City Water Light and Power (CWLP)

Three smoke stacks from Springfield's City Water, Light and Power sit on the lake.
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Springfield’s City Water, Light and Power will retire its two oldest coal units by the end of the year and a third by October, 2023.

Nine months after a city-hired consultant called for the three units to be shuttered as soon as possible, the Springfield City Council last night approved the timeline for the closures. City officials said a plan for around 60 affected plant workers is the next step.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

Support is building in the Springfield City Council for retiring three of the city’s coal power generators. That came as Springfield residents shared their opinions at a public forum Wednesday night about the potential closure of Dallman 33 – one of three coal generators slated for retirement.

After a presentation from City Water, Light and Power, the debate turned to timing and questions about the fate of around 60 employees that could be affected by the closures.

NPR Illinois

Springfield may have to wait for a decision on the fate of its coal generators. The city council decided Tuesday to delay a final vote by two weeks.

Instead of debating whether and when to retire three of its four generators, some city officials argued they don’t have enough information to make such an important decision.

Three smoke stacks from Springfield's City Water, Light and Power sit on the lake.
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Springfield utility officials presented their budget to aldermen Thursday. Utility leaders said the spending plan would change little if the city decides to shutter much of its coal plant.

Courtesy of John Schafer

Springfield city council members, utility officials, and clean-energy advocates reached an agreement on new rules for rooftop solar panels on Tuesday.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Months after a report advising the City of Springfield to shutter three of its four coal-fired generators, utility officials urged city leaders to make a decision about the future of the plant by January.

Three smoke stacks from Springfield's City Water, Light and Power sit on the lake.
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

The city of Springfield is hiring a consultant to help with a plan to shut down part of its coal plant. This comes months after a report found three of the four generators are no longer economically viable.

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois

On the roof of the Kerasotes building in downtown Springfield, at the corner of Sixth and Washington streets, Michelle Knox shows off a 9.9-kilowatt array of solar panels.

“This system offsets about 25% of the building’s consumption,” she said.

Those savings make the monthly City Water, Light and Power bill lower than it would be without solar panels. And thanks to a system called “net metering,” CWLP gives the building owners a credit when the panels produce extra electricity, which goes back to the city grid.

Three smoke stacks from Springfield's City Water, Light and Power sit on the lake.
Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Michael Cassidy makes eight or ten trips a day driving a semi truck between the coal mine in Williamsville and the power plant on Lake Springfield. He travels the 16 miles mostly on Interstate 55 with around two dozen tons of coal.

“Just back and forth all day,” he said while taking a break at a gas station off the interstate. “It’s a little boring yes.”

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Most of the electricity used in Springfield comes from the coal-fired power plant on Lake Springfield. The city's public utility, City Water, Light and Power, is considering a recommendation to shut down a large part of that plant and move to wind or solar.

Some CWLP workers are worried about their jobs in light of the study. Meanwhile, environmentalists who support the move away from fossil fuels have said the city can limit the impact on workers with retraining and other job opportunities.

WIkipedia commons/taken by W. Wadas

NPR Illinois talks with State Journal-Register City Reporter Crystal Thomas about the week in Springfield news:

*Aldermen are set to vote this week on an agreement with a bike-sharing company to get 75 bikes for rent available around the city.

*The proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts March 1 doesn’t have tax hikes like last year’s spending plan. It does include funding for more police and fire vehicles.

small cell technology
handout / AT&T

AT&T and other mobile phone providers are pushing legislation they say will ease congestion on their networks. But some towns and cities across Illinois are worried it’s really a power grab.

CWLP

Sean Crawford talked with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

JEFF SHARP / FLICKR

Producing electricity at Springfield’s coal-fired power plant instead of buying it on the wholesale market cost customers $261 million over the last nine years, according to an analysis commissioned by the local chapter of the Sierra Club.

Bill Mathews / City Water, Light and Power

A  dozen linemen from Springfield’s City Water, Light and Power repaired electricity lines Thursday in the hurricane-damaged town of Lake Worth, Florida, about 60 miles north of Miami.

The crews arrived Tuesday to assist in restoring power to tens of thousands of residents after Hurricane Irma swept through the city.

“We kind of have to help each other out because you can’t staff enough workers for a storm like this,” said Bill Mathews, a CWLP supervisor. “Maybe we have an ice storm some time and they come up here and give us a hand.”

CWLP

Sean Crawford talks with Tim Landis, Business Editor for the State Journal-Register.

Credit flickr/pasa47

NPR Illinois' Sean Crawford talks with Tim Landis, Business Editor for the State Journal-Register:

Is Coal Ash Causing Problems In Springfield?

Jun 25, 2015
Overhead view of CWLP and the Dallman Station.
Google Maps

Local conservationists have long been concerned with various issues surrounding the utility City, Water, Light, And Power and the effect it has on Lake Springfield and the environment. Illinois is one of the most coal-producing states, but even the Springfield mayor is pushing for changes.

springfield.il.us

A Springfield alderman wants to make sure that other insurance companies get the chance to cover CWLP properties for the city.

At the last city council meeting, aldermen approved a 3 year contract with R.W. Troxell to insure the city owned utility.  The cost is around $1.8 million per year.

Under city code, however, anything with a cost over 25 thousand dollars must be competitively bid.
Ward 7's Joe McMenamin says the Mayor's administration got around that caveat by claiming insurance is a service, rather than a purchase.

City of Springfield

Springfield Mayor Mike Houston is defending the city’s decision to renew a contract for CWLP insurance, despite criticisms over the lack of a bidding process.

The 3 year contract with R.W. Troxell to insure the city owned utility will cost around $1.8 million per year.  Mayor Houston, during an interview on WUIS’ Illinois Edition, said the local firm has been doing business with the city for 30 years with a solid track record.

springfield.il.us

One Springfield Alderman called the two zoning changes approved for halfway homes in Springfield during last night's council meeting as "picking and choosing."

Zoning classifications for halfway houses were called into question last fall when a man living in one, known as House of the Rainbow, was arrested for murder.  After that, the council refused to go along with zoning for that operation.   

Yet last night, changes were allowed for properties on East Jackson and South 11th.  

cwlp

A majority of Springfield aldermen last night expressed doubt about an ordinance that would commit to building the second water source known as Hunter Lake. Council members voted down the plan.  
The city has long been concerned about finding a way to supplement Lake Springfield.   Recent droughts have added to the urgency.   

CWLP Director Eric Hobbie says regardless of the council’s vote, the city has to pursue a water supply alternative.

Several Springfield aldermen want to ramp up efforts for building Hunter Lake.  

The proposed second water source for the city has been on the drawing board for decades, but the state EPA and Army Corps of Engineers must sign off on the project.  

CWLP

Springfield and Chatham hope to approval a final settlement in the coming month regarding a water contract dispute between the two communities.

This will put an end to a lawsuit over Chatham's decision to break its water contract with CWLP.

Under the deal, Chatham will pay Springfield a half million dollars in damages and it will pay the city $200,000 for a long term lease of ground where Chatham has a pump station.

In addition, Chatham will allow Springfield to transport water through Chatham's water system to Loami.

Village of Chatham

Chatham's mayor stands behind the village's choice to stop buying water from Springfield's public utility.

Along with New Berlin, Chatham is a customer of the South Sangamon Water Commission, established so the villages could avoid rate hikes from City, Water, Light and Power.