Experts to brief council on utility options
City staffers and outside consultants have been working on the issue since a November 2011 vote that gave Boulder City Council the authority to create a municipal electric utility. The system is currently owned and operated by Xcel Energy Inc.
Xcel Energy has made clear it does not want to give up the system, and one option Boulder's experts have been weighing is whether to condemn the system through the eminent domain process. Both the city and Xcel Energy have said that could lead to lengthy and expensive litigation.
The city council in November set the standards a proposed utility would have to meet in order for the council to approve its creation. The standards set baselines for reliability, rates, reduction of carbon emissions and an increase in the amount of power generated from renewable energy.
Boulder staffers have since studied whether the utility could meet those goals, and their work will present city council with a list of options and strategies it could pursue. City council is scheduled to have a public hearing on April 16, after which it likely will pick a strategy.
To be released Feb. 21 is a summary of the staff's work so far and a draft of its strategic proposals. Releasing the reports is the start of a long public comment process which will last through April 16. During that time, residents can contact the council directly or submit comments through the www.BoulderEnergyFuture.com website.
On Feb. 26, city council will go over the proposals at a study session, where it can give recommendations and directions but not take formal action. Members of the public are able to attend study sessions, but typically time is not set aside for comments from the public.
The city will host an open house from 6 to 8:30 p.m. March 13 at the West Senior Center, 909 Arapahoe Ave.
City of Boulder staff members originally were going to present their proposals in late January, but that date was pushed back to provide more time to incorporate the input of consultants and stakeholders, according to the city.
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