Benefits of Municipalizing

Why Municipalize?
• Rates – A municipal utility’s first and only purpose is to provide efficient, reliable service at competitive rates, not to make a profit for shareholders. Boulder’s municipalization proposal includes a provision that at the time of the startup of the municipal utility its rates cannot exceed those offered by Xcel Energy. Furthermore, the municipal utility, once established, will have guiding principles that make rate parity and the city’s commitment to lowering greenhouse gas emissions key factors in future ratemaking and operations decision. Our municipal utility could use a higher percentage of renewables in the energy mix. This would help protect us from rate increases caused by the inevitable rise in the cost of fossil fuels.
• Reliability – Municipal utilities have a better record for reliability and response time on average than the large investor-owned utilities. [Source: American Public Power Association.]
• Renewables – Preliminary modeling studies have shown that a municipal could maintain rates at or below Xcel’s while using about 40% renewables (wind, solar, etc.) and also reducing our CO2 emissions by over 60% within zero to 3 years of completing the legal and technical analysis. As the costs of renewables continue to drop i, a municipal could smoothly increase its percentage of renewables to 70% or more renewables while still maintaining competitive rates. Xcel Energy has no plans above 30% renewables because of their massive investments in baseload coal generation that make high renewable energy percentages impractical.
• Local Control – The municipal utility governing body meeting here in Boulder with representatives from local citizens and businesses would be more responsive to the interests of Boulder citizens and businesses than a corporate governing body meeting in Minnesota (Xcel). The municipal utility would be free of constraints from the unelected Public Utilities Commission.
• Local Power Generation – Some of the money currently diverted to out of town power plants and out of state coal mines could be kept here in the community for distributed generation.
• Local Economic Development – Local power generation and municipal energy efficiency programs would mean good opportunities for local businesses and help develop local jobs. Currently Xcel takes over $100 million per year out of our community. Keeping even a fraction of that in the community would help our economy. It is estimated that every $1 invested locally multiplies 3.5 times for our local economy. Municipalization could also be a huge opportunity for local firms to do full scale implementation of clean energy products and systems. Boulder could become a world leader in energy innovation.
Why Municipalize NOW?
• We have a window of opportunity created by Boulder’s decision not to renew its franchise with Xcel Energy, and the citizens’ vote in 2010 to replace the franchise fee so we could have time to study municipalization.
• In the coming years Xcel plans to spend almost $400 million to refurbish its coal plants. If we municipalize we would not have to help pay for this.
• The opportunity to municipalize will not occur again for at least a decade, and realistically not for 20 years. Remember: A “No” vote terminates the process