Paul Culnan: Coming to Terms with 8410


August 30, 2020

Dear Councilors,

After 10 days of coming to terms with the inevitability of having an unneeded election campaign thrust upon me in the middle of a pandemic, I went back and listened very carefully to the “closing arguments” at the Aug 20 council meeting.

Sam, I think I finally understand the argument you are making for having the vote, although I still don’t agree with everything you said. “Thank you for your patience with us”, doesn’t cover half of it.

Bob, I realize now how deeply opposed to muni you are. The misstatements and misleading statements in your argument make me think you might make a good politician someday.

I fear that Boulder’s climate goals will not be attained if the FA passes. Sure there is a process in place, but the financial issues under the PA will be insurmountable. Sam’s hope that the partnership will get us to 100% renewables without having to pay a premium is a pipe dream. It would take $100’s of million of capital to build the renewable energy sources necessary to bridge the gap and I don’t see where that is going to come from and certainly not without paying a premium for our electricity. Just the 35MW gap of local solar, if it cost a dollar a watt to build, would require $35 million of capital investment.

Sam and Bob and Tom say that the SA ties off all the legal issues. You know full well that Xcel will fight everything we do towards municipalization whether now or 5 years or 10 years from now. We will be losing critical years in the fight against global warming, to wind up in the same place.

Sam says we will vote in one of 3 years, 2020, 2021, or 2022. In reality we will have a vote every year up to and including the Go/No Go vote, and probably beyond. I don’t think the muni opponents are going to fade away any time soon. The only year will could possibly NOT have a vote is 2020. Oh well.

Multiple council members called this “The Go/No Go” vote. Far from it, this is strictly a “No Go” vote. The Go/No Go vote is the one where the Go voters authorize bonding for the muni, and the financial difficulties are over.

Bob keeps repeating that the muni will “cost” voters $300-400 million, rather than pointing out that revenue bonds would cover this expense and be repaid out of utility revenue, at rates at or below Xcel’s.

Someone said that having a seat at the PUC would be a powerful benefit of the PA. We don’t and never will have a vote at the PUC. We will be able to intervene in PUC proceedings under the PA just as we are able to now, at considerable expense.

Bob touts the fact we can go to the legislature to repeal the 120% rule. We can do that now without the PA. My question is what will Xcel get in return? Xcel as an organization is opposed to distributed energy sources of all kinds, especially rooftop solar, because they cannot make a profit off of any of it. What will they slip into legislation this time to discourage small solar investors?

Bob somehow thinks that the PA will help us get CCA passed at the legislature. Huh??? Too off the wall to comment.

As for the financial problems of starting a muni, I suggest talking the folks of Winter Park, Florida, one of the most recently formed munis in the country. They are doing quite well financially thank you.

Thanks,

Paul Culnan
Boulder