Boulder and Xcel Energy are in negotiations over how Solar Rewards and various energy efficiency incentives should be handled during the time Boulder remains a customer of Xcel but moves toward forming its own utility.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission had been scheduled to hold hearings this week on a request from Xcel Energy to limit the participation of Boulder customers in its various energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

Xcel has said that Boulder residents and businesses participate in these programs at higher rates than in other communities, but if Boulder starts its own electric utility, Xcel and, by extension, its other customers will lose the value of the company's investment.

Boulder officials have called the request "bullying" and said Xcel was retaliating against Boulder for striking out on its own. The city later offered to transfer renewable energy credits from pre-existing solar contracts to Xcel Energy and assume the utility's solar garden contracts within Boulder.

Those hearings were postponed until September and then vacated entirely, to be rescheduled at a later date if necessary, because Boulder and Xcel were in negotiations to reach a settlement, PUC spokesman Terry Bote said.


City spokeswoman Sarah Huntley confirmed that the two sides are in negotiations to resolve the issue. Boulder has said that it is willing to make Xcel “whole” for its solar contracts and other programs, but needs more detailed information about the value of those programs.

Xcel spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo likewise confirmed that the company has entered into settlement negotiations with Boulder, but declined to comment further citing the confidential nature of those talks.

The negotiations are occurring as Boulder moves forward with condemnation of Xcel's local distribution system and as Xcel has sued the city to reverse a decision to formally create the utility as a legal entity.

Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino contributed to this report.