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Posts from the ‘Xcel’ Category

Municipality Modeling Results Show Promise for Future Boulder Electric Utility

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Boulder City Council released a report on February 21st, 2013 updating the progress on research devoted to the creation of a municipal electric utility. The research analyzed six different options, decided upon by the City Council, with the goal of achieving the community’s energy targets. Out of the six options, one was a control (i.e., to stay with Xcel Energy), and the other five options analyzed creating its own utility. The latter determined whether parting from Xcel Energy would eliminate regulation and control from Xcel, while remaining cost effective.

The Boulder community has been forthright throughout the decision-making process about what conditions they have deemed necessary for such a transition. These provisions included an energy portfolio that focused on reducing its dependence on fossil fuels through the use of renewable technologies, while providing rates and reliability comparable to or better than those provided by Xcel Energy. Furthermore, the people of Boulder have voiced that they want more transparency and control over the energy decision-making process.

The report concluded that a shift from a private to a municipal utility company could: lower utility rates (for residential, commercial, and industrial sectors) projected over an estimated 20 year span, maintain levels of system reliability, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent through an increase in renewable energy production (by more than 54 percent). Further information regarding this report can be found at www.boulderenergyfuture.com.

Other sources of important information include the report “Carbon Emission Reduction Targets – World and Boulder, as well as a graph to see Boulder and World Carbon Emissions.

Any citizens interested in taking action or providing public feedback can through the following links:

  • Submit any comments, questions, or concerns about the report here
  • An online questionnaire that will be available between Feb. 27 and March 27. www.bouldercolorado.gov
  • A conference telephone call designed to focus on rates and reliability from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 (please register in advance)www.bouldercolorado.gov/energyfuture/businesscall
  • Further questions of the options on the city’s new digital town hall platform, Inspire Boulder
  • Attend the community open house that will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, at the West Senior Center, 909 W. Arapahoe Ave. This open house will explore the pros and cons of each of the modeled options.

On Tuesday April 16th, a public hearing will be held and a council vote will take place on the publicly viewed strategies.

Guest Commentary, Leslie Glustrom, Denver Post: Xcel customers must band together to fight hikes

As published on 4/30/2012 in the Denver Post, excerpts from a guest commentary by CEA Research Director, Leslie Glustrom,

“Colorado’s Public Utility Commission has just approved another rate increase for Xcel. If you are an Xcel customer, your electric bill will go up yet again on May 1.

The residential rate increase will be about 5.5 percent phased in over a three-year period and add about $114 million to Xcel’s annual revenue. This is on top of rate increases in 2007, 2009 and 2010 that raised residential bills by about 20 percent. Commercial and industrial customers will see lower percentage increases.

So what is driving these rate increases? The answer is clear: Most of the hikes are associated with Xcel’s investments in fossil-fuel resources. The 2007, 2009 and 2010 rate increases were largely driven by the need to begin recovering the nearly $1 billion that Xcel spent on the new Unit 3 coal plant in Pueblo, which helps serve Xcel’s Denver metro load.

The largest driver for the May rate increase has been Xcel’s decision to terminate its wholesale contract with Black Hills Energy, which serves Pueblo and the Arkansas River Valley. Xcel’s request to have retail ratepayers make up for the lost revenue was strongly opposed by many experts testifying on Xcel’s current rate increase. These experts pointed out that business decisions made on Xcel’s wholesale side should not add to the financial burden of Xcel’s retail customers who bore no responsibility for Xcel’s decision.

Why are the Public Utilities Commission and the Office of Consumer Counsel — which are supposed to represent residential, agricultural and small-business ratepayers — not fighting these rate increases harder? The staff at the PUC and the OCC include many hard-working and dedicated analysts, but Xcel is a very large monopoly with more than $3 billion in revenues each year. Moreover, all of Xcel’s rate case costs are referred to as “costs of business” and are passed on to ratepayers.

There are solutions, but in order to achieve them, ratepayers will have to band together in the face of Xcel’s tremendous financial and political strength.”

Leslie Glustrom (lglustrom@gmail.com) is director of research and policy for Clean Energy Action.

For original article in its entirety: Guest Commentary: Xcel customers must band together to fight hikes – The Denver Post

Move Beyond Valmont: A Request for Action

This Earth Day, 4/22/12, The Repower Valmont Coalition published an op-ed in the Daily Camera laying out how an earlier closure of the Valmont Coal Plant would be a positive move for the company based on economic, human health, and environmental realities.

If you support an earlier closure of Valmont, please send an email to one of the following decision makers:

Xcel Energy Board of Directors, boardofdirectors@xcelenergy.com

Boulder County Commissioners, commissioners@bouldercounty.org

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To view the entire Daily Camera click here.

Op-ed excerpts:

For years the citizens of this community have rallied against the coal-fired Valmont Generating Station, and, in the past few months, the plant has come under scrutiny as new contamination concerns at the Valmont Butte area have begun to circulate. Right now Boulder County leaders are being called upon to address the contamination concerns from the past mining and dumping at the Butte area. While this review is under way, we also request that Xcel Energy take a serious look at their operations at the Valmont coal plant.

A golden opportunity exists for Xcel to prove itself as a community leader by addressing the on-site contamination, tackling the issue of climate disruption, and stabilizing electric rates by accelerating the planned 2017 closure of the Valmont Generating Station. It is time to ramp up energy generation by clean, local, renewable sources, instead of coal. At the Valmont Generating Station, that transition can happen now.

The newly formed Beyond Valmont Coalition is working on behalf of our community to ask Xcel Energy President David Eves to do just that — accelerate the planned closure of Valmont. Doing so would have a positive impact on the local environment, consumer rates, public health, and Xcel Energy, itself.

As the largest provider of electricity in Colorado, ratepayers look to Xcel to provide the cleanest energy at the cheapest prices. Xcel could become a champion for our community, a leader for clean energy in the utility industry, and a good actor for ratepayers and stockholders’ interests by retiring the Valmont coal-fired power plant right now.

– The Repower Valmont Coalition is comprised of: 350.org, Clean Energy Action, Colorado Ocean Coalition, Earth Guardians, Front Range Rising Tide, Greenpeace, PLAN-Boulder, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Sierra Club, and Wild Earth Guardians.