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Austin firm to rewrite Renewable Denton Plan

Denton City Manager Todd Hileman announced he has hired Enterprise Risk Consulting to evaluate where and how Denton Municipal Electric plans to buy, sell and make electricity for the next 20 years. 

Based in Austin, the boutique consulting firm is expected to create a new action plan for Denton as the city shifts away from coal-fired power to getting more electricity from wind and solar farms. 

In late 2015, DME unveiled its Renewable Denton Plan to almost immediate controversy. The plan pivoted on a $265 million investment in a new, natural gas-fired power plant even as the city-owned utility signed more renewable energy deals. 

The re-write of the Renewable Denton Plan follows considerable scrutiny of DME, including an investigation into contracting irregularities, the firing of two high-level employees and the retirement of two others, including the general manager. 

The consultant's report, due in October, is expected to identify ways the city can meet its needs by managing both supply and demand for electricity. The plan will also identify clear steps to secure 70-100 percent of Denton's electricity from renewable energy by 2019. 

In addition, a Dallas judge has scheduled the first hearing of a lawsuit filed by the two DME employees who were fired. Dallas District Judge Martin Hoffman of 68th District Court scheduled a change of venue hearing on Oct. 2. The city has asked to move the case to a Denton district court. 

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881.