PUC moves forward on consideration of Boulder municipal electric plan

DENVER (April 19, 2017) – The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) today moved forward with consideration of the city of Boulder’s application to create a municipal utility by adopting a new procedural schedule.

At a prehearing conference, the PUC approved a new schedule, agreed to by all parties, that includes postponing next week’s hearing until late July. This gives parties additional time to digest and respond to changes to the plan proposed by Boulder. The changes, which included a withdrawal of some of the most disputed parts of the separation plan, were filed by the city on March 30. Under the new procedural schedule, evidentiary hearings will be held July 26 through Aug. 4.

In motions filed in early April, Xcel Energy and IBM had asked the PUC to dismiss the application, arguing that the revised application was outside of the Commission’s jurisdiction and sufficiently deficient to not merit proceeding further. At today’s prehearing conference, the PUC declined to dismiss the application, expressing a desire to move the process forward as expeditiously as possible. But recognizing the complexity of the proposal and potential confusion due to proposed changes, it ordered Boulder to file a clean, amended plan by May 10 to reduce confusion going forward.

PUC Chairman Jeff Ackermann, in his opening remarks, compared the matter to a divorce proceeding, and emphasized that the Commission’s role is not to function as a “relationship counselor.”

“What we are doing here at the Commission is determining the legally appropriate terms and conditions by which the divorce can proceed,” Ackermann said.

The Commission reiterated that Boulder had to right to create a municipal utility as approved by its citizens. The PUC’s role in reviewing the application is to ensure that the separation proposal in is the public interest and that customers outside the proposed municipal boundaries are not harmed by the transaction. The PUC also has a statutory mandate to ensure the safety and reliability of the statewide electric system as a whole.

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The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) serves the public interest by effectively regulating utilities and facilities so that the people of Colorado receive safe, reliable, and reasonably-priced services consistent with the economic, environmental and social values of our state.

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Media contact:

Terry Bote
External Affairs Manager
Public Utilities Commission
p: 303-894-2827
terry.bote@state.co.us