12:48pm

Tue January 7, 2014
Energy

Boulder Requests Utility Grid Costs From Xcel

Boulder officials have taken a significant step toward bringing the electric grid under city management. City officials sent a notice of intent to current operator Xcel Energy announcing plans to acquire parts of the electric infrastructure. The letter kicks off discussions on cost for the city — but there are limits.

In November voters approved 2E, which limits the total cost for acquisition at $214 million. According to The Denver Post, rough price estimates have ranged from as low as $150 million to Xcel’s $500 million estimate.

One sticking point right now in the process has to do with acquiring substations that serve about 6,000 customers in unincorporated Boulder County.

“There are issues about who has the jurisdiction to ensure reliability in those areas. The [Colorado] Public Utilities Commission has said — and the city actually agrees — that it has a responsibility and authority to ensure that those customers receive reliable service. So there is likely to be some action that we need to take in front of the PUC to present our plan,” said Boulder spokeswoman Sarah Huntley.

Boulder is pursuing the municipal utility plan to meet renewable energy and other goals. The process was formally started in 2011 when voters approved a plan to study the issue.

Xcel Energy has 90 days to respond to the notice.

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