12:29pm

Wed August 17, 2011
Business

Boulder Voters to Decide Utility Measure in November

After months of debate the Boulder City Council unanimously decided Tuesday night to let voters have the final say on whether the city should leave Xcel Energy and create their own utility.

The push is largely driven by a desire to have more power coming from renewable sources such as wind and solar – and because the city let its 20 year franchise agreement with Xcel expire last year. But just how much the project will cost is still unknown.

“Xcel says that the city is vastly underestimating how much it would cost to create its own utility and the true cost probably won’t be known until after this ballot is either voted on in favor or against by the voters,” says Boulder County Business Report Publisher Chris Wood.

City officials left some wiggle room in the ballot proposal if it’s approved and not economically viable. The vote in November would only authorize the city to create a utility. If rejected, Wood says the city could opt to negotiate a new agreement with Xcel in the future.

Voters will also decide on a second measure that would allow the city to increase a four year utility tax that was approved last November.