Our message to Boulder City Council re: halting the PUC process

The following email was sent to Boulder City Council on April 11, 2017.

Dear City Council,

My name is Molly Fitzpatrick and I am the Organizing Director with New Era Colorado.

We would again like to express our deep appreciation for your persistent dedication to our community and your diligence on the issue of municipalization. I’m writing to reiterate our position, that continuing the PUC process is critically important for our community.

Our community has worked hard on municipalization for years—through so many elections, council meetings, study sessions, city open houses, and all the hard work that the Energy Future staff has done behind the scenes. Our voters made a bold, forward-thinking choice a long time ago, and they have since affirmed their decision on multiple occasions—what we would argue is the gold standard for a meaningful pursuit like this one. The critical moment—the upcoming PUC hearings—is finally upon us, and it is alarming that we would so hurriedly decide to halt that major step after all of this effort. Especially since, given the workings of the PUC, it is highly unlikely that we could simply hit the pause button on the proceedings and resume them as new post-election if voters rejected the settlement option(s)—which we believe they would. Delays are in Xcel’s interest and Xcel’s interest alone, particularly with the PUC hearings in sight.

On the offers themselves: Xcel’s “best and final” settlement options are weak, and ask the city—and our voters, again who have affirmed their choice on multiple occasions—to resume trusting Xcel to negotiate in good faith in the future, despite our city’s long history of challenging negotiations with them in the past. The franchise agreement, in practice, would be business as usual for Xcel. It’s missing critical accountability mechanisms, and offers little certainty in the pursuit of our community’s climate commitments—and in the process, it puts our energy future right back where it was when we embarked down this path as a community: in Xcel’s hands (particularly because the off-ramp options are quite hollow, in our view). The buyout option is a non-starter in our book and, we would guess, Xcel’s—since they couldn’t be under the illusion that Boulder would pay them so much more than the system is worth.

At every turn, our voters have consistently supported bold action in the face of the climate crisis and they’ve affirmed their support on multiple occasions—we’ve already taken this question to the people and given them a chance to voice support for another direction. And as President Trump is rolling back nearly every bit of progress that we’ve worked for at the national level, it is hard to imagine that our community would choose to cower at this time—and let Xcel lead instead, setting the pace for how we tackle a crisis that threatens life as we know it. The PUC process is literally just weeks away—we must stay the course and pursue the goals that voters have consistently supported.

We strongly urge you to move forward with the PUC process, and avoid any sort of compromise on Boulder’s values for a clean energy future.

Sincerely,

Molly Fitzpatrick
Organizing Director
New Era Colorado

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