July 19, 2020
The Boulder City Council is currently considering signing a franchise agreement with Xcel Energy to supply the city with power for the foreseeable future. I do not believe that we should sign such an agreement at all, and the Boulder City Council certainly should not rush to such a vote, as may very well happen next week.
The decision of where and how Boulder should get our electricity supply will decide where more than $100 million of Boulder residents’ hard earned money will go each year. I personally believe that our money shouldn’t go to a publicly traded corporation that makes tens of millions of dollars in pure profit each year from the community of Boulder alone.
I do believe in the municipalization of Boulder’s electricity grid, but for those who don’t, you should not let the City Council rush into a deal with Xcel, simply because it is the first available. Such an important and expensive decision should not be made without thoughtful community engagement, and absolutely should not be rushed in any way.
Xcel hasn’t even provided their plan on how to supply Boulder’s electricity (sources of electricity and cost) and will not do so until next spring. Why on Earth would the council vote to join into an agreement that hasn’t even been seen yet?
I know there are many strong feelings involved with the electricity debate in Boulder, mine included, but Xcel has proven itself to be a bad faith actor in this process, and we should not rush into a franchise agreement just to finish this conversation or to simplify things. There are many paths forward for how Boulder gets its electricity, and a franchise agreement with Xcel is one of the most expensive and outdated options you could think of.
Published in the July 19, 2020 Boulder Daily Camera