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Boulder’s Energy Future Project and Municipalization Exploration Study Agenda. The Municipalization Exploration Project and Why It’s Important Where We Are Now Where We Are Going Work Plan Schedule Key Engagement Points Council Decision Points.

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Boulder’s Energy Future Project and Municipalization Exploration Study



  • The Municipalization Exploration Project and Why It’s Important
  • Where We Are Now
  • Where We Are Going
    • Work Plan
    • Schedule
    • Key Engagement Points
    • Council Decision Points

Municipalization Exploration Project

Oobjective: To evaluate strategies for a city-owned electric utility that support community goals and guiding principles, determine whether those strategies can meet city charter test for municipalization, and to provide City Council with a preferred strategy and recommendation on whether to proceed with municipalization, or not.

To answer the questions:

  • Can we municipalize? – Meets Charter reqs
  • Should we municipalize? – Adds value

Why Boulder is on this path

  • Seeking new ways to achieve community greenhouse gas reduction and climate change mitigation goals
  • To give the community access to:
    • Reliable power that is increasingly clean and competitively priced
    • Local decision-making authority on where power comes from and new investments in emerging technology

Energy Future Work Plan: Timeline

Phase 1: Develop StrategiesPost Nov. 2011 Election to 1st Qtr 2013

Phase 2: Strategy Implementation

1st Qtr 2013 to ? (1-5 years)

Phase 3: Operationalize Strategies

Upon Completion of Phase II

formulating a strategy
Formulating a Strategy

What do we mean by strategy?

  • How and where we get our energy resources
  • What business structure meets financial targets
  • What assets do we need to serve our community
  • What investments do we need to make in electric infrastructure
  • How we achieve excellent reliability
  • Other components needed to support the community goals

Where we are now: Work Plan


      • Roadmap for creating utility of the future
        • We don’t want to recreate what Xcel has built
      • Gain community support and/or understanding of outcome (address as many concerns as possible)
      • Ensure integrity of the process
      • Documentation for third-party evaluation
  • Consultants, technical engineers, local academics, community stakeholders and other interested individuals all contributing to analysis

Charter Requirements & Metrics

  • Charter requirements are absolute conditions that must be met prior to creating a utility.
    • These are the “floor” or baseline requirements
    • Won’t be the only criteria that will be used to make a decision on moving forward.
  • If Charter requirements are met, we will know that we CAN, but we still won’t know if we SHOULD.
    • Analysis in Phase II will determine if enough value will be added to the community by forming municipal electric utility.
where we are now
Where we are now
  • Formed stakeholder working groups
  • Hired consultants to support financial, separation, reliability, and decision analysis work
  • Developed and refined cost and resource models
  • Collecting and vetting data and assumptions

GOAL – refine existing cost model to accept more complex inputs and provide more complete outputs to show financial viability of proposed strategies.

evaluation of risk benefits impacts
Evaluation of Risk & Benefits/Impacts

Risk Assessment is part of entire work plan and is critical to understanding impact of various strategies

  • Strategies will be vetted for economic and community benefits/impacts
  • Risks will be identified, as well as ways to mitigate
  • Opportunities will also be identified, and seized, if possible
  • Modeling value and risk with assistance from a top economic expert in this field

Next Steps

  • Intense work plan analysis by staff and work groups over next three months
    • Finalize 20-year models and integrate between financial, resource, and decision analysis
    • Collect data and do projections of cost, load growth, etc.
  • Review best practices and benchmark with comparable municipal utilities
  • Develop risk matrix and prioritize strategies
  • Synthesize work group recommendations and rank using cost, risk, value criteria

Next Steps

  • Community review of strategy(ies):
  • The public’s chance to provide feedback
    • Follow progress on website – each working group has a web page
    • Public outreach
    • December 11 Council roundtable and workshop – present white paper and project update
    • Public comment - Jan. 21 to Jan. 31
      • Review and comment electronically
      • Tentative plans for community meeting

Next Steps

  • Strategy presentation to City Council in the first quarter of 2013
    • Council will advise on moving forward
    • Will be an “off-ramp” opportunity
  • Post March 2013
    • Develop plan for implementation of Strategy
    • Legal filings, if required

You May Have Heard…

Inaccurate information circulating through the community:

  • Process hasn’t been clear and transparent and we’re not releasing consultant information.
    • Almost all project documentation, aside from some confidential legal work, is available at, including information on paid and volunteer consultants, budget figures, and consultant reports.

You May Have Heard…

  • Industrial and commercial businesses will leave if we move forward, because rates will go up and reliability will be an issue.
    • Ongoing contact with both sectors, and have included them in our work as much as possible.
    • Per voter-approved Charter, city would have to meet or beat Xcel’s rates at start-up, and reliability would have to be at least as good as Xcel’s currently is. Will be held to same NERC standards.
    • In some communities, munis and related rates are a huge draw for business

You May Have Heard…

  • Metrics created so city can avoid off-ramps, and March decision is last off-ramp opportunity.
    • Metrics aren’t only decision criteria. They determine if city can meet the Charter requirements and answer “CAN we municipalize?”
    • Community adopted goals will also be used in decision analysis process to answer “SHOULD we municipalize?”
      • Need to consider value added

You May Have Heard…

  • City will have to annex county enclaves and subdivisions
    • Not a foregone conclusion
    • City has communicated with neighbors about the separation evaluation that is occurring now and pledged to keep open lines of dialogue
    • Lawyers examining possibility that city could provide electric service to areas that are not within city limits with PUC oversight of rates, if any higher than in-city rates
get involved today
Get Involved Today

Follow along at

  • Sign up for E-News reports and monthly newsletter
  • Use online comment form for questions/feedback
  • Invite us to present at your meeting

Provide feedback on specific questions/areas at

  • Strategies will be vetted here

Contact Heather Bailey with questions/comments

  • or 303-441-1923