Boulder Chamber Hosts Town Hall Regarding Municipalization with Xcel Energy and City Leaders

The Boulder Chamber hosted a virtual town hall with Boulder City Council leadership and Xcel Energy executives to update business leadership and residents on the status of negotiations to address the City’s clean energy goals and Xcel’s desire for a renewed franchise agreement.

After a decade of analysis, community debate and legal wrangling in the City of Boulder’s exploration of creating a city-run, community-owned electric utility, conversations have renewed with Xcel Energy to find an alternate approach. On Monday, the Boulder Chamber hosted a Town Hall with Boulder City Council leadership and Xcel Energy executives to update local business leadership and interested residents on the status of negotiations to address the City’s clean energy goals and Xcel’s desire for a renewed franchise agreement.

“The Boulder Chamber is a committed partner in thoughtful efforts to achieve our clean energy and climate protection goals, while ensuring our community maintains access to reliable energy resources at cost efficient rates,” said John Tayer, Boulder Chamber President and CEO. “We’ve encouraged the City of Boulder to work collaboratively with Xcel Energy to achieve our balanced energy goals, so we’re excited that they are now back at the negotiation table.”

Boulder Chamber members provided important perspectives during the conversation. Some cited concerns about energy rates and reliability under a municipal electric system. A leader with the federal labs noted Xcel’s progress in renewable energy and its cutting-edge engagement with local wind researchers. Other members emphasized the complexity, timing and cost of the City creating its own electric utility.

The City is currently facing a $40M budget shortfall due to financial pressures related to COVID-19 and its significant impact on decreased sales tax revenue. This challenging financial picture, the extended timing anticipated to launch a city-run utility and Xcel’s renewable energy advancements are among changes in the landscape that have generated further impetus for the type of negotiated agreement the Boulder Chamber has advocated for as the most promising path to achieve the City’s energy goals. Conversations will continue in the coming months, with one possible scenario entailing  a vote on a new franchise agreement with Xcel that ends the municipalization process on the November ballot.

Click here to see the slide deck from the Town Hall meeting, and click here to view the recording of the conversation. Click here for more background on the negotiations between Xcel and the City of Boulder. Finally, if you would like to to weigh in on the conversation, you can email feedback to council@bouldercolorado.gov. Beyond that, we will keep our Boulder Chamber membership apprised of further developments on this front as we work to support a positive outcome from the negotiations, with both economic and environmental benefits.

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