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Local news roundup with the Colorado Sun - 7/21/22

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Every Thursday, we talk with our colleagues over at the Colorado Sun about the local stories they're following.

KUNC's Samantha Coetzee spoke with David Krause about the anniversary of the Aurora theater shooting and solar power costs.

Interview Highlights:

These interview highlights have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Samantha Coetzee: So, to start, yesterday was the ten-year anniversary of the deadly theater shooting in Aurora. The Sun visited some of the families of the victims to talk about how they are remembering the day. Can you talk to us about what you heard?

David Krause: You know, there's been a lot of really moving coverage this week to mark the anniversary, the ten-year anniversary of the theater shooting. And these kind of remembrance stories can be difficult to report and write. But Sun reporter John Ingold, I think, did a wonderful job on a very difficult topic. And Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was killed that night, was gracious in opening up about the challenges for the families. And John really looked into the increase in gun deaths in the state since that horrible night. But he also gave a voice to the families who were affected and how they are trying to continue to make a difference and keep alive the memories of their loved ones.

You know, a lot of us can't imagine what those parents have gone through, but anyone who is a parent can really connect with what Tom Sullivan talked to John about the sorrow of the past decade. And Tom is a state rep, a lot of people know, and continues to work on gun legislation. Earlier this month, Tom was at the South Lawn of the White House and talked to John about being at the signing of the Safer Communities Act.

He worked his way to the front of the crowd and got some face time with President Biden. And they talked about losing a son. You know, some people might recall that in 2021, President Biden came to Aurora to mourn with the community. And Tom drew a line between those events. And one of the observations I think, that really got me was when he told John, you know, when Alex was murdered, the president came to us. But now, ten years later, it happens so frequently that you kind of have to go to them and remind them of what's going on here.

I think those are the things that people need to remember and talk about as we go through it. And there are some people who are deeply affected by the mass shooting but are still finding a path to help others.

Coetzee: Thank you so much for taking the time to cover that. Moving on, it looks like Colorado solar owners are in a tricky spot with Xcel Energy. Can you tell us more about what's been going on?

Krause: Yes, thanks. You know, I used to be a solar power owner as well when we lived in the Denver area. And, you know, this is a really interesting story for anybody who has solar on their homes now or is thinking about it. Colorado Sun environmental reporter Michael Booth looked into the Xcel program, where homeowners with solar setups now are sending power back to excel and getting paid $0.08 a kilowatt hour. And then the company turns around and sells that for $0.17 an hour.

However, more than 60,000 Colorado homeowners with solar panels on their roofs right now don't yet have access to the power company's new smart meters that allow Xcel to charge or even give credits at different peak times or off-peak rates during the day, under the system called time-of-use. Those home solar producers won't benefit from the utility's new timer use rates until late next year at the earliest, missing two summers of generation. What has really frustrated these homeowners and solar advocates is Xcel has known since 2016 that a new rate was coming and didn't get these smart meters rolled out in time.

Most solar owners have to wait for full benefits until after Xcel installs smart meters for all of their 1.5 million electric customers. It serves the trade group. A lot of the trade groups are really furious and upset at Xcel's slow rollout for the customers of these smart meters.

As the host of Morning Edition at KUNC, I have the privilege of delivering you the news in two ways — from behind the mic and behind the scenes. In addition to hosting Morning Edition, I’ll report on pressing news of the day and arts and culture on the Front Range.
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