As many of you know, Ballot Measure 2C, to “explore” municipalization, passed by 1.8% of the vote in November 2011. The idea is that Boulder would investigate taking over responsibility for our energy needs and terminate the relationship with Xcel.
I can’t claim that I’m an expert on all such energy matters, but it sounded like a bad idea. The notion that a town with less than 100,000 people would be able to efficiently provide electrical service (especially when service interruptions occur) seemed unlikely. Of course the issue became more political than analytical quickly.
When the measure passed, City Council promised a publicly-available decision plan with decision “off-ramps” to terminate proceeding with municipalization. These off ramps would be for things like financial feasibility, electric power rate equivalence, and equivalent reliability to existing Xcel service.
This Thursday, on November 15, 2012 the City Council will vote on these off ramp metrics. In other words, this is the framework they will rely on to determine whether or not Boulder is going to go-it-alone on power. And I feel these metrics are very flawed and bias the decision to separate, rather than unbiased to get us to the correct decision. I’ve spent time with several folks in the community who are experts on these matters and who are spending their own time and money analyzing these metrics. They are convinced they are flawed and I’m convinced their scientific method is sound.
Make no mistake about it. If Boulder screws this up, the city probably goes bankrupt in my opinion.
From independent analysis and reference, the “off ramp” decision metrics currently proposed do not represent the financial risks, potential reliability impairments, or increases in electric power rates that would result from a city municipalization of Xcel’s assets. Alternatives have been provided by knowledgable citizens, a city council member, and the Boulder Chamber of Commerce.
We seem to be speeding past the OFF RAMPS in the drive toward municipalization. Backing up on this busy highway is unlikely.
What should you do?
Write your Boulder City Council an e-mail or letter stating that you do not support a vote for adequacy of the “off-ramp” decision metrics proposed by Heather Bailey (which are the current metrics). They do not represent our risks of greatly increased electric rates, reduced reliability, and unsupportable bond debt due to creating a Boulder municipal power enterprise.
Please vote NO on proceeding with inadequate decision criteria November 15.
Call council members who have supported proceeding with the current recommendations:
Matt Appelbaum 303-499-8970 firstname.lastname@example.org
KC Becker 303-218-8814 email@example.com
Macon Cowles 303-638-6884 CowlesM@bouldercolorado.gov
Suzanne Jones 720-633-7388 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Morzel 303-815-6723 email@example.com
Tim Plass 720-299-4518 firstname.lastname@example.org
I remain convinced that we can achieve transparent governance and a rational outcome for the municipalization movement – but only if we get concerned citizens and businesses involved in our local democracy. This is worth taking time out of your day and making your voice heard.