A big question in Boulder right now is whether or not voters will grant the city permission to establish a municipal utility and formally break away from Xcel Energy, which has supplied the city with power for decades. It has also provided rebate incentive programs for solar power and energy efficiency.
But the company is now threatening to cut Boulder customers off from those programs if voters approve the two ballot measures necessary to create a municipal utility.The Daily Camera explains that if residents vote yes in November, it will take years to establish the system or even to determine the full costs (and in that time, the City Council could abandon the plan). In the meantime, the Camera writes :
Xcel will consider denying its Boulder customers access to some of its voluntary programs, according to Jerome Davis, a regional vice president for Xcel Energy and treasurer of the utility's issue committee.
"Voters should be aware that measures 2B and 2C do not open, but instead, close options for the city," Davis said in the news release. "And it is misleading to say there are no adverse consequences if 2B and 2C are approved. For example, during the five or more years it will take to form the utility, we may have no choice but to discontinue, in Boulder, our Solar*Rewards, SaversSwitch, energy efficiency and conservation programs, as well as our proposed new long-term Windsource program."
Susan Osborne, the mayor of Boulder, has called this a plot by a desperate corporation, a description that seems fitting considering that Boulder customers represent about 5 percent of Xcel's annual sales.
Osborne also alluded to the fact that Xcel and another well-funded anti-municipalization group have spent $660,996 fighting the issue, while proponents have spent $67,563—and since all that money hasn't worked, "now we're told that programs funded from our utility bills won't be available to us."