Wolfgang Reitz: Boulder Xcel's kill pillPublished on: Sunday, April 16, 2017
Xcel has presented two offers to Boulder — to provide Boulder with electricity for 20 years and an option for Boulder to buy out Xcel in five. On April 17, City Council will decide whether to pursue an agreement with Xcel.
Neither of Xcel’s offers are credible as explained in the Sierra Club statement on the issue. But the terms of electricity provision in Xcel’s offers are not the point of the offers. Xcel’s offers are poison pills.
The offers require Boulder to suspend the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) municipalization process days before the PUC begins a proceeding toward determining how Boulder would separate its own electricity system from Xcel’s. The offers are intended, and are having the desired effect, to encourage certain City Council members to promote suspension so that they can “check in with voters” in November by putting the Xcel offers on the ballot. At first glance that sounds reasonable.
But, Xcel and the City Council members know full well that if the city suspends the PUC process now, it effectively kills for the foreseeable future, options the city has to pursue alternatives to Xcel.
Boulder’s ability to create a clean energy future in the face of climate change is at stake. The PUC process gives us that possibility. Xcel seeks to keep us locked into their investor-owned monopoly for another generation.
If City Council members believe climate change is a real threat to the planet and our ability to thrive, continuing with the PUC municipalization process is an opportunity for council to be on the right side of history by leading the way in confronting the environmental challenges we all face.
To do otherwise, just supports entrenched corporate interests over the welfare of citizens and dooms future generations to an Xcel coal-focused, carbon-intensive energy future.
This Letter to the Editor was originally published in the Daily Camera