There's more on Page 2 >>
By Doug Peeples
SGN News Editor
Boulder, Colorado's unhappiness with power provider Xcel Energy has received quite a lot of news coverage. In January, Smart Grid News ran a story on whether a "messy divorce" might be on the way for the troubled couple. But Boulder isn't the only city considering a breakup with its electric utility.
A New York Times story this week noted that while Boulder's "level of activism may be unusual," interest in pulling out of long-term relationships and going municipal certainly are not. Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, are exploring options and Massachusetts legislators are looking at ways to make it simpler for cities and counties to make the split and go their own way, the story said.
Why? In all cases it's mostly about climate change concerns and the desire for more renewable energy, in addition to concerns over utility responses to power outages. Ursula Schryver, education and customer programs director at the American Public Power Association, was quoted in the Times story as saying "Right now, a lot of communities are looking at it for climate reasons. The biggest benefit about public power is the local control."
Boulder's City Council may decide as soon as next month if it wants to move ahead with plans to develop its own municipal utility. A report released in mid-February includes six paths the city could take including continuing with the status quo, entering into a new type of partnership with Xcel or pursuing its own utility.
Next Page: Options and challenges