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Springfield Voters Approve Power Plant Proposal


City Utilities' plan to build a new coal-fired power plant gained voter approval Tuesday with 59 percent of ballots cast in favor of the proposal. The plan calls for the utility to pay for building the plant by issuing 615 million dollars in bonds, something that will raise customers' rates by 16 percent, beginning in 2010. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Matt Morrow made that announcement last night at a watch party for power plant supporters that was held at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

Morrow is head of the Homebuilders Association of Greater Springfield.

He and his group spearheaded the Vote Yes campaign for the power plant.

Also at the watch party was C-U General Manager John Twitty.

Springfield voters rejected a similar power plant proposal in August, 2004.

After that, the city convened the Power Supply Community Task Force, which investigated a wide range of energy supply options. The group ultimately recommended that C-U build a coal-fired plant and adopt an aggressive energy conservation program.

Twitty says the task force and several other factors likely convinced voters to support the plant this time.

Opponents of the power plant credit the Vote Yes committee with swaying voters.

They say their grassroots organization Citizens for Clean Energy was simply outspent.

Lance Wright is a member of the group.

Wright says opponents of the coal plant will now focus on holding C-U accountable for following through on plans to implement an aggressive conservation program.

C-U officials say they plan to focus attention on conservation.

General Manager John Twitty.

Twitty says the next step for the coal plant will be approving a design and taking bids for the construction project.

He says the bulk of the construction will get underway in 2007 and the plant is slated to open in October, 2010 and that's when ratepayers will see an increase on their bills to fund the new plant.