Boulder is still interested in hearing from Xcel Energy on possible alternatives to municipalization, the city's Energy Future director Heather Bailey told the City Council Tuesday.

Bailey said a community task force that had been working with Xcel and the city on new products and services that would cut greenhouse gas emissions will still meet on Jan. 15 and then will meet again in April after the company has had time to do more analysis.

At that April meeting, the task force members will "vet" the costs and benefits of a more complete list of Xcel offerings, Bailey said. That package of offerings will then be presented to the City Council in June.

Bailey said she wanted to confirm with council members that that was their intention in December when they told staff members they didn't think it made sense for the task force to continue meeting until after Xcel had done more analysis.

In particular, they did not want to spend staff time and money working on modeling proposals that Xcel might not support.

Xcel executives interpreted that decision as the city withdrawing from discussions of alternatives and blasted the city. Xcel Vice President Jerome Davis said city officials were afraid that new modeling would show municipalization to be much more expensive than they had predicted.

Bailey said the idea that the city was withdrawing from negotiations or task force meetings was a matter of "confusion" and had never been the case. However, it doesn't seem productive for the task force to keep meeting on a regular basis.

City Council members said they stand by that decision and Bailey had interpreted them correctly.

"When there's something to look at, we'll look at it," Councilman George Karakehian said.

Councilman Macon Cowles said that because Xcel didn't want to sign a new memorandum of understanding agreeing that the task force's work couldn't be used in litigation, the city would have been taking too much of a risk if it kept working to "calibrate" its models with Xcel.

Bailey said she believes the city can incorporate updated resource costs and wind and solar added by Xcel to develop modeling that uses the same base assumptions as Xcel. She said the most significant information is how Xcel's proposals compare to the "baseline" if Xcel continues to operate as it does today, not how the proposals compare to municipalization. She said some of the proposals, like more training for HVAC contractors, can't really be modeled.

Reached after the City Council meeting, Davis said Xcel still believes the differences between Xcel's modeling and the city's modeling deserve much deeper analysis.

"What was reported to City Council tonight by Ms. Bailey does not match our understanding of the scope and direction of the task force," Davis said. "Her recommendation sidesteps the real issue of whether the task force can see a reconciling and comparison of the city's modeling and assumptions with Xcel Energy's modeling."Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or meltzere@dailycamera.com.