The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulates Xcel Energy; they have final say over the rates Xcel charges, and the investments they make.
Since 2007 the CPUC has approved three rate increases and has allowed Xcel to build Colorado’s largest coal-fired power plant (Comanche 3) at a cost of nearly $1 billion, waiving their own rules requiring large projects be to be bid competitively.
In doing so, they handed Xcel a windfall profit. Now Xcel wants to double down its long-term coal bets by spending $380 million on the aging Pawnee and Hayden power plants, tying Colorado to this polluting and climate damaging fuel for decades, forcing us to pay for the privilege of burning it.
The CPUC is allowing Xcel to make choices that are bad for rates, good for profits, and which degrade our environment locally and globally. Furthermore, the commission has (at Xcel’s request) begun barring citizen participation in their proceedings. Decisions about our rates, fuel mix, and huge capital expenditures made on our behalf thus stand to be approved without any direct public participation. If we stick with Xcel, we will be stuck with this regulatory system indefinitely.
The governance of a local Boulder utility would be far more accountable, accessible, and transparent. It would not involve constantly battling a well funded corporate adversary. It would reflect Boulder’s core values of sustainability and innovation, and leverage our vibrant community of clean energy entrepreneurs.
We have vastly more access to City Council and the commissioners they appoint than we ever will at the state level. Whatever decisions are made locally, we can be confident that our community will have a voice in the process and truly influence the outcome. Vote Yes on 2B and 2C and give us the power to control our own energy future!
Amy Guinan and Zane Selvans