Today, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) granted the City of Boulder approval to transfer some assets necessary for Boulder to create a community-owned, city-run electric utility. The decision ends the multi-year process before the commission that began in 2015.
“I am pleased with today’s outcome and I want to thank the commissioners and their staff for their commitment to helping Boulder define a path for 21st-century municipalization,” said City Manager Jane Brautigam. “This process has not been without setbacks and challenges, and it is gratifying to receive today’s decision.”
PUC approval is a key step in the Local Power project. In a future election, Boulder voters will determine whether the city ultimately creates a local electric utility. Prior to this vote, the city’s work is focused on identifying key costs; one of these is the cost to acquire parts of the existing electric system from Xcel Energy. Today’s ruling clarifies what the city will seek to acquire through condemnation, the process that will determine the acquisition cost.
The city, through today’s ruling, has gained approval for the transfer of assets outside substations. In September, the commission issued an order that defines the process to transfer assets inside substations. This process, which will not involve the PUC, requires agreement(s) between the city and Xcel Energy.
City Attorney Tom Carr will provide an overview of the decision at the Oct. 10 council study session, available via live stream at BoulderChannel8.com.
In January 2015, the Boulder District Court ruled that the City of Boulder must seek approval from the PUC prior to condemning electric infrastructure owned by Xcel Energy.
The city filed its first application for the transfer of assets in July 2015 at the PUC. The city filed its third and final transfer of assets application in May 2017. This application was the subject of an eight-day hearing in July and August 2017. In September 2017, the PUC issued a 90-page decision granting in part and denying in part the city’s application and conditionally approving the transfer of assets.
Since September 2017, the city and Xcel Energy have worked to complete the conditions set forth in the ruling. These conditions relate to the list of assets for transfer, the list of property rights that Xcel would retain and an agreement to protect Xcel ratepayers from the costs of municipalization.
Today, the PUC deemed that the city had satisfied these conditions.
A final order from the commission is expected in the coming days.
Posted Oct. 10, 2019
Emily Sandoval, 303-441-1927, [email protected]