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CALL TO ACTION: Public Removed from “Public” Utilities Commission

Clean Energy Action’s Research Director, Leslie Glustrom, has recently been barred from intervening as an individual citizen in two cases before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the agency that regulates such issues as Xcel Energy’s ability to increase consumer rates, to modify existing coal plants, or to convert coal plants to natural gas plants. This decision by the PUC potentially sets the precedent of ending over 40 years of public participation.

The statute, CRS 40-6-109, (summarized below) states that Colorado law allows anyone who is “interested in or affected by” a decision to formally participate in the intervention process at the Public Utilities Commission, and that they are allowed to do that either “in person or by attorney.” Under this statutory authority and representing herself, Glustrom has interevened on a voluntary basis in numerous dockets that affect Colorado rate payers.

However, the Chairman of the Colorado PUC, Josh Epel, has recently ruled that he does not intend to follow the previous interpretation of the above-mentioned statute.  Glustrom has appealed the PUC decision (C11-0987) to ban her participation arguing a constitutional right to due process and that this right to intervene and participate fully is also provided by Colorado statutes.

The key points of the Commission’s decision and Glustrom’s response are found in this “RRR” (Rehearing, Reargument or Reconsideration) document.

More information can be found at Clean Energy Action’s webpage: Public Utilities Commission.

The exact date when the Commission will rule on Glustrom’s appeal is not known, but is expected to be at a Wednesday morning PUC meeting. Clean Energy Action will let you know when the date is announced in hopes that you can attend in solidarity and to be a witness to how the Colorado PUC decides on whether there will be any “public” at the Public Utilities Commission. Business attire and respectful behavior are kindly requested. There will be no opportunity for public comment.

If you would like to take additional action, contact your legislator — or write the boardofdirectors@xcelenergy.com and let them know you want the public to be able to participate in decisions affecting your rates and utility investment decisions.

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