SOURCE: Colorado Springs Utilities

Colorado Springs Utilities

December 30, 2009 16:29 ET

200 Continuous Days in 2009 for All Four Coal Units

Historic Feat Avoids More Than $12 Million in Costs for Springs Utilities Customers

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO--(Marketwire - December 30, 2009) - Power generating units operate under extreme temperatures and pressures. Despite these harsh conditions, generating units 5, 6 and 7 at the Martin Drake Power Plant and unit 1 at the Ray Nixon Power Plant all ran continuously for 200 days or more in 2009. The accomplishment resulted in more than $12 million in avoided costs. This is the first time since records have been tracked that all four Springs Utilities' coal units have met or exceeded 200 days of continuous service in a single year.

On average, power units in the United States are shut down for maintenance or repair every 50 to 75 days. By keeping four generating units on line for more than 200 consecutive days:

--  Labor and operations and maintenance costs are reduced by not working
    overtime to restore unplanned outages.
--  Incremental costs of purchased power are avoided.
--  More low-cost energy is available to customers, as are additional
    sales to regional utilities to offset expenses.
--  Lifecycle overhaul cost are reduced.
--  Plant efficiency is increased.

"These types of continuous runs do not happen by accident," said Tom Black, chief energy services officer. "We carefully plan and maintain our units to create results like this. It takes highly experienced employees, and a comprehensive operation and maintenance program to reach this level of performance."

The units at the Drake plant were built between 1962 and 1974 and have a combined capacity of 254 megawatts. The Nixon unit began service in 1980 and has 208 megawatts of capacity.

Colorado Springs Utilities provides electric service to more than 200,000 homes and businesses in the Pikes Peak region. The municipally-owned utility also supplies natural gas, water and wastewater services.

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