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One of the Charter requirements included when voters passed 2B/2C in 2011 pdf is that the city must provide reliable electric power. The city therefore thoroughly researched system reliability before deciding to move ahead with municipalization.


Given the importance of this issue, an analysis and working group was formed to address questions about reliability. Specialized engineers were hired to evaluate the system and its condition, provide recommendations on needed improvements, identify regulatory reliability requirements, and recommend best practices to ensure reliable electrical service.

Staff, consultants, and the Reliability Working Group have developed a plan that would allow a city-owned electric utility to provide better reliability than currently provided by Xcel, as well as meet regulatory requirements.

What is reliability?

Reliability is a term used to describe the level of uninterrupted service an electric power utility provides. Reliability depends on a combination of the quality of the physical infrastructure and the ability of the utility to control the system and respond to failures. Certain elements of reliability are governed by federal and regional regulations.

How did the city study reliability?

The analysis of reliability was performed in terms of formulating the plan for separating from the Xcel system, start-up of the utility, and the capital replacement schedule and energy resource plans. In addition, the human, organizational and financial resources that would be needed for ongoing administration, operation, maintenance, monitoring, control, dispatch, project management, customer service and response procedures have been addressed in the modeling of municipal utility options with the intent of insuring reliable electrical service if a municipal electric utility is created.

An interconnection plan was developed based on analysis of the technically optimal places of separation of ownership of interconnected electric facilities to: maintain reliability for Boulder and Xcel customers, serve properties within the City, avoid duplication of facilities, minimize operational and maintenance conflicts, establish boundaries along property lines, and define where the city will acquire facilities.

Additional Resources:

Feb. 26, 2013 - City Council Study Session: Boulder's Energy Future Municipalization Exploration

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