Governance Working Group
Energy Future - Work Plan - Governance
A Governance Working Group was created to work with city staff to understand the flexibility and limitations of the Boulder City Charter electric utility advisory board language, specifically Article XIII “Light and Power Utility,” and to develop a recommendation for City Council on any necessary ordinance amendments or other suggestions about how the utility should be governed. It was deemed important to convene this group for a variety of reasons, most notably to ensure the appropriate level of customer participation in the governance structure, including those who might be within the service territory but outside the city’s boundaries.
The authority approved by the voters related to the governance of an electric utility is contained in Article XIII “Light and Power Utility” of the Boulder City Charter, specifically Sections 185-187 (Creation/Organization/Functions of the board).The charter states that the governing body of the utility will be the City Council. The council is authorized to delegate any responsibility that it may have to either the electric utility board or the city manager. The Council is directed to create and appoint a nine member electric utilities board, at least a majority of which must be registered electors within the city. At least three board members are required to be owners or employees of a business or governmental entity that is a customer of the electric utility. This is intended to provide a broad representation among the customer classes of the utility.
The utility board is to advise the City Council on policy matters pertaining to the municipal electric and utility systems. It is to act as a sounding board to the City Council, city manager, and the electric utility director for the purpose of identifying the ratepayers' service delivery expectations. The board would review and make recommendations on the city manager’s proposed budget and appropriation as it relates to the utility and the issuance of revenue bonds or other obligations payable from revenues of the electric utilities enterprise. The board would also perform the responsibilities delegated to it by the City Council.
The working group was asked to develop guiding principles that the city could use to draft detailed governance and management plan, utility governance policies, or ordinances relating to the governance of an electric utility. Those principles addressed:
- The composition of the electric utilities board and the qualification necessary to serve on the board, and;
- Roles or responsibilities given to the council by the charter that may be delegated to the utilities board or the utilities department.
The group met four times from May to June 2013.
The Governance Working Group made the following recommendations:
1. Advisory board role in rates and rate structure: The Working Group recommends that the utility advisory board be given the specific role for advising council on electric rates (e.g. rate structure and parameters).
2. Advisory board composition related to county residents: The Working Group recommends that at least one seat on the utility advisory board be filled by a non-city resident within the service territory known for his or her ability, probity, public service, and particular fitness to serve on the electric utility board.
3. Advisory board composition related to customer classification: The Working Group recommends that an ordinance be adopted that ensures some representation of each of the major customer classifications (large and small businesses as well as residential).
4. Advisory board composition related to skills: The Working Group recommends that council institutionalize a requirement to make best efforts to recruit Board members that collectively have specific skills that are appropriate to deal with the complex types of issues that will come before the board. Some of these skills include engineering, finance and economics, legal, energy strategies to achieve GHG reductions, and utility operations.
For more detailed description on the Governance Working Group recommendations, please read the memo released July 15, 2013.
David Cohen – E7 Ventures Manohar Croke – Points of Light LLC
Angelique Espinoza – Boulder Chamber
Karl Gerken – Ball Aerospace & Technologies
Virginia Holtzman-Bell – Boulder Laboratories
Michelle Krezek – Boulder County Commissioner’s Deputy
Ken Leiden – Resident of Dakota Ridge
Barney Moran – Resident of Palo Park<
Mike Parenteau – Corden Pharma Colorado
Steve Pomerance – Former Boulder City Council member
Susan Riederer – Boulder Resident and retired educator
Nolan Rosall – Downtown Boulder Inc.
Coby Royer – Resident of Martin Acres
John Terela – IBM Corporation
Steven Wallace – Best Western Plus Boulder Inn
Louise Vale – CU Boulder
City of Boulder Staff
Carl Castillo – City Policy Advisor
Bob Harberg – Principal Engineer
Andrew Barth – Communications Specialist
David Gehr – Deputy City Attorney
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Boulder, CO 80302