The City and Black Hills Energy are working to wind down the previous franchise.
On November 3, 2020, the citizens of Cañon City voted against continuing the City’s Electric Franchise with Black Hills Energy. A utility franchise governs the utility provider’s use of the right-of-way, for example, how they repair street cuts and moving utility lines when they are in the way. A utility franchise does not determine who the utility provider is. Utility territories are determined by the Public Utilities Commission.
Losing the franchise represents about a $500,000 loss to the City’s yearly budget. Franchise fee dollars go to programs to replace sidewalks, improve alleys, and other projects that involve the right-of-way. Without this fee, the City will now be unable to invest in as many of these programs or projects as in previous years.
The City and Black Hills Energy are working to wind down the previous franchise. As of January 13, 2021, the City informed Black Hills to stop collecting the franchise fee. Black Hills has responded and will stop collecting the fee beginning in February 2021. Black Hills Energy will continue to provide service to Cañon City. City teams and Black Hills Energy operations are working out several other items that are governed by the franchise including right-of-way permitting, pole sharing agreements, street lights, and more.