- Boulder, Colorado, and Xcel Energy have decided to settle a five-year-old lawsuit regarding the city's formation of an electric utility, though the decision will have no impact on an upcoming vote on the matter in 2020 or 2021.
- Boulder City Council formed an electric utility in 2014, a move Xcel then described in a lawsuit as premature. The settlement agreement calls for Boulder to dissolve the utility it formed, and repeal the ordinances that formed it.
- Voters first authorized the city to consider forming a municipal utility in 2011. Another go/no-go vote at some point the future will decide whether or not the city follows through.
Boulder's efforts to form a utility are expensive, but officials say settling the utility formation lawsuit will help.
"This settlement reduces litigation costs and does not affect the city's plan for voters to determine in a future election whether the city will create a municipal electric utility," the city said in a statement. The agreement calls for city staff to request that the Boulder City Council repeal ordinance 7969 and remove some text from the city's codes, "which will dissolve the utility created in 2014, but never used."
The city council will consider those items at its June 18 meeting.
Boulder also agreed not to enact another ordinance creating a new municipal electric utility "unless the utility complies with the city's charter and only after approval by a majority vote of Boulder residents."
But the city does not come away from the settlement empty-handed. For its part, Xcel agreed that it would not point to Boulder's lack of a utility as a defense in possible condemnation proceedings.
Boulder has made progress on its municipalization efforts over the years. In 2018, the city and Xcel told state regulators they had reached agreements on how to handle utility easements if the city separates from Xcel's service.