Community Engagement

Majority of survey respondents support Pueblo, Colo., pursuing municipalization

A majority of Pueblo, Colo., residents who responded to a recent survey indicated that they support terminating the city’s franchise with Black Hills Energy and forming a municipal electric utility.

ETC Institute administered the survey for the city of Pueblo during the winter of 2020. The surveys have been administered every two years since 2010 as part of the city’s effort to assess citizen satisfaction with the quality of services.

A seven-page survey was mailed to a random sample of households in Pueblo. Approximately seven days after the surveys were mailed, residents who received the survey were contacted by e-mail to encourage participation. Of the households that received a survey, 480 completed the survey. The results for the random sample of 480 households have a 95% level of confidence with a precision of at least +/-5%.

With respect to municipalization, 64 percent of residents surveyed, who had an opinion, indicated they support terminating the city’s franchise with Black Hills Energy and forming a municipal electric utility, while 36 percent responded in the negative.

The full survey results, which cover a wide range of questions other than municipalization, are available here

Residents in Pueblo will vote on May 5 on a measure that would allow the city to leave investor-owned Black Hills Energy and form a public power utility.

The Pueblo City Council approved the special municipal election during a Feb. 10 meeting. If approved, the city would move to buy or condemn Black Hills Energy’s electric facilities in the city and Pueblo County.

The approved ballot question authorizes Pueblo’s Board of Water Works to form a water and power utility.

Boulder offers to buy Xcel Energy assets for $93.96 million

In other recent Colorado municipalization news, the City of Boulder, Colo., offered to purchase certain portions of Xcel Energy electric infrastructure for $93.96 million in a Nov. 20 letter to the investor-owned utility.

The city’s offer comes after an Oct. 28 Colorado Public Utilities Commission ruling that approved transfer of Xcel Energy assets outside substations to the city.

The appraised value of the assets outside substations is $62.3 million. The basis for the city’s offer is the value Xcel reports for financial filings; the offer is double the original cost of the assets, less depreciation.

In December, Boulder filed a petition to condemn Xcel Energy’s electric distribution assets in Boulder District Court following good faith negotiations with the Minneapolis-based company.

Additional news and resources about municipalization can be found on the American Public Power Association’s website here.