City of Boulder Ballot Question 2E
Electric Utility Amendments, $214 million acquisition debt limit and superseding other initiatives
This is the ballot question that was added by the Boulder City Council as a response to the Xcel-backed ballot Question 310.
If Question 2E passes, it would amend Boulder’s Home Rule Charter by setting a $214 million limit on the bonds or other debt obligations that the city could issue for the purpose of acquiring Xcel’s electric system assets and paying the company’s stranded costs should the city move forward with its plans to create a city-owned electric utility. Question 2E would also allow the approximately 7,000 county residents living outside city limits, but who would get their electricity from a newly formed City of Boulder electric utility if the municipalization process is successful, the opportunity to serve on the city utility’s advisory board.
One of the primary reasons the city has put forward this question with its $214 million limit is to combat the very high figures being put forward by anti-municipalization proponents supported by Xcel, whose flyers and other advertising have been making claims that the city may have to spend more than $600 million to acquire the company’s fixed assets and pay it for its stranded costs.
The city has long claimed that these higher figures are greatly exaggerated and that it would not move forward with its municipilization plans if it had to spend that much on the initial acquisition.
Question 2E could be thought of as the City of Boulder’s way of guaranteeing voters that it won’t overspend to create its own utility.
Voters should also be aware that if both Questions 2E and 310 pass, then the question that receives the most votes will be the one that the city implements.
It’s really a shame that the city felt it even needed to put forward Question 2E in order to combat the Xcel-backed question 310. That’s because the real issue of municipilizing is not which future provider, Xcel or the city, can save us a few cents on our electric bill. The real issue of creating a city-owned utility is global warming. Another new study found that in just 47 years, the coldest day on Earth (taking all temperatures around the globe, both winter and summer, and averaging them together) will be hotter than the hottest day on Earth in 2000.
If you believe that a utility owned and operated by the people of Boulder will be more committed to finding sustainable sources of energy than a utility owned by Xcel, whose primary legal obligation is to return the maximum profit possible to its shareholders, then vote yes on 2E.
And besides, its very likely that residents will pay less for electricity through a city-owned utility than they do through Xcel because the city doesn’t have to generate excess revenue as profit. But the main reason to vote yes on 2E is for the health of the planet and our children and children’s children.
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