The fight between New Era Colorado and Xcel Energy began when residents of Boulder pushed for renewable energy in the region in 2011. The municipal government passed a voter-backed measure that called for an inquiry into alternative sources of energy for the city to reduce the impact of Boulder's energy needs on the environment.
The measure didn't sit well with Xcel energy, who have been Boulder's main energy provider for years.
In retaliation, the coal energy giant supported a counter-measure, one that would require any municipal-run energy utility to have their total debt limit first approved by voters. Residents of the county subject to the new energy measure would have to vote as well, despite the fact that they live outside city limits and that their involvement would necessitate a change to state laws.
New Era Colorado says that the Xcel backed counter-measure is "a misleading initiative they’ve helped place on Boulder’s fall ballot that would stop the city’s formation of a local electric utility dead in its tracks" due to the impossibility of including county voters in the election.
As a solution, New Era has proposed a charter amendment that instead asks voters to approve a $214 million debt limit up front for the new energy grid.
The Xcel-backed measure will be called No. 310 and appear on a city ballot this November.
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Monday, 14 October 2013