Conor May: PUC deliberation a victory for Boulder muniPublished on: Tuesday, September 5, 2017
I watched the recent PUC deliberation. Do not believe naysayers; this is a victory for Boulder’s muni initiative. In brief, the commission approved the city’s request for transfer of Xcel’s assets outside substations (feeder lines, etc.), with three conditions:
1. That the city grant Xcel an easement for access to Xcel’s assets that will remain in the city (to serve Xcel customers outside the city);
2. That the city file a revised, complete and accurate list of assets to be transferred, including real property interests (but not including every meter or manhole cover, etc.);
3. That the city file a negotiated agreement with Xcel to pay on a regular basis Xcel’s construction and design costs to separate their system from the city system. This agreement or contract should include a dispute resolution procedure.
The commissioners made it plain that they expect cooperation and good faith from Xcel. Xcel should listen carefully. They unanimously agreed that Xcel ratepayers should not have to pay Xcel’s litigation costs. This suggests that Xcel shareholders will pay, possibly through a reduced dividend. This is a strong incentive for Xcel to stop fighting merely to delay.
Boulder will need to negotiate an interconnection agreement, governing the connection of the Xcel substations with the municipal system. Then, with PUC approval in hand, Boulder would be able to start the condemnation process. Since Xcel extracts between $25-$35 million each year from Boulder ratepayers — funds which could largely remain in the city under a muni — it makes sense to be steadfast and proceed with muni process.
At the close of the deliberation, Commissioner Koncilja stated that Boulder citizens should know that the commission has given a vote of support to Boulder and for Boulder’s goals to decarbonize and democratize.
This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in the Daily Camera.