Author: Bob Farson
“I would like to comment on Dave Mynatt’s editorial (Aug. 28 about revisiting a nuclear power plant).
I agree with Mr. Mynatt that it is time to seriously look at how the city of Pueblo can own its own power plant. I respectfully disagree about nuclear.
The biggest negative for nuclear is water. Most tower-type nuclear power plants that generate electric power are on rivers or lakes. They require as much as 33 million gallons of water per day, not counting a 25 percent evaporation rate in summer heat.
In the event of an accident, there has to be access to a lot more water for cooling.
It is my understanding that when a nuclear plant is built, the NRC becomes the authority over all water use in that area; we no longer would have a say about our water resources. The last time this issue was presented, the amount of water needed and required killed the idea.
Steve Andrews wrote an editorial about the inner workings of a utility like Black Hills. He has done consulting work with several utilities. Back east, I worked for a very large utility in management, handling such accounts as picker x-ray and progressive insurance.
I left for many of the reasons Mr. Andrews stated about Black Hills’ business practices. They overstate their costs and request more new equipment than they need and ratepayers pay for it.
An example here is the third turbine requested that would cost our community $70 million and only be run a few days a year for peak periods. I guarantee you that turbine will be run regularly to produce power they can sell elsewhere. We pay the cost; they reap the profits.
The three-turbine gas power plant (approximately $650 million) adds to Black Hills value and gives them larger tax write-offs. We buy the equipment, raise their company’s value, give them more tax deductions and pay for a third turbine that will generate large profits. We pay for it and the power is sold elsewhere, to Black Hills shareholders’ benefit.
If our community would buy the new three-turbine gas plant, hire a contract company to run it, our community could get the tax write-offs, run the third turbine to generate profits to cover costs, which would help control our ridiculous rate hikes in the future.
Black Hills is not a good community steward. It is time to look at our options. Black Hills rates are killing our community. Bob Farson Pueblo”