City Offers Statement on Public Utilities Commission Written Ruling; Outlines Next Steps in Ongoing Analysis Process
Today, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued its written ruling on the city’s separation application. The City of Boulder is releasing the following statement with regards to the ruling:
“As the city anticipated, today’s written decision creates a path forward for the city to proceed with municipalization. We recognize the unprecedented nature of these proceedings. Boulder is appreciative of the effort that has gone into developing an approach that addresses a variety of competing and important interests for both the Boulder community and Xcel Energy’s customers.
The city will conduct a thorough analysis of the financial and timing implications of the ruling over the next few weeks; however, in its initial evaluation, it does not appear that the order significantly alters either the timeline or the overall cost of municipalization. This is a positive outcome for the city.
Other positive outcomes include the following:
- The order states that once the city has provided the Commission with certain information the city may proceed to acquire the assets located outside substations.
- The order included direction to Xcel Energy and the city to work together over the next 90 days to finalize certain agreements. The Commission directed the city to provide an updated list of assets to be transferred and details on how Boulder would provide easements to Xcel Energy for facilities in the city that would serve out-of-city customers. This work has already begun. The city looks forward to collaborating with Xcel Energy.
- The order returns the responsibility for developing financing operations and overseeing the construction of proposed separation work to the city.
The order also presents the city with challenges that will need to be worked through. The Commission decided that it would be premature to approve the city’s initial proposals related to substations. Instead, it ruled that the city and Xcel Energy must work out agreements to co-locate, build new substations, or resolve the issue through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission-regulated Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) process. The city has already initiated talks with Xcel Energy to reach an agreement on substations. The city anticipates filing an application with Xcel Energy to receive transmission service.
Throughout this process, Boulder has refined its application to address issues raised by the PUC, Xcel Energy, and other parties in the proceeding. Today’s ruling outlines more clearly than ever that the city and Xcel must work together to address remaining issues. Boulder welcomes this guidance.”
In addition to describing what is in the order, the city is releasing information about its next steps. Concurrent with voter consideration of November 2017 ballot measures related to the project, staff will be moving ahead with the following work plan items:
- Finalizing agreements with Xcel Energy;
- Preparing to acquire the assets on the list approved by the PUC;
- Developing detailed engineering related to the separation plan and obtaining construction bids; and
- Returning to council and the community for go/no-go decision in the third quarter 2019.
The city is committed to providing updated information on cost and timeline implications as the analysis continues.
For more information about the city’s efforts to create a local electric utility to meet community Energy Future goals, please visit: BoulderEnergyFuture.com.
Published Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017
Sarah Huntley, Media Relations, 303-441-3155