Op-Eds

 
The edge of the Bluff – 07-07-2016 Boulder Weekly

Since 2011, our good intentions have been used to hide the flaws of the Boulder Muni. The presumption that City Council members and even hired “experts” should be allowed to work in the dark using executive sessions is a two-edged sword that hurt us as well as helped us.

Dan Powers: Boulder, Xcel could share success story – 07-02-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

We were greatly encouraged to hear representatives from the city of Boulder and Xcel Energy announce they have been working together on a clean energy plan to meet our collective climate change goals.

Editorial: Boulder, Xcel talks could carve new path – 06-23-2016 BizWest

The city of Boulder and Xcel Energy are engaged in high-level settlement talks over the city’s push to create a municipal-owned utility.

Never be humiliated by seeking compromise – 06-16-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Many applaud the city and Xcel Energy’s willingness to establishing a working relationship that affords Boulder an opportunity to achieve some of its stated energy and environmental goals.

Jim Butterworth: Open Boulder endorses Boulder talks with Xcel – 06-11-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Open Boulder wholeheartedly endorses these discussions. From all appearances, Xcel and the city are now willing to discuss terms that are mutually acceptable and would benefit the residents and taxpayers of Boulder.

Boulder-Xcel talks – 06-09-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Wednesday’s announcement of negotiations between the city of Boulder and Xcel Energy to settle their multi-year battle over the future of Boulder’s power grid is welcome news.

David W. Smith: What’s next for Boulder, taking over landlines? – 05-20-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

The good news: Xcel Energy has already met a Colorado requirement to use renewable sources for 30 percent of the energy it sells. The bad news: The Boulder City Council has spent about four years and $15 million developing proposals to establish a municipal power system.

The beginning of the end of Boulder’s muni? – 05-19-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

There’s something strange going on concerning the future of Boulder’s long suffering electric municipalization scheme.

Richard Davis: Muni should be considered against newer Xcel option – 05-02-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

I don’t think a majority of citizens now support the muni. I think it’s inexcusable for the city to continue this effort without a vote.

Steve Crider: More protracted decisions – 04-27-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Seriously, council, $10,000 more on sister-city Nablus? Then what? For the love of . . . .
The Empire of Boulder’s City Council has dropped $10 million thus far on the electric muni fiasco and now intends to spend more of our dollars and countless hours/days/weeks/years of staff time deciding if we need yet another “sister city” in a land that is not even a formal country.

Brian Larsen: Let’s switch to a solar path – 04-26-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Much has been written in these pages over the past few years about Boulder’s attempts to take over our local electric system. This “municipalization” has been sold as a way for us Boulderites to green up our electricity consumption. This is a very worthy goal, and I was enthusiastic about it from the beginning.
However, some of the city’s moves in this effort have caused me to have serious doubts about their ability to run such a system.

Linda and Larry Maurer: Thanks, Xcel, for good work in Nederland – 04-22-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

We had approximately five feet of snow in Nederland on April 17. We saw Xcel trucks many times on Saturday doing preventative maintenance, and by Sunday, we had not lost power for more than a minute or two.

Patrick Murphy: A lie to keep a promise – 04-07-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Fallacy is what we got from Mr. Culnan (“Nabobs of negativity on muni,” Daily Camera Open Forum, March 30). For example, Xcel offered a wind deal to Boulder back in 2010-2011 and when Boulder choked on it, Xcel bought the wind because it was such a good deal. Xcel would not have gotten credit for the wind.

Ellen De Money: Focus on service – 03-24-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

I have a novel idea: Instead of spending any more money to “look whether we should have our own electrical company” (read, spend money on lawyers), how about we spend it on actual services for the people of Boulder.

Steve Haymes: The Windsource option – 03-23-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Xcel’s plan makes the muni unnecessary and will cost Boulder much less.

Richard Davis: Refocusing Boulder’s priorities – 03-14-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

It’s very troubling to me to see the city continuing to spend our money on the muni. The muni is a project that has a debatable return on investment, has no near-term (or any) positive impact on citizens, locks the city into a 20th-century business model, isn’t reproducible to other cities, will have no impact on climate change, and will undoubtedly serve as a business case study in how not to run a project.

Rob Steinway: Where’s the return on the muni investment? – 03-14-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

I am concerned about the $10 million Boulder has spent on getting their own municipal electrical utility. I don’t see anything happening.

Al Bates: Money well spent? – 03-14-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Some people have expressed concern, or even outrage, at the large expenditure for the electric utility.

