Community Engagement

Boulder, Xcel Energy enter settlement discussions on municipalization

The City of Boulder, Colo., and investor-owned Xcel Energy have initiated discussions that could lead to different options for the city to pursue other than a city-run, community owned electric utility in order to reach its energy-related goals.

“The city is committed to transparency and will conduct a full public process to evaluate any potential settlement,” the City of Boulder said in a news release, adding that any franchise agreement would be subject to voter approval.

Boulder began its municipalization effort in 2011 and the city noted this month that its municipalization work will continue throughout negotiations.

Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver said the city anticipates online and potentially in-person public engagement about potential settlement throughout the summer.

Any settlement agreement would require a public hearing before the Boulder City Council and the city’s Charter requires voter approval of any franchise agreement.

Prior to the Xcel/Boulder announcement, the city in April took another step in its effort to separate itself from Xcel Energy and set up its own public power utility with a $68.5 million offer to acquire electric assets from Xcel.

The bid is for more than 100,000 assets, including everything from meters and poles to conduits and easements, but no generation assets are involved.

When Boulder began its municipalization effort, Xcel’s generation portfolio was heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and Boulder wanted to switch to renewable resources and have more control over its energy future, as well as capture some of the economic benefits of being a public power utility.

Since then, Xcel has been moving away from fossil fuels and has pledged to have zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

Pueblo voters turn aside municipalization proposal

In other recent Colorado municipalization news, voters in Pueblo, Colorado, recently rejected a measure that would have allowed the city to leave investor-owned Black Hills Energy and form a public power utility.