Boulder Starts Break from Xcel Energy

Boulder residents voted to approve two measures that allow the city to break away from Xcel Energy and create a Boulder municipal utility. Both measures passed – albeit narrowly.

The whole process of creating a Boulder municipal energy utility could take anywhere from three to five years. Boulder leaders say they don’t have to actually break away if they decide not to.

The City Council of Boulder will make the last decision on if the city should start a municipal utility, yet there are a few loose ends that need to be tied up before that can start. One is the city needs to get the funds to pay to acquire Xcel’s Boulder distribution infrastructure. The city also will owe Xcel money for the company’s so-called “stranded costs,” which amount to paying the company for funds Xcel may have invested in Boulder as it anticipated serving needs in the city.

Some of it could end up in court – based on a variety of factors. City officials say they have started the negotiation process with Xcel in the form of letters.

Boulder officials say they don’t believe the city owes Xcel any stranded costs, yet the company says the city could be on the hook for up to $335 million.

There are a few planned public meetings with city council set. One is on Nov. 15 and another on Dec. 6.


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