5 Reasons NOT to Send a Franchise to the Voters in 2020

August 13, 2020

Want Boulder to Stay on the Path to 100% Renewable Energy?

If so, we need to stay out of a 20-year franchise agreement with Xcel. See 5 Reasons Not to Send a Franchise to the Voters in 2020 for just 5 of the many reasons to say “no” to putting a franchise agreement with Xcel on the Ballot in November 2020. Then, do your part and contact City Council.  Even if you don’t support a “Muni”, this agreement with Xcel is too flawed — too rushed, too risky, too costly, and we have too much to lose.

1. It’s too rushed. Boulder deserves a much better deal.

  • Council has not had sufficient time to do due diligence, or to consider alternatives that would be much better for the City.
  • Boulder has not had a franchise with Xcel for ten years, and we’ve been doing just fine. Why the rush now?

2. The City promised the voters facts about costs.

  • Boulder promised to let the citizens know the final costs of municipalization before calling for a go/no go vote.
  • The final municipalization costs are not known yet.
  • Yet an Xcel franchise vote would effectively be a go/no go vote.

3. It would be like signing a lease with a landlord without knowing what the rent will be.

Customers – There is nothing in the agreement about future rates. Xcel plans to raise their earnings 5-7% a year. Electricity demand is flat, so to make that kind of money they most likely will continue to raise rates. (The cost of renewables keeps going down…our rates should too!)

Taxpayers – Any services (renewables, microgrids, etc.) Xcel provides to Boulder that go beyond what Xcel provides to other customers are services that Boulder taxpayers would have to pay for. (State law CRS 40-3-106.) These would cost Boulder taxpayers unknown millions of dollars extra.

We risk losing a lot. We don’t get much in exchange.

  • We could lose at least $40 million per year in energy supply savings (per 2018 RFIP).
  • The interim carbon reduction target dates are welcome; but the 80% by 2030 target is already required by law.
  • The “partnership” projects have no evident due dates, specific deliverables, budgets, or funding.
  • There are no penalties if Xcel doesn’t perform.
  • The agreements include many loopholes that benefit Xcel.

We would lose this generational opportunity for a better future.

  • To put the brakes on climate change.
  • To support environmental justice. Xcel’s disproportionate effect on low-income communities and communities of color: (1) ever-increasing rates, (2) siting of fossil fuel infrastructure.
  • To lead in clean energy and community fiber.

Contact Boulder City Council (council@bouldercolorado.gov) to Ask them to keep franchise off ballot.  Sign up to speak at the 8/20/20 City Council meeting.

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