Vote no on 310
As the franchise with Xcel ends, Boulder wishes to create a municipal utility (muni) — an improvement indeed!
The very responsible and locally owned utility Public Service Company, Xcel’s predecessor, was very personable to its customers. It merged into New Century Energies, later into Xcel, based in faraway Minnesota. Xcel may acquire more utilities or be acquired, such as by PG&E, OG&E or Entergy. Merged corporations tend to have poorer customer service, more focus on corporate profits and massive layoffs; consider our current national unemployment.
Xcel recently injected $300K into the election to “level the playing field.” They’ve already spent a boatload of money for negative ads and misinformation about other successful munis around the country; look at the numerous Daily Camera full-page ads to promote issue 310, which they created through a front group. It will severely interfere with city funding to acquire the electric power infrastructure.
A muni will provide reduced energy costs and more choices, since it will be more flexible than a mega-corporation, and hire more local people. Xcel may want you to believe that it promotes solar energy, but only delivered from large solar farms that they control, not from individuals’ rooftops that generate salable energy.
Ironically, Minneapolis, the home office of Xcel, is deciding to also form a muni; they are noting our efforts first — let’s set an example! Libertarians should join liberals to help Boulder secede from Xcel. In the early 1900s Teddy Roosevelt and W.H. Taft busted several large corporations into smaller ones; we need to do the same and take back America from large monopolies and oligopolies — T.R. would be proud of us!
While citizens have little effect on monopolies, you can now affect this outcome by supporting the muni and downsize Xcel by voting NO on 310 and YES on 2E for the fall election. With due respect to George Zimmer: You’re going to look good in a new muni, I guarantee it!
See Boulder Weekly's endorsement of 310 here.
Xcel just raised your rates … again
On Oct. 1, 2013, the Electric Commodity Adjustment (ECA) went up about 2 percent. This rate adjustment is set by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission each quarter and includes the transfer of fossil-fuel cost increases associated with Xcel’s fossil-fuel dominated system. We can expect similar rate increases most quarters as long as Xcel provides our electricity and the price of coal and natural gas continues to rise.
Check out your utility bill — you’ll see the ECA that you’ve probably been ignoring. It is typically the second largest item on your bill and not likely to end soon, since Xcel is tied to its fossil-fuel investments. Its fuel mix is about 80 percent fossil fuel, and its last coal plant is not scheduled to be decommissioned until 2069. Xcel has little incentive to change its fuel sources as long as it can simply pass cost increases on to its ratepayers.
This is the equivalent of me driving a Hummer and sending my fuel bills to you. A good deal if you can get it — which is why Xcel wants to hobble the municipal utility with its ballot issue designed to create obstacles and engender lawsuits, if it passes. And we know who would be liable for the legal expenses — ratepayers and citizens.
On top of the ECA, we’ve had five increases in base rates in the last seven years (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013). Base rates are scheduled to go up again in 2014, and then likely again after Xcel applies for yet another increase.
Staying with Xcel’s fossil-fuel dominated system is a sure path to ever-increasing rates. Don’t be fooled by its slick advertising. Xcel is not protecting ratepayers. It’s protecting itself and its shareholders. Quarter after quarter, year after year.
Vote no on ballot issue 310. Get more information at www.empowerourfuture.org.
No on municipalization
More than 2,200 people from Boulder County have signed a petition to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) (docket number 13D-0498E) opposing the city’s plan for municipalization. Only about 10 support the City of Boulder. This is a good indicator of the level of opposition to our electric service being taken over without a vote. The City of Boulder has yet to produce a public model that does not include serving the county. They seek to take substations and a transmission line that are in the county. According to a city attorney who spoke at a county meeting, the municipalization plan would be nearly impossible without the county being included. The cost to separate the system would be in the tens of millions, but the city doesn’t really know how much. Please join 2,000 residents of Boulder County and oppose the plan by the City of Boulder to provide electric service.
Here is a link to the PUC website: www.dora.state.co.us/pls/efi/EFI_ Search_UI.search. Search docket number 13D-0498E.
Jill Hammel/via Internet
Lafayette fracking ban
This week we learned that the oil and gas industry is throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars against local ballot initiatives delaying or prohibiting drilling in city limits. Having failed at keeping a democratic vote on Lafayette drilling and community rights off the November ballot, the oil and gas industry has now fallen back on its mercenaries in the corporate PR firms.
The numbers involved with oil and gas development are telling in themselves. According to Forbes, the individual yearly compensation shared by James Hacket, CEO of Anadarko, and Nobel Energy CEO Charles Davidson is larger than $50 million. Putting this in perspective, Lafayette’s annual budget is only around $47 million. If we are wondering what the intense motivation is of this industry, we don’t have to look very far.
Lafayette is clearly in the crosshairs of what will now become a major corporate PR adventure. The industry is going to hope it can swing public opinion with money so that our town can become their next gas field, and the money line can keep flowing. The flyers, mailings, commercials and talking points will let us know all of the standard board-room angles, and behind them all is the position that our community will is secondary to corporate mineral interests.
Lafayette, a small city of 24,000, will now weigh a question that places the Lafayette Community Rights Act and corporate revenue on opposite sides of the scale. In the end, we also have our own numbers, and they are based in families, schools and homes that are asserting themselves over an inherently short-termed and dangerous industry.
The number that stands out against all corporate spending remains that of the ballot initiative itself. Vote yes on Proposition 300 — the Lafayette Community Rights Act to Ban Hydraulic Fracturing.
See Boulder Weekly's endorsement of 300 here.
Why would we want to advocate for jobs that create nosebleeds, headaches and burning skin rashes?
Why would Lafayette want jobs that have the potential for swarms of minor quakes near injection wells from powerful earthquakes thousands of miles away?
Why have jobs in Lafayette that need millions of gallons of water to be injected underground and fracking companies to compete with farming, domestic use and other industries for an increasingly scarce resource?
I don’t want jobs that lead to polluting our waters where radioactive pollution in Pennsylvania rivers, even after waste water was treated at the plant to remove dangerous chemicals, had radium levels 200 times greater than control water from the area.
I surely don’t want to advocate for jobs that have the potential for adrenal tumors.
Why advocate for jobs that will not bring wealth and social harmony, where workers are often not local, where infrastructure is laid to waste by the industry?
Why advocate for jobs where people more often lose their homes because fracking occurs too close to their property for safety and land value drops?
Yes, ban fracking, ban these kinds of jobs. Keep our community healthy by voting yes on Ballot Issue 300, Lafayette’s Community Rights Bill. And vote for Merrily Mazza, Tom Dowling and Cliff Smedley, candidates who support 300!