Municipality Modeling Results Show Promise for Future Boulder Electric Utility


Boulder City Council released a report on February 21st, 2013 updating the progress on research devoted to the creation of a municipal electric utility. The research analyzed six different options, decided upon by the City Council, with the goal of achieving the community’s energy targets. Out of the six options, one was a control (i.e., to stay with Xcel Energy), and the other five options analyzed creating its own utility. The latter determined whether parting from Xcel Energy would eliminate regulation and control from Xcel, while remaining cost effective.

The Boulder community has been forthright throughout the decision-making process about what conditions they have deemed necessary for such a transition. These provisions included an energy portfolio that focused on reducing its dependence on fossil fuels through the use of renewable technologies, while providing rates and reliability comparable to or better than those provided by Xcel Energy. Furthermore, the people of Boulder have voiced that they want more transparency and control over the energy decision-making process.

The report concluded that a shift from a private to a municipal utility company could: lower utility rates (for residential, commercial, and industrial sectors) projected over an estimated 20 year span, maintain levels of system reliability, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent through an increase in renewable energy production (by more than 54 percent). Further information regarding this report can be found at

Other sources of important information include the report “Carbon Emission Reduction Targets – World and Boulder, as well as a graph to see Boulder and World Carbon Emissions.

Any citizens interested in taking action or providing public feedback can through the following links:

  • Submit any comments, questions, or concerns about the report
  • An online questionnaire that will be available between Feb. 27 and March 27.
  • A conference telephone call designed to focus on rates and reliability from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 (please register in advance)
  • Further questions of the options on the city’s new digital town hall platform, Inspire Boulder
  • Attend the community open house that will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, at the West Senior Center, 909 W. Arapahoe Ave. This open house will explore the pros and cons of each of the modeled options.

On Tuesday April 16th, a public hearing will be held and a council vote will take place on the publicly viewed strategies.

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