BOULDER - The city of Boulder on Wednesday filed an appeal in district court challenging a pair of Colorado Public Utilities Commission rulings made late last year related to the city's quest to form a municipal electric utility.

Boulder is arguing that the PUC was wrong in ruling that it can determine which Xcel Energy Inc. assets the city may acquire through eminent domain. The city is also challenging the PUC's assertion that it must rule on such a determination before Boulder can file for condemnation.

The city argues that the state constitution grants cities the right to condemn property for a public purpose.

The PUC's ruling, which was related specifically to assets and customers the city wishes to acquire and serve outside the city limits, was originally made in October. The city filed a motion for the commission to reconsider that ruling, but the commission affirmed its decision in mid-December.

The PUC contends that the city would have to file its plan for separation from Xcel with the PUC and go through a lengthy approval process that could take up to seven months before the city would be able to file for condemnation.

"There is no doubt about the city's eagerness to work productively with the PUC," Boulder city attorney Tom Carr said in a press release. "The purpose of the appeal is to ask a court to balance the PUC's authority with the constitutionally guaranteed right to create a municipal electric utility."

The city earlier this month sent Xcel a notice of intent to acquire the assets needed to create a municipal utility as required by state law. Xcel has up to 90 days to have an appraisal of those assets done at the city's cost and enter into good faith negotiations. If Xcel declines or good faith negotiations stall, the city is then allowed to file for condemnation. However, the PUC's ruling puts a further delay in that timeline.

In Wednesday's press release, the city said it plans to keep working with the PUC while the appeal process is ongoing to better understand what the PUC is requiring of the city as far as separation plan approval.