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Saturday April 1st 2023

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That's what she said

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Fasten Your Seatbelts — the Campaign Has Begun!


It looks like things are heating up on the local energy front.  While the Boulder City Council ponders whether to put an Xcel franchise on the ballot or instead ask voters for the authority to create a local utility (“municipalization”), interested parties are getting to work.  The Blue Line received tips today informing us of a phone poll asking Boulder residents their views on energy, municipalization, Xcel, RTD, the City of Boulder, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce and PLAN-Boulder County, among others. According to one person polled, this question was asked:

“Electric rates by the city could increasingly burden commercial users and local customers and drive jobs out of the city. Is this a ‘very strong’, ‘somewhat strong’, or ‘very weak’ reason to oppose the city’s municipalization efforts?”

That respondent and one other said that the poll had the feeling of a “‘push poll.”  A few other residents were invited to participate in a focus group, with a $235 payment for participating.

LATE UPDATE:  This author was just called and polled.  I disclosed that I was on a city board, but apparently that didn’t disqualify me.  During the poll, a number of possible reasons to support or oppose an electric utility were offered and I was asked whether they were very strong, somewhat strong, somewhat weak, or very weak.  Here are some examples in addition to the one quoted above:

“By owning the electric utility, Boulder will be free from state regulations and shareholder pressures that govern Xcel Energy, which will encourage more market competition and ultimately lower rates.”

“Xcel Energy generates about 60% of its power from coal so owning the utility and having more renewable energy will mean better rates for Boulder if the cost of coal increases.”

“The cost of repaying the hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the electric utility will be a financial hardship on everyone in the community especially our seniors and low income households.”

Until I was asked the scary question about the elderly and the poor, I was not thinking that it felt like a push poll, though I have read so much about this issue that I can’t judge how it would come across to someone who was just hearing about it for the first time.  If you were one of the people polled or invited to a focus group, please send your reactions to us at  We’ll keep everyone posted on the latest developments.

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