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CORE Electric Taking Xcel Energy To Court Over Power Plant's Operation

DENVER (CBS4) -- CORE Electric Cooperative filed a lawsuit last week against Xcel Energy for what it claims is a breach of contractual obligation related to the operation and maintenance of the Comanche 3 coal plant in Pueblo, Colorado.

The lawsuit was filed Sept. 7, according to a press release from CORE Electric.

Xcel's operation of the Comanche plant "deprived CORE of its expected energy output and damaged the physical asset co-owned by CORE," the company stated in the press release. "Unfortunately, we could not reach a business solution after exhausting all reasonable efforts with Xcel, so this lawsuit was a necessary step."

The lawsuit comes eight days after the company formerly known as Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) announced its rebranding as CORE Electric. The company claims to be one of the largest member-owned electric distribution cooperatives in the U.S.

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A section of recently completed transmission line near the intersection of Quincy Avenue and Gun Club Road in Aurora. (credit: CBS4)

Specifically, the complaint cites the plant's poor reliability since 2010. Most recently, the complaint states, Comanche 3 suffered a year-long shutdown (Jan. 2020-Jan. 2021) due to a damaged steam turbine. The complaint blames an employee for causing the damage and management for what it referred to as "years of neglect."

CORE Electric incurred millions of dollars in expenses due to Comanche's lack of output, including the purchase of replacement power during those outages, the suit claims.

The suit also seeks compensation for anticipated expenses resulting from Xcel plan to retire the Comanche plant early, in 2040.


An Xcel Energy spokesperson told CBS4 its attorneys are preparing their case.

"We are still reviewing the documents," Xcel's Michelle Aguayo wrote in an email, "and generally don't comment on pending lawsuits. That said, Xcel Energy remains committed to ensuring the safe, reliable operation of the plant through its proposed early retirement in 2040. Comanche 3 is one of the lowest cost generating plants on our system and has proven valuable to the system over its life."



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