Utilities board ends sales study contract

Colorado Springs Utilities board members decided yesterday to nix a contract to study selling or leasing its electric power generation.

The board unanimously decided not to move forward with a $500,000 study, suggested in 2012 by Mayor Steve Bach in a letter to the board.

Board chairman Keith King signaled the direction the board was headed when he said in an opening statement that the new board members – City Council in a different role – were elected largely because they supported retaining the municipally owned utilities.

The Utilities Policy Advisory Commission was supposed to study the impacts of a sale or lease of the Utilities’ electric assets, free from any stakeholder interest or political agenda.

The budget included $500,000 for a comprehensive study, and also provided $185,700 for NewGen Strategies, a consulting firm, to provide assistance.

Halting the study now didn’t cost Utilities any money, said Dave Grossman, spokesman for CSU.

“I think they spent $100 to set up an independent website to inform the public about the study,” he said. “But they won’t be going forward now.”

King also said he looked forward to working with Utilities CEO Jerry Forte to create a positive leadership environment for the municipal Utility.