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Boulder City Council Votes to Place Franchise Agreement With Xcel Energy on the Ballot

decorative news image Boulder voters will now decide future of city’s municipalization effort

BOULDER, Colo. — In Thursday’s special council meeting, Boulder City Council approved a settlement package with Xcel Energy, paving the way to send the measure to city voters to determine the community’s energy future in the November election. The ballot measure is subject to a final procedural vote by city council on Sept. 1 before being sent to city voters.

If approved by voters, the city would pause its ongoing efforts to create a municipal electric utility and enter a new 20-year franchise with Colorado’s largest investor-owned utility, Xcel Energy. The settlement package includes several other important provisions, including opportunities for the city to exit the franchise agreement under certain conditions; clear emissions benchmarks; and a framework for innovative projects the city, Xcel Energy and the community could implement together.

“For over 10 years, Boulder voters have shown that they expect a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors, starting first and foremost with the electricity sector,” said Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver. “The municipalization effort has been a key movement in demonstrating our determination to break new ground in modern community power. Over these years, many things have changed, including improvements in Xcel’s focus on clean energy, and a new-found willingness to include Boulder in the planning of a more modern and resilient local grid. Our voters will direct us towards the next chapter of our climate commitment, and if they choose to work with Xcel, we will dedicate ourselves to a collaborative path to reaching 100% renewable electricity by 2030.”

“When you combine our commitment to carbon-free electricity, delivering new energy options and keeping customers’ bills low with the goals and interests of Boulder customers, the future potential for success is exciting. We are pleased that Boulder voters will now have the chance to vote on this partnership,” said Alice Jackson, president, Xcel Energy—Colorado. “Both the City of Boulder and Xcel Energy have ambitious energy goals and we believe we can do more together to achieve our clean energy future. We appreciate having the opportunity to continue to serve Boulder.”

The settlement process attracted significant community feedback since negotiations were announced in May. At the council meeting, more than 70 community members offered public comment, and expressed views on both sides of the issue. A recording of the meeting is available on YouTube.

If passed in the final procedural vote by city council on Sept. 1, Boulder voters will see two items related to this topic on ballots in November:  A measure authorizing the city to enter into a new franchise with Xcel Energy, and a measure to fund partnership projects and programs through a re-purposing of the existing Utility Occupation Tax that currently funds the city’s municipalization efforts. In addition to re-purposing the existing tax, the measure would propose that the tax, which currently expires at the end of 2022, be extended through 2025.

Boulder residents will have the opportunity to vote on these and other ballot issues in the Nov. 3 general election. For information about the election, including how to register to vote, visit the County Clerk’s office website.

About Local Power

Boulder’s Energy Future goals were established to build an energy future that is clean, local, reliable, secure and provides value back to the community.

Boulder’s efforts have begun to chart a path for 21 st -century municipalization. Since the project began in 2010, the city has cleared several significant milestones, including gaining regulatory approval of the city’s separation plan, developing detailed engineering plans that will safely separate Boulder’s electric system from Xcel’s, creating robust financial analysis tools that demonstrate the financial viability of a local electric utility and receiving bids from power providers that demonstrate the potential to access high levels of renewables for lower costs. Throughout this process, Boulder has engaged its active and knowledgeable community to help shape its efforts towards an energy future that is clean, affordable, equitable, reliable and resilient.

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy has a successful track record of reducing carbon emissions, keeping bills low and expanding clean energy sources in Colorado while also helping customers reduce their own energy use to support a cleaner environment. In Colorado today, 30 percent of the company’s energy comes from renewable sources.  The transformative Colorado Energy Plan will increase that renewable percentage to fifty-five by 2026 and deliver a 60 percent carbon reduction.

Through collaboration with the State of Colorado during the 2019 Legislative session, the trajectory to achieve the 2030 target of 80 percent carbon reduction is well underway.  The Company will bring forward plans to achieve this carbon reduction goal in the Spring of 2021.

Media Contacts

Emily Sandoval, City of Boulder, 970-210-1225

Michelle Aguayo, Xcel Energy, 303-294-2300

Posted Aug. 21, 2020