When the temps go down, the bills go up

Published: 12/17/2018  3:18 PM
I’m sure there are quite a few customers who are opening their bills this month and wondering why it’s higher than usual. When unexpected changes occur with your bill, one of the first things you should do is go back and look at the weather during t ...

'Tis the season...for water main breaks

Published: 12/14/2018  11:14 AM
While this may be “the hap-happiest season of all,” dealing with traffic issues can really put that phrase to the test. After all, we’ve got parties for hosting, marshmallows for roasting and much mistltoeing to do. Who’s got time for a detour?! Bu ...

Creating your own weather

Published: 12/5/2018  3:59 PM
​Some say weather affects their mood. I believe that we can create our own weather – like having a sunny attitude on a cloudy day.  In the utilities business, though, creating our own weather isn’t as possible. We can still choose great attitudes, b ...

Utilities Board seeks customer input

Published: 11/28/2018  1:47 PM
Colorado Springs is fortunate to operate its own community-owned utility. This means that our customers have a say in how their utility operates and plans to provide service in the future. Right now, our Colorado Springs Utilities Board and CEO Ara ...

Give thanks and get deals

Published: 11/21/2018  10:19 AM
​It's that time of the year where we give thanks for what we have, and then get some more!   With the discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it's the perfect time to upgrade your home with smart technology and efficient appliances. Plus, many ...

A Water Win-Win

Published: 11/15/2018  12:01 PM
​Water news from the Arkansas Valley yesterday is a win-win.  A win for farmers and a win for city-dwellers. Late Wednesday, the Fort Lyon Canal Company (FLCC) Board approved to allow a Lower Arkansas Water Management Association (LAWMA) member to ...

Creating tomorrow’s energy landscape with a new vision

Published: 11/14/2018  4:29 PM
Our world is increasingly revolving around electronics. From your Google Home to your electric vehicle and smart thermostat, the ways in which we all use energy are changing. So too are the ways in which we generate and deliver that energy to you. ...

Funding our Future | 2019 Rates & Budget Approved

Published: 11/13/2018  2:33 PM
Today Colorado Springs City Council unanimously approved our 2019 Budget and 2019 customer rates. Last summer, I was priviliged to work with a team of employees to review the 2019 budget submittal and am proud to share that the 2019 budget is nearl ...

Recognized with Platinum level HIRE Vets Medallion Award

Published: 11/13/2018  2:26 PM
There has been a strong military presence in Colorado Springs for many years, and we're proud to serve those who serve our country. Doing right by our military, though, means more than simply providing safe, reliable utility service. It also means a ...

Trick or Treat for Savings

Published: 10/31/2018  8:49 AM
Trick or treating through the neighborhood, sometimes there is one special house with a candy bowl that stands out from all the others. It’s the place with full-size candy bars. Everyone wants to be at that house with the biggest candy bars, and all ...

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2017 Highlights   

CEO Jerry Forte  by  Jerry Forte, CEO  on  1/31/2018

Colorado SpringsAs our community changes—new businesses coming to town, rapid growth of the housing market and Millennials making up a quarter of the U.S. population, just to name a few—Colorado Springs Utilities is changing right along with it.

We are changing the way we do business as new leaders come forward, bringing fresh perspectives and innovative ideas with them. And we’re changing how we plan our energy needs by relying more on solar power and clean-burning natural gas.

As we look ahead, let’s take a moment to stop and reflect on all we accomplished over the past year. A few noteworthy highlights of 2017 include:

