Colorado PUC nears decision on Xcel, Boulder muni debate
- At a hearing this week, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission appeared to signal they were unimpressed with the city of Boulder's plan for municipalization. Some details remain too vague, and regulators hinted that only a partial list of assets will be approved for condemnation.
- A decision is expected out in the next two weeks, according to the Daily Camera. But while regulators will likely leave a path forward for the city, they also stressed more work is needed.
- Four years ago, voters approved spending up to $214 million in the city's bid to take control of its energy supply. Xcel has fought that bid, and efforts to reach a settlement have so far proved unsuccessful.
Boulder's first application, filed in 2015, proposed transferring assets from Xcel to allow the city to serve customers outside the incorporated lines. Regulators blocked that plan, leading the city to consider alternatives, but as a decision nears, the outcome may be the same.
According to the Daily Camera, following nine days of testimony on the plan earlier this summer, regulators this week opted to give conditional approval for some of the assets Boulder wants to acquire. Others were not approved, and the city's transition plan was also not approved.
The overall indication is that while regulators will leave a path open for Boulder's muni bid, it will be expensive and could require going back to voters to authorize more funding for the plan.
In April, the Boulder, Colo., City Council voted to continue litigation aimed at forming a municipal electric utility, ensuring the city's seven-year fight would continue.
Boulder officials put forth a new proposal this year, where Xcel would continue operating the distribution system assets and controlling construction during the city's separation. That plan varied from earlier city proposals that included the use of eminent domain to wrest control of the distribution system, or buying the assets and leasing them back to Xcel.
Xcel offered a pair of settlements to the city, including a high-priced buy-out of its distribution system and a partnership aimed at boosting green energy. Both were rejected.
A decision is expected by the middle of next week.
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