I am alarmed by Xcel’s request to place the company’s “partnership” idea on the November ballot. The partnership is a 20-year contract committing Boulder to purchase wind energy exclusively from Xcel. The Xcel plan was hastily cobbled up as the City drafted its own ballot proposal to create a municipal electric utility. A “muni” would be owned and operated by the City. A muni makes its own decisions, sets rates and buys electricity from a variety of sources including renewable energy suppliers.
If Council grants Xcel’s request, they will be acting to defeat their own proposal. The muni plan would have to run against two pro-Xcel opponents (a “no” vote and the Xcel plan) rather than just the “no” vote. The Xcel proposal would simply function as a spoiler. Voters might also think Council is unsure which idea is best. Uncertainty inspires more “no” votes. Even if both measures are defeated, Xcel will win.
Passage of 2B last year clearly demonstrated a big majority of Boulder voters prefer a clear alternative to Xcel and its coal power. The Council should allow a vote on that alternative without cluttering the ballot with another Xcel franchise scheme.