  • In collaboration with the Municipal Government and their 2C paving initiative, 67 water main replacement projects were completed, including 15 projects that were originally slated for 2018.
  • The Integrated Water Resource Plan was completed and approved by the Board. The IWRP is a long-term strategy to provide a reliable, cost effective water supply for our community.
  • Received Board approval to move forward with contract negotiations to acquire 100 MW of renewable energy, a significant step toward our renewable energy goals.
  • The Manitou Hydroelectric Plant was inducted into the Hydro Hall of Fame at the 2017 HydroVision International conference.
  • In March we launched a new customer engagement program called Change the Current. We shot a documentary series with business owners and city leaders and developed an interactive website, changethecurrent.com, where customers can be inspired by other and pledge to make utility-related changes. We achieved the campaign's first year pledge goal six weeks early.
  • The Gary M. Bostrom Reservoir was named in honor of our former Water Services Officer who passed away unexpectedly in August.
  • The Drake decommissioning and planning process was completed for Utilities Board consideration. Updates included community input, scenario costs, rate impacts, transmission projects, Drake site information, risks and uncertainty, and recommendations.
  • We continue to update over 145 years of the history and legacy of Colorado Springs Utilities. The evolution of our community-owned utility is intertwined and a foundational part of the story of the City of Colorado Springs. Upon completion, the information will be available to the community, the Pioneers Museum, elected officials and City leaders. It will also be used in orientation for new Board members and employees and will serve as a permanent record of important operational milestones.
  • About 10 miles of water pipe were replaced and 50 water main replacement projects were completed.
  • Our Customer Services department added a new chat feature to our website. Now, when customers log into My Account, they have another way to interact with our staff, making it easier than ever for them to have their utility-related questions answered in a timely manner. 
  • Substantially completed phase one of the Southern Delivery System and continued to acquire property for phase two.
  • Established the Utilities Board Program Management Review Committee, in support of the Utilities Board’s responsibility of oversight and accountability. The committees purpose is to review major program performance and compliance with Utilities Board policies. 
  • In just two years, our corrosion protection and condition assessment programs have saved customers more than $90 million by extending the life of existing steel or ductile iron water main pipes.  
  • We began construction on the Manitou 30-inch raw water pipeline, which supports the Mesa Water Treatment Plant upgrades.
  • In May we commenced the first-ever water festival at the Centennial Campus of Pikes Peak Community College. This hands-on learning experience was years in the making and was a great collaborative effort between us and the Municipal Government.
  • Received Utilities Board approval of Five-year Service Business Plans for 2018-2022.
    We completed full implementation of our approved Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) and Reasonable Progress plans.
  • We communicated to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment demonstration of early compliance with the final Regional Haze requirements for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emission controls at both the Drake and Nixon facilities.
  • We partnered and participated with the Municipal Government to begin the process of establishing a SmartCOS Framework. I represent Springs Utilities on the Executive Steering Committee and the Office of Economic Development, Advanced Technology, IT and Cybersecurity participate on the COS Smart City Team and Energy & Utilities Pillar Team. Work will continue through 2018 on the SmartCOS Framework, but much has been accomplished in 2017.
  • We hosted our inaugural Energy Tour providing community and business leaders an opportunity to learn about our electric and natural gas systems.
  • We worked closely with SAP America Inc. to support the building of two data centers in Colorado Springs. SAP has stated one of the reasons they chose to locate here was our efficient power source.
  • The Friends of the Mesa Road Garden donated three cone-flower sculptures to the Conservation and Environmental Center to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden.
  • We worked with the Springs Rescue Mission to work through utility line relocations, meter transfers and affordable-housing applications as they completed the first phase of a two-part homeless campus expansion.
  • We partnered with the airport to land several new projects with substantial utility requirements, including the airtanker base operation, Cutter Aviation’s fixed base operation executive terminal facility and a new hangar with construction currently underway.
  • We completed the long-range (20 year) infrastructure plan, which considers the annual impact to the typical customer bill, maintains strong financial metrics and sequences the construction of projects to the extent operationally and financially practical.

In addition to accomplishing these great milestones, our hardworking staff also earned numerous awards in 2017. Here are some of the biggest honors from last year:

  • Smart Energy Best Practices AwardReceived the Engineering News-Record (ENR) 2016 Project of the Year Award in the Water/Environment category for the Mountain States Region for the Southern Delivery System (SDS) project.
  • The Emergency Management and Continuity (EMC) Department was selected as recipient of the “2017 Team of the Year” Excellence Award by the Disaster Recovery Institute.
  • Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado recognized us for their partnership on porcelain recycling with their 2016 Community Partner Award.
  • Our Change the Current campaign received multiple awards:
       o 2017 E Source Utility Ad Awards—1st Place: Best Social Media ad and Broadcast Radio ad
       o  Art Directors Club of Denver One Club Show—1st Place: Direct Marketing/Advertising  
          category, ‘Documentary-style videos’
       o  Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative—Best Practice Award for Consumer Engagement
       o  American Public Power Association Awards of Excellence: Web/Social Media and Video; Award of Merit: Print/Digital
  • Won The Green Transportation Summit and Expo’s first-ever Sustainable Fleet Award for “Leading by Example.”
  • Care and Share recognized Colorado Springs Utilities’ volunteers for their many hours of service to the organization with the 2017 Volunteer Organization of the Year award.
  • Received an American Public Power Association Community Service Award. This award recognizes “good neighbor” activities that demonstrate the commitment of the utility and its employees to the community.
  • Recognized as a LEADER (Leaders of Excellence in Apprenticeship, Development, Education, and Research) by the Department of Labor, distinguishing us as having one of the highest-quality programs in the nation.
  • Our award-winning Leader Connections program continues to earn recognition and was honored this year from LEAD2017 with recognition for three separate awards:
       o  LEAD2017 Best Executive Coaching Program (Top 15)
       o  LEAD2017 Best First Time Manager Program (Top 20)
       o  LEAD2017 Innovation in Deployment of Leadership Programs (Top 35)

Philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” The exciting changes happening around our community right now are propelling us forward, so we can continue to provide our customers with some of the most reliable utility services in the nation.

Thank you to all our dedicated staff members for all you do for our customers on a daily basis and for everything you do to make our community a better place to live, work and play.

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