Viewpoint: Taking advantage of Colorado’s energy future – 03-10-2016 Denver Business Journal

Xcel Energy has recently announced a new plan for updating Colorado’s electric grid. This is important because an enhanced grid can serve as a platform to increase reliability, efficiency and access to new and different energy technologies, including more renewables. Across the country and here in Colorado, a diverse portfolio of power production will actually help shepherd the development of renewables – allowing us to cost-effectively integrate more renewable power sources onto the electric grid while ensuring that we maintain a reliable supply of power at affordable prices. This is critical, especially for minorities and lower-income Coloradans.

Editorial: How not to run a city utility – 03-05-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

If Public Works spokesman Ben Irwin’s estimate of 60 breaks a year is about right, that’s a water main break every six days. Is this a performance standard the city could be expected to apply to running a municipalized electric utility as well?

John Garnett: Time for a new vote on muni – 01-30-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

I would like to add my support to Dave Krieger’s call for the city to go back to the voters on the municipal utility issue. Based on the high ongoing cost, continued delays, lost appeals and negative PUC determinations, continuing the quest for a muni seems like it will certainly exceed the timelines and cost estimates of the city. The previous balloting on the muni was far short of a mandate. There are sufficient reasons to believe that a new vote might have a different outcome today.

Bob Greenlee: Boulder doesn’t really suck, does it? – 01-28-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Time and time again the city’s theories about achieving its muni goals are fraught with hazards the most egregious of which is attempting to coerce an outcome not permitted by either the law or common sense.

Steve Haymes: Original muni plan was illegal – 01-28-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder’s sixth legal and regulatory defeat on the muni is official. The PUC decision is clear and it looks bad for Boulder despite the positive spin by city government designed to deceive Boulder residents and county residents in the separation area.

Editorial: A comeback for the smart grid? – 01-28-2016 Denver Post

This week Xcel launched a plan called “Our Energy Future” that addresses renewable energy goals and also involves testing new technology that will “pave the way for an interactive, intelligent and efficient grid.”

This seems like a reasonable way to move into the smart-grid era, and even gives customers a modest degree of control over the price they pay for some electricity usage.
In the long run, a smarter grid and more sophisticated meters will enhance the system’s efficiency, promote conservation, and even result in faster response to equipment problems. The failure in Boulder was an ill-planned setback, but not the end of the story.

Editorial: City should go back to voters on muni – 01-26-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Given the various regulatory and legal obstacles dropped in the city’s path so far, we think it is now prudent to assume that no municipal utility can realistically be in place by the December 2017 expiration of the portion of the utility occupation tax approved by voters in 2011 to pay for muni-related expenses.

Patrick Murphy: Muni a waste of time and money – 01-23-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Years of lost court cases accompanied with declarations of victory. Every loss is apparently a win for the muni.

Gail Gordon: Suggested priorities for City Council – 01-20-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

#1-Get off the muni track and stop spending our tax dollars to fund city staffers and legal fees. Work with Xcel. Use taxpayer money to buy LED lights and make energy improvements.

Bob Greenlee: Some thoughts on City Council’s upcoming retreat – 01-14-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

Perhaps the most pressing issue council members should confront at this year’s retreat is the never-ending municipalization soap opera. The city is embarking on its sixth year of perpetuating this endless and nonsensical fantasy while wastefully spending millions on its impossible dream. Every one of the city’s efforts to coerce the muni outcome it seeks has been sidelined by the courts, regulatory authorities or common sense.

William B. Jones: I feel a great sense of gratitude – 01-01-2016 Boulder Daily Camera

I would like to express my thanks for decades of the excellent service by Xcel employees.

William Stoehr: We can make a difference without a muni – 12-26-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

Let’s pursue the Minneapolis approach — work with Xcel and negotiate an agreement that meets our very own climate goals.

Stephen Colby: Time to turn away from muni – 12-5-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

We can off-load a huge diversion of city resources by converting municipalization into a revised franchise agreement with Public Service Company.

Mark Hafen: City telling half the truth on muni developments – 11-18-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

I just got an email from the city of Boulder’s Boulder Energy Future smugly announcing the city is “pleased the PUC will allow a discovery period in which Xcel will be compelled to disclose important information…” While this may be so, the city completely glosses over the more important part of the Nov. 4 ruling from the PUC.

Karey Christ-Janer: How is muni similar to 300/301 saga? – 11-12-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

Many of the same reasons I found measures 300 and 301 to be distasteful are extremely similar to a primary reason I cannot support municipalization.

William Stoehr: Minneapolis off-ramp offers Boulder a muni alternative – 11-07-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

Did you know that the city of Minneapolis recently took an off-ramp and inked a deal with Xcel that mirrors Boulder’s own climate goals? Minneapolis negotiated a franchise agreement with Xcel that included an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Boulder’s goal is also 80 percent by 2050.

