Let’s maintain our negotiating leverage with Xcel

I’m an entrepreneur and small business owner who lives in Boulder, and I’m a strong advocate for voting “yes” on the two municipalization-related ballot initiatives: 2L and 2O. Without 2L, we won’t have an alternative to Xcel Energy that would pose any serious competition for them, and this would put us at a significant disadvantage for future negotiations.

Every good businessperson knows that having competing alternatives helps yield the best deal, and we’ve already seen Xcel’s proposals improve tremendously in recent years as we’ve explored municipalization.

Also, the cost of 2L is a drop in the bucket compared to the long-term savings we’d achieve through either municipalization or a better deal with Xcel.

I believe that businesses are more efficient than government entities. So when I first heard about municipalization, I thought, “how could a publicly owned utility possibly be more cost-effective than an investor-owned utility?” Then I learned that Colorado’s largest municipal utilities — such as Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Longmont — all have cheaper rates than Xcel. Xcel is not a typical business that must compete in a normal marketplace. Instead, they’re a regulated monopoly that has never had to compete, so they aren’t harnessing the same innovative and competitive advantages the way normal businesses do. Also, unlike municipal utilities, Xcel must charge more to pay a return to stockholders.

Ultimately, the threat of municipalization scares Xcel and motivates them to provide us with a better alternative. Let’s make them compete with a municipalization option that could yield lower rates, more renewable energy, and more control for our energy future.

Lastly, I like that 2O requires another vote before municipalization could potentially occur. 2O keeps control for the final decision firmly in our hands, while 2L maximizes our negotiating leverage with Xcel Energy.

Vote yes for 2L and 2O!

By Blake Jones, co-founder of Boulder-based Namaste Solar and Clean Energy Credit Union

No tricks, just treats: Keep pets safe this Halloween

This Halloween, pet owners partaking in frightening family fun should remember to keep all their little ghouls and goblins safe — including the four-legged ones.

Tricks for treats? Only if those treats are safe for pets, since many Halloween candies can be toxic to animals. Chocolate and sugar-free candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be particularly dangerous if ingested, so keep your pet from sniffing around the candy bowl.

With trick-or-treaters roaming the streets, pets can become disoriented and scared. Be sure to provide a safe, quiet space they can retreat to if needed, and watch the door for escape artists: many pets will try to disappear outside if given the chance.

Keeping your pet safe this Halloween doesn’t have to be tricky. With a few simple precautions, the entire family can safely enjoy the holiday’s spooky scares.

By Dr. Kwane Stewart, American Humane

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