Why Vote YES on 2L?
Reasons to support ballot measure 2L:
- Passage of 2L will allow Boulder to finish gathering essential cost information, including the costs of purchasing and separating the electric grid. These estimates will be used in final economic modeling, and help voters decide whether we should borrow money to launch the utility. (A “Yes” vote on 2017 ballot measure 2O would add this requirement to the Charter).
- “Yes” on 2L means that Boulder can take advantage of the recent Public Utilities Commission decision which – despite media reports to the contrary – gives Boulder a well-defined “path forward,” and a viable process to separate its grid system from Xcel’s.
- “Yes” on 2L means that Boulder and Xcel can negotiate their separation in the most promising environment yet, within a 90-day, PUC imposed deadline.
- “Yes” on 2L means that Boulder can make final preparations to acquire the local electric grid. Xcel Energy, after years of delaying tacts and legal efforts to stop the municipal utility, has testified before the PUC that it will cooperate with Boulder.
- Public power would give Boulder a chance to follow other communities like Georgetown, Texas; Taos, New Mexico; and Aspen, Colorado – communities moving to 100% renewable energy.
- While municipalization does require upfront investments, it promises benefits to our community and mitigates financial and environmental risks of staying with Xcel Energy:
- Xcel has proposed $6.4 billion in new investments which would bring its debt to over $10 billion – or $400,000,000 at the least. Boulder’s share of the interest on that debt is far more than the interest on a local utility with an estimated debt of $3o0 million.
- Xcel is committed to burning (likely increasingly expensive) coal and other fossil fuels least until 2070;
- Xcel has proposed 9%+ rate increases, and more are certain to come (including paying off the costs of Xcel’s coal plants, which are rapidly becoming stranded assets),
- As long as we are tied to Xcel, it will require continuing high legal costs for Boulder to participate at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Participation at the PUC is necessary to watchdog Xcel rate increases and attempts to curtail distributed solar.
What are the consequences if 2L doesn’t pass?
- We won’t be able to reduce our carbon emissions significantly. Xcel does not share our goals.
- Boulder’s existing programs have only reduced our carbon emissions by 8% during the past decade. In contrast, our electricity use continues to contribute over 50% of Boulder’s greenhouse gas emissions.
- A “No” vote would mean that our energy future is not in our own hands; rather all decisions are made in Denver at the Public Utilities Commission in a process that is largely inaccessible to Boulder voters.
- A “No” vote means Boulder loses the option of keeping more of our energy dollars in Boulder to support local solar projects, energy storage and innovative 21st century technologies.
- A “No” vote would mean that we will still be confronting a framework of regulations based on a fossil fuel economy, and Xcel’s legacy business model of centralized power generation.