Photo: Colorado Springs City Councilman and CSU Board Member Andy Pico
On June 17th, the Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) Board met, and one item up for discussion was approving an “Energy Vision Statement”. The draft statement that the board approved says:
“Provide resilient, reliable and cost-effective energy that is environmentally sustainable, reduces our carbon footprint and uses proven state-of-the-art technologies to enhance our quality of life for generations to come.”
Councilman Andy Pico voiced his concern that customers may be hurt by energy problems similar to those that have happened in California —rolling blackouts and 50% higher rates. Pico acknowledged though, that Colorado State law is driving the need for the energy statement. The Councilors (acting as the CSU board) discussed the Drake Power Plant closing by 2030, and the additional potential closing of the Nixon Power Plant. Drake and Nixon account for 40% of the area’s energy production.
No other council members or CSU staff —except Mr. Pico— questioned what the Drake closure would do to the energy cost to ratepayers.
The conversation evolved into Pico and Council President Richard Skorman (who is a regular member of the CSU Board, not its chair) arguing over climate change and its science. At one point, Skorman told Pico that not many people agree with him. Fireworks ensued.
At SpringsTaxpayers.com, we have significant concerns over what is going to happen to ratepayers’ energy bills. Councilman Geislinger admitted that there would be an impact on customers. He talked about the board’s responsibility to think of future generations when it comes to the long-term plan, but Geislinger won’t be on Council or on the CSU board when utility rates become potentially unaffordable.
The presenting CSU representative acknowledged that he doesn’t have the “economics and the background for the tradeoffs, the balancing of cost and environmental performance.” Alright, shouldn’t someone with that information be called before the CSU board and asked about future rates, and where the replacement energy will come from?
When Drake closes, ratepayers can’t afford for their bills to skyrocket. Too many citizens in Colorado Springs are on a fixed income, and increases that seem moderate to the more financially secure, could be devastating for others.
Our thanks go out to Mr. Pico for raising the concern that the other councilors dismissed. Pico was the only ‘No’ vote.
If you have 23-minutes, please watch the whole thing.
Not a word from Pico when rates went up to pay for the $200,000,000 scrubbers for Drake. More money will have to go into Drake to keep it running. That’s what will make the rates go up!