Boulder has spent about $26 million fighting for the muni over 10 years. Over that same 10-years, Xcel took about $230 million in profits from selling electricity in Boulder. That money could have been re-invested in our community creating jobs and clean energy.
PLAN-Boulder County believes combating climate change is the single most important issue confronting the entire world and Boulder has a responsibility to lead on this issue. PLAN has supported the concept of clean, local power from the beginning, through three ballot measures, and we view the current proposal to reverse course and vote on a 10-year franchise deal with Xcel to be a needless and rushed capitulation. It is a bad deal for Boulder, that gives up all the ground we have gained over 10-years of litigating.
Boulder’s efforts along with dramatic changes in the industry have pushed Xcel towards more renewables. That’s great, but we would also like to reinvest the profits in our own community as do Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and others. Furthermore, there are other private electric providers besides Xcel that might be willing to give us a much better deal which includes a direct path to municipalization. Boulder just received bids this week that should be closely considered.
Boulder can do better than needlessly rushing a deal with Xcel and council should not put a weak and confusing proposal on the November ballot. After 10-years we can and must do better and we should take the time to get this right.
There is no rush. We can continue without a franchise agreement as we have for the past 10 years while we get this right. This wasn’t supposed to come back for another vote until there are some real cost comparisons.
Real progress towards a muni has been made and Boulder’s leadership on the environment and climate change should not be given up so easily. Boulder should keep its bargaining power and fulfill the obligation to the voters to bring back some real cost comparisons before we vote.