Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

City of Boulder Public Service Company Franchise Ballot Question 2C

City of Boulder Public Service Company Franchise Ballot Question 2CShall the City of Boulder grant a franchise to Public Service Company of Colorado to furnish, sell, and distribute gas and electricity to the City and to all persons, businesses, and industries within the City and the right to make reasonable use of all streets and other public places and public easements as may be necessary as described in Ordinance 8410?Major ProvisionsReferred to voters by the City Council, the question is whether to grant a 20-year franchise, January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2040, to Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy) to provide gas and electricity in the city using city streets and other public places and public easements. The franchise suspends the city’s efforts to create a municipal electric utility.The franchise fee would be 3% of Xcel’s gross revenues in the city. Boulder customers would pay a surcharge on their Xcel bill which would be passed on to the city each month. Street lighting, traffic signal lighting, and other city purchases of utilities would be exempt from the franchise fee.The Settlement Agreement package is detailed in several public documents: the Franchise Agreement (attached to Ordinance 8410 which put the question on the ballot), the Settlement Agreement, Energy Partnership Agreement, and Load Interconnection Agreement. If ballot question 2C passes, the City Council will pass an ordinance that grants the franchise.The lengthy documents include standard material for utility franchises, citations of state law, and provisions negotiated with the city of Boulder in particular. - Xcel will reduce its greenhouse-gas emission levels by 80% from 2005 levels by 2030, and help Boulder achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030. - With approval of a two-thirds of City Council or a majority of the voters, the city can terminate the franchise at six opt-out points, three of them at its own discretion (2026, 2031, 2036) plus three if Xcel does not meet stated benchmarks for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions (2023, 2025, 2028). - The city and Xcel will settle any current disputes, including the city’s effort to condemn Xcel’s assets in an attempt to acquire them for municipalization. The pending condemnation case will be dismissed by both parties; Boulder will withdraw a settlement offer from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Xcel will dismiss its pending award of attorneys’ fees; and neither Xcel nor Boulder will seek or receive any award of cost or attorneys’ fees arising from pending litigation. - Xcel will allow the city to use its trenches and poles for municipal broadband cables. - Xcel will invest $33 million in the undergrounding of overhead electrical lines for improved reliability and aesthetics. - The settlement includes a partnership agreement whereby the city collaborates with Xcel on local projects and initiatives that support clean energy, such as updating Boulder’s electric grid. - Xcel will help Boulder pursue statewide energy-related legislative change, such as lifting the cap on energy that can be generated from solar panels. - The city’s Utility Occupation Tax, levied on Xcel in lieu of a franchise fee, will end.A yes vote on 2C means that the city grants the franchise and suspends municipalization efforts. Xcel collects a franchise fee and passes it on to the city. The city’s Utility Occupation Tax (UOT) ends.A no vote on 2C means that the city continues municipalization efforts and Xcel continues to provide service. Xcel continues through 2022 to collect the UOT and pass it on to the city.BackgroundThe City Charter requires franchises to be approved by City Council by ordinance and submitted to a vote of the city electors. In 2010, City Council voted not to negotiate a new PSCO franchise but to let the 20-year agreement expire at the end of 2010. Xcel continued to provide service, as mandated by the Colorado Public Utility Commission. In November, 2010, to replace the lost franchise fee revenue, voters approved Council’s proposal of a Utility Occupation Tax collected by Xcel and passed on to the city’s general fund. In November, 2011, voters approved exploring the creation of a municipal electric utility and increasing the UOT by an amount dedicated to municipalization. The UOT is set to expire on December 31, 2022._______________________Ciudad de Boulder Pregunta de votación 2CFranquicia de empresa de servicio público¿Debería la Ciudad de Boulder otorgar una franquicia a la Compañía de Servicios Públicos de Colorado para suministrar, vender y distribuir gas y electricidad a la Ciudad y a todas las personas, negocios e industrias dentro de la Ciudad y el derecho de hacer un uso razonable de todas las calles y demás espacios y servicios públicos que puedan ser necesarios tal y como se describe en la Ordenanza 8410?Disposiciones importantesReferido a los votantes por el Concejo Municipal, la pregunta es si se debe otorgar una franquicia de 20 años, desde el 1 de enero del 2021 hasta el 31 de diciembre del 2040, a una empresa de servicios públicos de Colorado (PSCo, una subsidiaria de Xcel Energy) para proporcionar gas y electricidad en la ciudad utilizando las calles de la ciudad y demás espacios y servicios públicos. La franquicia suspende los esfuerzos de la ciudad de crear una empresa eléctrica municipal.La tarifa de la franquicia sería del 3% de los ingresos brutos de Xcel en la ciudad. Los clientes de Boulder pagarían un recargo en su factura de Xcel la cual se transferiría mensualmente a la ciudad. El alumbrado público, la iluminación de señales de tráfico y demás compras de servicios públicos de la ciudad estarían exentos de la tarifa de franquicia.El paquete del Acuerdo de conciliación se detalla en varios documentos públicos: el Acuerdo de franquicia (adjunto a la Ordenanza 8410 que puso la pregunta en la boleta electoral), el Acuerdo de conciliación, el Acuerdo de asociación energética y el Acuerdo de interconexión de carga. Si se aprueba la pregunta 2C de la boleta electoral, el Concejo Municipal aprobará una ordenanza que otorga la franquicia.Los extensos documentos incluyen material estándar para franquicias de servicios públicos, citas de la ley estatal y disposiciones negociadas particularmente con la ciudad de Boulder. - Xcel reducirá sus niveles de emisión de gases de efecto invernadero en un 80% desde los niveles de 2005 para 2030, y ayudará a Boulder a lograr su objetivo de energía 100% renovable para 2030. - Con la aprobación de dos tercios del Concejo Municipal o la mayoría de los votantes, la ciudad puede rescindir la franquicia en seis puntos de exclusión, tres de ellos a su propia discreción (2026, 2031, 2036) más tres si Xcel lo no cumple con los parámetros establecidos para reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (2023, 2025, 2028). - La ciudad y Xcel resolverán cualquier disputa actual, incluido el esfuerzo de la ciudad de condenar los activos de Xcel en un intento de adquirirlos para la municipalización. El caso de condena pendiente será desestimado por ambas partes; Boulder retirará una oferta de liquidación de la Comisión Reguladora de Energía Federal; Xcel desestimará su adjudicación pendiente de honorarios de abogados; y ni Xcel ni Boulder buscarán ni recibirán ninguna indemnización por costos u honorarios de abogados que surjan de un litigio pendiente. - Xcel permitirá que la ciudad utilice sus trincheras y postes para cables municipales de banda ancha. - Xcel invertirá $ 33 millones en la instalación subterránea de líneas eléctricas aéreas para mejorar la confiabilidad y la estética. - El acuerdo incluye un acuerdo de asociación mediante el cual la ciudad colabora con Xcel en proyectos e iniciativas locales que apoyan la energía limpia, como la actualización de la red eléctrica de Boulder. - Xcel ayudará a Boulder a lograr cambios legislativos relacionados con la energía en todo el estado, como levantar el límite de la energía que se puede generar a partir de paneles solares. - El impuesto de ocupación de servicios públicos de la ciudad, que se aplica a Xcel en lugar de una tarifa de franquicia, cesará.Un voto a favor de 2C significa que la ciudad otorga la franquicia y suspende los esfuerzos de municipalización. Xcel cobra una tarifa de franquicia y la transfiere a la ciudad. Finaliza el impuesto de ocupación de servicios públicos (UOT) de la ciudad.Un voto no a 2C significa que la ciudad continúa con los esfuerzos de municipalización y Xcel continúa brindando servicio. Xcel continúa hasta 2022 para recoger el UOT y pasarlo a la ciudad.AntecedentesLa Carta de la Ciudad requiere que las franquicias sean aprobadas por el Concejo Municipal por ordenanza y sometidas a votación de los electores de la ciudad. En el 2010, el Concejo Municipal votó no para negociar una nueva franquicia de PSCO, sino para dejar que el acuerdo de 20 años expirara a finales del 2010. Xcel continuó brindando servicio, según lo ordenado por la Comisión de Servicios Públicos de Colorado. En noviembre del 2010, para reemplazar los ingresos por tarifas de franquicia perdidos, los votantes aprobaron la propuesta del Concejo de un impuesto sobre la ocupación de servicios públicos recaudado por Xcel y transferido al fondo general de la ciudad. En noviembre del 2011, los votantes aprobaron explorar la creación de una empresa eléctrica municipal y aumentar el UOT en una cantidad dedicada a la municipalización. La UOT expirará el 31 de diciembre del 2022.

