In a recent application filed by the City of Boulder, the city changed its approach to the proposed municipal electric utility. There are many facets to the application, but one of the core shifts is abandoning asset acquisition—like the substation currently at 75th and Lookout in Gunbarrel—and spending money instead on new construction.

The catch is this: A realized Boulder electric utility would offer no service to residents outside city limits. This is of particular concern to Gunbarrel, as city limits along Lookout Road divide the area between county residents and Boulder city residents.

The city is also continuing to pursue a possible settlement with Xcel, the privately-held company that currently supplies Boulder residents with electricity.

Recent rulings by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) have forced the city to find another path toward municipalization of an electric utility. In a recent Daily Camera article, writer Alex Burness highlighted these rulings:

When the PUC partially dismissed Boulder’s original application, it ruled that Boulder cannot acquire Xcel facilities that exclusively serve customers outside city limits. The city also cannot force Xcel to share its facilities, the commission said.

Boulder is now waiting for the PUC’s ruling on the updated application, which will determine how the city can and will move forward with its own electric utility.

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