of repair. Those costs of future investments and operations will be measured against the costs of any permanent replacement generation as well as that of replacement power."

Westside Pioneer/press release
(Posted 5/14/14; Community: Public Safety)

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