Colorado Springs Utilities said on March 16 that ten months after the May 2014 fire at the coal-fired Martin Drake Power Plant, Unit 5 has been restarted.
Unit 5 (at 46 MW) is the smallest, and last, of the three units damaged in the fire to be restored. Unit 6 (77 MW) returned to service just nine weeks following the fire and Unit 7 (131 MW) was operational in 16 weeks, bringing the plant back to 80% of its capacity.
An increase to the Electric Cost Adjustment rate was approved following the fire to cover additional fuel costs while Drake was completely out of service. However, as promised, decreases to the ECA were approved after each unit was brought back online. It is no different with this unit. The municipal utility said it will ask City Council to approve an ECA decrease in April with an effective date of May 1.
CSU said that based on the information collected during the origin and cause investigation, the fire was determined to be accidental and caused by human error. The employee involved is currently on administrative leave pending further notice, it added.