Other A utility that would be owned by the city of Boulder. Shorthand for municipalization, which is the p... 101 stories:
Basics and background
Xcel, Boulder settlement: What’s in it?
Arguments for the muni / against the settlement
This is just a quick list; each argument is explained in more detail further down
Renewables: Boulder can get more renewable energy, more quickly than Xcel Energy, a publicly traded utility company based in Minnesota. by buying from other suppliers and from local production
Cost: Boulder can provide electricity for the same or lower cost than Xcel, and the money will stay in the community rather than going to a corporate entity beholden to shareholders
Control: Boulder deserves a greater say in where/from whom it gets its energy and how the grid is planned and built. Residents would have more input on these things under a city-run utility.
Trust: Xcel cannot be trusted to stick to renewables and other concessions if they affect profitability, and has a history of passing along the costs of questionable decisions and investments to ratepayers
Arguments against the muni / for the settlement
This is just a quick list; each argument is explored in greater detail further down
Renewables: Xcel has now set a goal of 80% emissions reduction by 2030, which gets Boulder very close to its own target, and carbon-free electricity by 2050
Cost: Buying Xcel’s system could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, which is too much debt for Boulder to carry and still provide electricity affordably
Control: A city-owned utility comes with considerable liability that would be ultimately born by the taxpayers. Some residents and groups doubt that Boulder can provide system reliability as well as Xcel. The settlement allows Boulder to have a greater say in decision-making
Trust: Boulder has continually under-estimated the cost, time and complexity involved in establishing a municipal utility.
Who is arguing against the muni / for a settlement with Xcel?
IBM, Governor Jared Polis, Colorado Energy Office, Colorado Department of Health and Environment (None of these organizations have formed formal elections issues groups but all have expressed support in various forms.)
The Committee for Boulder’s Great Green Deal is campaigning for approval of the A legal agreement between a power provider and customer (in this case, Xcel and Boulder) governing t.../settlement agreements and extension of the Utility Occupation Tax. The first part was initially passed in 2010 by voters, to replace the Xcel f.... The group is led by former Boulder Mayor Leslie Durgin and former city council member Andy Schultheiss, who was also chair of Open Boulder for three years.A statement of contributions and expenditures has not yet been filed; this article will be updated with that information.
Who is arguing for the muni / against a settlement with Xcel?
Empower our Future, a group of local pro-muni residents that includes former city council members and backed by a number of organizations, including Eco-Cycle, New Era Colorado, PLAN-Boulder County and the local Sierra Club chapter.
Some of Empower’s organizers also formed an official issue committee, No on 2C for Local Power. A statement of contributions and expenditures has not yet been filed; this article will be updated with that information.
Where does council stand?
Bob Yates: The only council member who has been openly critical of the muni. He has consistently voted against efforts and was involved in bringing Xcel and Boulder back to to the negotiating Postponement of a motion, or a vote this year. In 2017, he voted in the minority to put a settlement to voters; that Formal proposal calling for a vote failed. Voted to place the current settlement on the ballot.
Mayor Sam Weaver: Ardent supporter of the muni. Prior to election to city council, he served on resident groups who studied aspects of municipalization. He also works in renewable energy and owns Cool Energy, which develops and manufactures engines that convert waste heat into energy. Voted against putting a 2017 settlement to voters. Voted to put the current settlement on the ballot.
Mary Young: Has consistently voted for the muni. Voted against putting a 2017 settlement to voters. Voted to put the current settlement on the ballot.
Mirabai Nagle: Has voted for every muni measure thus far. Voted to put the current settlement on the ballot.
Aaron Brockett: Has consistently voted for the muni as the “only path” to 100% renewable energy — he voted against putting the 2017 settlement to voters — but has shown himself more willing to draw lines than other pro-muni council members.
For example, in 2016 he voted against forcibly annexing Boulder businesses to better position the muni over the objections of owners. (Yates joined in the dissent, while Weaver and Young supported the move.)
Voted to put the current settlement on the ballot.
Adam Swetlik: “Firmly” pro-muni; has said the effort is “worth every penny.” Voted against putting the current settlement on the ballot.
Junie Joseph: Is “definitely” pro-muni, mostly for the value of putting an essential utility into the hands of the people. Voted against putting the current settlement on the ballot.
Mark Wallach: Wrote an op-ed opposing the muni before he was elected to council, but during campaigning, switched to a position of support and made it a tenet of his platform. He attributed the change to learning how “fossil-fuel dependent” Colorado was. Voted to put the current settlement on the ballot.
Rachel Friend: Categorizes herself as a tentative supporter, saying she’d need to see the numbers before deciding. But has also made statements indicating she thinks taxpayer money would be better spent on other climate initiatives. Voted to put the current settlement on the ballot.
— Shay Castle, firstname.lastname@example.org, @shayshinecastle
Want more stories like this, delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up for a weekly newsletter from Boulder Beat.