Few battles have been as acrimonious as that between the city of Boulder and Xcel Energy, which have been tangling over the city’s push toward creating its own municipal utility. Voters approved two measures in November that allowed the city to study and create that new utility.

Oh, city and Xcel Energy officials have been polite, sharing the stage at numerous public events. But the issue has polarized a community that prides itself on its environmental leadership but is cautious about a decision that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

We believe that it’s time for Boulder and Xcel to return to the bargaining table, to determine whether the city’s renewable-energy goals can be achieved through Xcel, a conversation that should be parallel to its study of municipalization.

When Boulder went to voters, supporters of municipalization argued that positive votes would give the city greater leverage in negotiating with Xcel. Surprisingly to many, no such negotiations have transpired.

It’s not that there haven’t been talks. We’ve heard of a few discussions, including a high-level conversation that included city manager Jane Brautigam; Heather Bailey, Boulder’s executive director of energy strategy and electric utility development; David Eves, president and chief executive of Xcel’s Public Service Company of Colorado; and Jerome Davis, Xcel’s regional vice president. But the discussion apparently saw nothing new brought to the table by either side.

We believe that both sides owe it to Boulder residents and businesses to determine whether compromise is possible. Xcel should revisit a proposal it made last year to vastly increase Boulder’s renewable-energy supply. And the city should acknowledge that a full vetting of municipalization cannot be accomplished without talking with Xcel once again.