No on 2C: The Cost is Unknown

There are huge financial risks involved in signing agreements with Xcel. Why?

  • Franchise Agreement (para. 14.4) plainly says Xcel does not have to spend a dime on anything that it has a “good faith belief” the PUC will not allow the Company to recover [from the ratepayers]. In other words, Xcel will only spend other people’s money.
  • Xcel has proposed $7.5 billion in new investments which would bring its total debt to over $10 billion. Boulder’s share of the interest on that debt is far more than the interest on a local utility with an estimated debt of $300 million.
  • Xcel has increased its rates every year almost every year since 2006, and plans to ask for another rate increase in 2020. More increases are likely, in part to pay off the costs of Xcel’s coal plants, which are rapidly becoming stranded assets.
  • Xcel is committed to burning (increasingly expensive) coal and/or other fossil fuels least until 2070; Xcel has also proposed advanced nuclear.

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.

More on the cost of getting back into franchise with Xcel is here: The Cost of Staying with Xcel.

See other risks of the franchise here.