What is “Municipalization”?
• The City would own the electrical utility in Boulder. It could operate the utility itself or, more likely, hire an experienced company to operate it. Xcel would remain Boulder’s gas utility.
Are there other Municipal utilities in Colorado?
• Twenty-nine Colorado communities, including Longmont, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs, have successfully run municipal electric systems for decades.
What are the steps? Is it too complicated?
_ The steps are fairly straightforward, with several “off-ramps” in the process that allow the City to stop pursuing municipalization if municipalization seems uneconomic. (It is definitely feasible technically.)
• The following list is a simplified overview of the steps: (See also “What are the Risks” questions.)
• Note that we need to vote for a municipal utility in order to get precise numbers so we can make an informed final go/no go decision. (Xcel is not required to give us detailed numbers until after we vote for municipalization. After we vote we could get precise quotes from management companies, power supply companies, etc.)
1. Obtain approval by citizens’ vote in this coming election to municipalize.
2. Conduct engineering studies to come up with an implementation plan.
3. Negotiate with Xcel to purchase the needed parts of the distribution system (only). (NOT the power plants).
4. Obtain approval by appropriate federal regulatory agencies.
5. Make a final go/no go decision to issue bonds for the purchase of the system. Note that on your current bill you are helping to pay for the bonds that Xcel has issued to build and maintain their system.
6. Purchase the system.
7. Implement the plan for electrical separation (from Xcel) and re-integration (of Boulder’s system).
8. Transition to municipal operation.
Who would the City run Boulder’s municipal electric system?
• The City would most likely contract with a company that is experienced with setting up and running an electric distribution system day-to-day. The City utility would purchase power from one or more independent power producers. It can use the competitive free market to get the best price on power from sources that minimize their environmental impact. The City would select a Utility Board with citizen and business representatives plus an experienced electric utilities director to oversee the contractor(s).
When would this all happen?
• We would start working for the transition immediately after the favorable vote. The elapsed time between then and “flipping the switch” to municipal power could take up to several years, depending on how cooperative Xcel Energy would be in the process.