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March 31, 2017 - City Releases Information About Municipalization Settlement Proposals by Xcel Energy, Announces Special City Council Meetings

Friday, March 31, 2017
Media Contacts:
Sarah Huntley, Media Relations, 303-441-3155

City releases information about municipalization settlement proposals by Xcel Energy, announces special City Council meetings

The City of Boulder, in a study session memo pdf sent to City Council this afternoon, is releasing information about two proposals offered by Xcel Energy that could end litigation related to the city’s ongoing effort to create a municipal electric utility.

The City of Boulder and Xcel Energy began initial settlement discussions in January 2016. These were announced publicly last June. Over the past 15 months, each party negotiated in good faith with the hope of arriving at a settlement could address the city’s goals.

Earlier this month, representatives from Xcel Energy indicated that they were prepared to make a best and final offer.   

Boulder City Council has not decided whether to accept or reject the proposals; however, the city appreciates the effort that both parties made to bring the discussion to this point. According to the city’s Charter, a decision about how to respond to Xcel’s proposals can only be made during a public session. In recognition of this and in keeping with the city’s commitment to transparency, council has scheduled two special meetings on this matter.

The meetings will be held on:

Wednesday, April 5
6 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1777 Broadway
This will be a study session at which staff will make a presentation and council members can ask questions about Xcel’s proposals and share their initial thoughts publicly. Because this will be a study session, there will be no public comment or vote at this meeting.

Monday, April 17
6 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1777 Broadway
Public Hearing
Public testimony will be accepted at this meeting, pursuant to existing public hearing rules. Council may make a decision on this night, but reserves the right to delay taking a vote until its already scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 18.

Broadly, Xcel has put forward two proposals: 1) a new partnership between the city and Xcel.  This partnership would create a city and Xcel Energy working board that would strive to reach Boulder’s goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030. The partnership would require a franchise but the city could terminate if it is unhappy with the partnership after five years; and 2) an option for the city to buy Xcel’s system outright at a price and under conditions ultimately set by Xcel Energy. More details about the proposals are available in the council memo. The memo pdf also includes a preliminary discussion about the potential costs associated with the buy-out option and conditions that would have to exist for the city to be successful in reaching its climate goals under a partnership.

 

The question before council at these meetings is a limited one: Should council inform the Public Utilities Commission that it wishes to pause current municipalization proceedings so that council can put one or both of Xcel’s proposals on the November ballot?

Boulder has been exploring the creation of a municipal electric utility since 2010 as a path to reaching the community’s energy and climate goals. Currently, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is reviewing the city’s Transfer of Assets application. The eight-day PUC hearing on the city’s application is scheduled to begin on April 26.

Both City Council meetings will be available to watch live as a stream on www.BoulderChannel8.com and on Comcast HD Channel 880. Individuals who wish to provide comment about this issue are also invited to email council in advance of the meetings at council@bouldercolorado.gov. All nine members receive these emails, which are considered as carefully as in-person testimony received during public hearings.

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