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Yes - For the Measure

  • No - Against the Measure

• The proposed franchise and settlement agreements are the best offer the city has received from Xcel and the city’s best chance of achieving its renewable-energy goals. They include opt-out opportunities should Xcel not meet the stated goals.

• After ten years of effort and close to a $30 million investment we are no closer to the tactical goal of municipalization.

• Xcel has made great strides in transitioning to clean energy; the proposed franchise codifies a meaningful transition. We should let Xcel manage distribution while Boulder focuses on acquiring renewable energy as the franchise permits.

• Because of the pandemic and decreased sales tax revenue, the city’s finances no longer support pursuing municipalization. Fundamental city services suffer. If the city continues to fight, its legal fund will be used up in 2022 and Council will need to ask voters to approve more taxes.

• Our tax dollars are better spent lobbying for state-wide efforts than on attorneys' fees and an uncertain outcome should the issues go to trial.

• Experience teaches that neither a muni nor a regulated utility is “better” than the other. The grass is not always greener, and a muni won’t solve all problems. In a pandemic, a municipal utility would have to raise rates.

• Instead of municipalization, which means paying for and dealing with old wires and poles and transformers, Boulder should focus on direct benefits of renewables, efficiency in buildings, and clean transportation.

• There is plenty of time for the details to be aired before the election.
• The complicated documents (100 pages of fine print) need to be evaluated by Boulder's business community like any other business deal. Xcel is not a normal business but rather a monopoly which protects its own interests.

• Granting the franchise would mean abandoning a decade of work toward municipalization and an investment of $20 million or more.

• Xcel’s goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 80% by 2030 (Colorado state law) is incompatible with Boulder’s goal of being 100% renewable (wind, solar) by the same time. It is unclear how many non-renewable energy sources that don’t release carbon Xcel would pursue.

• The franchise agreements weaken Boulder’s energy autonomy and free-market access, locking the city into a bad deal and monopoly control. Colorado cities with municipal electric utilities get better deals. The proposed franchise does not get us to our climate change and equity goals in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way.

• Voters are not able to compare costs of Xcel with other, cleaner, possibly less expensive suppliers. Xcel currently sources 30% of electricity from renewables, and projects 53% by 2024.

• Boulder already has sufficient offers for inexpensive solar and wind energy to meet our carbon reduction goals should we choose to move forward. In 2018, Boulder received good-faith estimates that offered 89% renewables by 2024 for two-thirds Xcel’s price. The city received two more bids in August 2020.

• If Colorado deregulated its energy industry, Boulder might be able to get a better deal.

• Voters do not have enough time to understand and discuss the proposed settlement and franchise agreements. The proper process, including cost comparison, is being short-circuited.