Pueblo council hires firm to discern how to end Black Hills pact
Pueblo ending its franchise agreement with Black Hills Energy early
The feasibility study that needs to be done to determine if the city of Pueblo ending its franchise agreement with Black Hills Energy early is a viable option. It will get underway soon after City Council on Monday night cleared the way for a consulting firm to conduct it.
During its regular meeting on Monday, council voted unanimously to spend close to $122,000 to hire EES Consulting for the work. The company is based in the Pacific Northwest and was chosen for a contract to perform the study following a request-for-quotation. This is a process involving seven other consulting firms that were evaluated by the Electric Utility Commission.
The agreement will be effective immediately.
Councilman Bob Schilling had an excused absence from the meeting Monday night and did not vote.
The feasibility study that will be performed will evaluate the legal, technical and financial requirements necessary for the city to end its franchise agreement with Black Hills in 2020 or to end Black Hills pact. This is 10 years before it expires. Will Pueblo assume control of the electric utility services now provided by Black Hills.
end Black Hills pact
EES Consulting has a maximum of nine months to complete the work, according to the agreement. It’s anticipated, however, that a draft will be released in November and a final study document will be completed by January.
“I think this is an important step. It’s important we go through with this and study this fully. I think we owe that to the citizens,” Council President Chris Nicoll said before the agreement was OK’d.
Council also recently gave the green light to spending $43,000 to hire a public relations firm for the EUC that will be responsible for disseminating information to the public regarding the commission’s ongoing work.
Last year, $25,000 was allocated by City Council for expenses that the seven-member commission might incur.
Council in September decided to study what would be involved in ending its contract with Black Hills in 2020 — a decade before it is scheduled to expire. The resolution that was passed stated that Pueblo is notifying Black Hills it intends to take steps to create its own municipal utility.
The franchise agreement can be canceled only by city voters, who approved a 20-year agreement with Black Hills in 2010. What will be involved to end Black Hills pact