Conor J. May: Municipalization – Be wary of Xcel


JULY 23, 2020

The future of our city’s electric power is in our hands. We have options. We would be unwise to throw those options away at a time when the future of the grid is changing faster than ever.

The city’s decision to talk to Xcel Energy is reasonable, despite Xcel’s shaky track record when it comes to honest dealing. We’ve invested time and energy in energy independence precisely so that we can consider all of our options. But any decision to accept an agreement with Xcel must result from an open, transparent, deliberative process. Now is not the time to rush a decision that will limit our options in the future.

The price of solar, wind, and storage are dropping, and new models of transactive, community-based power are arising every day. New technologies are opening the door to a cleaner and more equitable grid. These changes make it possible to source power more responsibly, hand decision-making power back to consumers, and support low-income populations.

If we want to be in a position to embrace these changes, we should be wary of any agreements with Xcel that limit our freedom in the coming years. A franchise agreement, whether it is for five years or 50 years, would do just that. Negotiating with Xcel is fine, but we should not impose artificial deadlines that prevent us from getting all of the facts before making such a crucial decision.
Conor J. May
Boulder

Published July 23, 2020 in the Boulder Daily Camera