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City Seeks Input on Desired Skills and Expertise for Energy Future Leadership

City manager to fill vacancy either with individual or team as executive director departs

City NewsThe City of Boulder will host a listening session from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Monday, March 19, to consult with community members who wish to provide input about the skills and expertise that will be needed as the city continues to evaluate whether to run a local electric utility. The session will be held at the East Boulder Community Center, 5660 Sioux Drive.

City Manager Jane Brautigam is expected to decide soon how to structure the staff team working on this project in anticipated departure of Executive Director of Energy Strategy and Electric Utility Development, Heather Bailey. Bailey announced earlier this month that she has accepted a job with Austin Energy. Her last day is April 27.

“We are grateful for the contributions Heather has made during her time in Boulder. She led the city through some important milestones in this unprecedented process, and I am confident we have a strong team in place as we move into the next phase,” Brautigam said. “At the same time, we recognize the importance of this effort to our community and want to ensure there is a clear leadership plan moving forward. We are interested in hearing the public’s views on the skills and expertise the city will need.”

Bailey was hired in 2012 under a contract that was originally expected to span two years. That contract was extended and allowed the city to complete a feasibility analysis and undergo an application process at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Late last year, the commission ruled the city could move forward with its desire to acquire assets from Xcel Energy and run a local electric utility if it could meet certain conditions that would allow for a complete separation between city-owned and Xcel systems. The commission ordered both sides to reach a series of agreements. While some agreements have been reached, negotiations are ongoing on those related to separation costs.

The next phase of work will include communication and engagement around the possible utility, incorporating recent industry changes, new technologies and innovations to define Boulder's vision for the "utility of the future." It will also include additional engineering and technical analysis, as well as the filing of a condemnation case in state court. It is anticipated this work will result in final numbers that will allow City Council to determine whether the city can move forward with a local electric utility in a way that complies with cost, reliability and renewable energy standards in the city charter. No purchase of assets or separation construction can begin, however, without approval by voters. This vote is expected to occur in 2020.

At the March 19 listening session, staff will provide a brief overview of the types of work that needs to be completed between now and 2020, and then facilitate exercises designed to gather input about desired skills and expertise in the next leader or leaders of this initiative.

For more information about the city’s local electric utility strategy and other work designed to help the community meet its energy goals, please visit boulderenergyfuture.com.

Media Contacts:
Sarah Huntley, Community Engagement, 720-564-2111

Ben Irwin, Media Relations, 303-441-3155

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