Editorials: Clean Power Plan – 10-29-2015 The Journal

Gov. Hickenlooper is right to oppose lawsuit to block air quality rules. Colorado’s goal is to achieve a 28 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions compared to a 2012 benchmark. And there is every reason to think Colorado can do that. As The Denver Post reported Monday, Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy – Colorado’s biggest energy supplier – has cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 26 percent since 2005 and is on course to see a 35 percent reduction by 2020.

Boulder should start collaborating with Xcel – 10-12-2015 Daily Times-Call

Charlie Danaher, a Boulder resident, writes that Boulder should consider Xcel Energy as a partner, instead of an enemy.

A few facts about the muni – 10-12-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

After five court setbacks, $15 million on lawyers and consultants, and five years, all Tom Asprey (“Model shows muni benefits,” Daily Camera, Oct. 4) has to add to the muni conversation is, well, nothing new.

Ballot issues – 10-10-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

Aside from the two citizen initiatives we weighed in on last week, this fall’s Boulder ballot also contains the following issues: Ballot question 2O. The timing seems to indicate some nervousness on the part of the city.

Nicholas Guthrie: Municipalization, ‘right-sizing’ have something in common – 10-9-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

As a student at CU I followed the debate on municipalization very closely. Over the past few months following “right-sizing” in Boulder, I cannot help but draw on the similarities of the two issues. Both seem to be cases where, in the early stages of the project, data was presented that sounded like it would yield results that would fall right in line with Boulder ideology. In terms of municipalization, I think that the city, and ever-increasingly residents of Boulder, are realizing that the ideal outcome that was presented by the city is not reality. The real-world consequence of that is millions of dollars spent.

Opinion: Xcel Energy’s best defense is its environmental strategy – 10-8-2015 MarketWatch

Xcel Energy appears unusually committed to reducing its emissions and moving beyond the limitations of coal. It has already committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels. Xcel is clearly a market innovator and a sector leader that is working to address the challenges of the future.

Ed Naimon: Muni makes no economic sense – 10-2-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder continues to lose numerous and ongoing battles in its municipalization effort at all costs. I am educated in both finance (MBA Finance, CSU) and accounting (MS Accounting, CU). I’m a licensed CPA in Colorado. I see no economic sense whatsoever in Boulder’s ongoing municipalization pursuits.

Patrick Murphy: Muni Rotting on the Vine – 10-2-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

What is clear is that Boulder Energy Future is not collaborative, but rather…

Editorial: For Boulder City Council – 9-26-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

Our endorsements for Boulder City Council this year come in a particular context. That context, in our view, is a group of incumbents that is too ideologically homogeneous.

IOU, co-op or muni? Experts debate the creation of public utilities – 9-16-2015 Utility Dive

Only two of 22 municipalization attempts since 2000 were completed, according to an energy industry consultant.
“The timeline to achieve municipalization of IOU assets could be as long as 5 years to 10 years, and often is not successful,” said Concentric Energy Advisors CEO John Reed. “Furthermore, when the financial analysis has been conducted, and all the costs have been identified, municipalization efforts are most often abandoned.”

Bob Greenlee: It’s time to re-think Boulder’s muni scheme – 9-10-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

It appears Boulder’s troubled muni scheme might now be on life-support. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission staff declared the city’s application to condemn Public Service Company’s electric utility assets was not only incomplete but “…cannot be cured by further filings…” and should be denied without prejudice.

Cate Lawrence: Time to look at alternatives to muni – 8-29-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

We can learn something from C. S. Lewis: “Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. If you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the person who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

Bill Mark: A bigger disaster coming – 8-27-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

I found it extremely coincidental that the Daily Camera featured an article titled “Lessons Learned” on the front page of its Aug. 11 edition.

Don Cote: City’s muni PUC filing a farce – 8-8-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder finally delivered its application for municipalization to the Colorado Public Utility Commission in early July. The application contains well over 1,000 pages. At this point, it seems like a lot of trees died for nothing.

Dan Powers: Time to abandon muni plan? – 7-31-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

Recent legal rulings and financial details regarding Boulder’s municipalization effort deserve thoughtful scrutiny by residents and businesses. From our perspective in the business community, the Jan. 14 finding by Boulder District Judge Judith LaBuda regarding Public Utilities Commission oversight creates a new level of uncertainty that cannot be ignored. Because businesses account for 80 percent of electricity sales in Boulder, it is reasonable for us to have new questions about the ongoing expense and pace of achieving impactful decarbonization that can be achieved by a city-run utility.

Neil Garney: Time for City Council to cut their losses on muni – 7-31-2015 Boulder Daily Camera

It’s time for the city to stop wasting money on municipalization. What is it now close to $20 million?