Boulder: We've given Xcel enough data
Xcel Energy filed the request Wednesday afternoon, less than a day after a Boulder City Council study session was devoted to reviewing a summary of the work city staffers have done so far.
According to the staff's modeling, it believes Boulder could create a municipal public utility. Boulder voters in 2011 narrowly approved having the city, not Xcel, run its electric service.
Xcel Energy said it wants to see those models, according to a press release from the company. It said making the information public will help the company and public review and test Boulder's work.
"We believe that in releasing the models requested, the city will truly ensure a robust discussion on the city's energy future. It will give all interested parties equal access to all the information the city is studying and a better understanding of how they arrived at their conclusions," Xcel's regional vice president Jerome Davis said in a press release. "This will help the city continue its path of transparency in the process."
Boulder spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said the Boulder City Attorney's Office is preparing a response. It believes Boulder is following the law.
"The city's position is that we have been incredibly transparent with the data that went into and came out of our modeling process. All assumptions and data inputs and outputs that are public record were included in a detailed and footnoted 287-page memo we shared with the community. Xcel has access to this same information and has the ability to run its own models based upon this data," Huntley said in a statement.
If Xcel wants the software or mathematical models used, the city attorney's office believes they are not covered by the open records act, Huntley said, in part because "they were prepared in anticipation of pending litigation and for elected officials as part of the deliberative process," the statement said. "These are both well-established exemptions under Colorado law."
The request came after Boulder's city manager Jane Brautigam announced at the meeting Boulder and Xcel Energy had agreed to form a citizen advisory committee split 50-50 between Xcel and city appointees.
Both sides said they hope the committee will have productive meetings, although Boulder expects hostility from Xcel Energy if an understanding between the two cannot be reached.
Xcel Energy owns and operates Boulder's grid, and the company has said it does not want to give up its assets and customers. Boulder would have to use eminent domain to get the grid.
That would lead to a legal fight, for which both sides look to be preparing.
"We anticipate that as we move closer to possible litigation, the current utility will continue to seek ways to distract staff, our community and the media from having the substantive conversation this issue deserves," Huntley wrote.
The Xcel Energy release quoted comments from mayor Matt Appelbaum saying the burden had shifted to municipalization's critics to disprove the city's findings.
Xcel said it needs more information about the models to do that.
"Release of the modeling information will help citizens and other interested parties offer the type of specific and detailed comments the city seeks," the release said.
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