Say NO to a new Xcel franchise

Reasons to say NO to Xcel’s proposal:

  • Voting yes on a new franchise agreement will put an abrupt end to 10 years of hard work to bring clean power to Boulder, and millions of dollars invested in exploring our own local power utility. We are in the home stretch!! One case is in front of the condemnation court, which will set the price for buying Xcel’s assets, and another is in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. We have worked hard to get to this point. Let’s not give up now!
  • There are huge financial risks involved in staying with Xcel. While the focus always seems to be on the financial risk of creating a local power entity, local power is cheaper than Xcel in the long run. Why?
    • 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.
    • As long as we are tied to Xcel, it will require continuing high legal costs for Boulder to participate at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

What are the consequences if we sign a new franchise agreement?

  • Boulder could end up with nothing: By signing this agreement, Boulder loses all means to create a local power utility. If the franchise agreement fails, Boulder also loses all its leverage with Xcel.
  • We don’t have the same goals: Xcel does not share Boulder’s goals for 100% renewable energy by 2030. The proposed “Partnership” agreement that is part of Xcel’s 2020 package has vague objectives. We will be locked in perpetual disagreements over future carbon reduction projects, if the past is any clue. There are no proposals for arbitration or dispute resolution in the agreement.
  • Xcel will not help pay for renewables in Boulder: There are no provisions in the partnership for Xcel to commit to financing renewable energy in Boulder.
  • We lose local control: A new franchise agreement would mean that our energy future is not in our own hands. All decisions would be made either by Xcel or by the Public Utilities Commission, in a process that is largely inaccessible to Boulder voters.
  • No local economic stimulus: Boulder loses the option of keeping more of our energy dollars in our community to support local solar projects, energy storage and innovative 21st century technologies.
  • Trapped in an outdated energy paradigm:  A new Xcel franchise means we will be back to the confines of a century-old regulatory framework based on a fossil fuel economy, and Xcel’s legacy business model of centralized power generation.