Mary Rogers: Boulder and Xcel are MisalignedPublished on: Monday, April 17, 2017
Xcel’s partnership offer is tempting. It promises certainty and finality, which are very alluring after years of uncertainty about our electric future, particularly its costs. But I agree with John Farrell’s guest opinion that caution is warranted.
As a former attorney, I drafted dozens and dozens of contracts. Now with the benefit of hindsight I can say, with absolute certainty, that a contract can’t create a sound business relationship; it can only document what is already fundamentally sound. In other words, the success of a business arrangement doesn’t rest on the brilliance of the language lawyers and negotiators write into a contract. Success follows those deals that make financial and business sense for the parties.
As Mr. Farrell accurately pointed out, in the case of our proposed municipalization, there is no alignment between the city’s and Xcel’s fundamental business objectives. So it doesn’t matter how much Xcel might promise, how enthusiastic its staff’s responses, or how clever the documentation written to embody a deal between Xcel and the city.
Any deal we enter will suck us into a never-ending struggle to get Xcel to really contribute to our goals. We will be pursuing the goals of using less energy and redirecting energy usage to renewable resources. Meanwhile, Xcel will be pursuing its fundamental objectives of selling a lot of energy, recouping its coal plant investments and delivering shareholder profits.
This fundamental misalignment is why we haven’t been able to reach an agreement after seven years — and why the proffered partnership won’t do the trick either, no matter how carefully it is documented. I urge the city to stick to a path of energy independence.
This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in the Daily Camera.