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Boulder City Council dissolves utility created on paper in 2014

Move part of settlement with Xcel Energy

An Xcel Energy crew works on the power lines in Sept. at the intersection of Baseline Road and Foothills Parkway in Boulder.
An Xcel Energy crew works on the power lines in Sept. at the intersection of Baseline Road and Foothills Parkway in Boulder.
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Boulder City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed on emergency an ordinance to dissolve the utility it created on paper in 2014 in the city’s pursuit of a municipal electric utility.

The move is part of a settlement agreement with Xcel Energy in the company’s 2014 lawsuit against the city. City Attorney Tom Carr explained that council in 2014 created the utility enterprise in large part as a defense in a condemnation lawsuit against Xcel. At the time, the city thought it would be going directly to condemnation, he said.

As part of the settlement agreement, the city has agreed to dissolve the utility and not create a new one unless it is approved by voters, and Xcel has agreed not to use the city’s lack of a utility against the city in the condemnation lawsuit.

“I’m not thrilled, but I’m also not very upset,” Carr said of the settlement agreement.

Added Councilman Sam Weaver: “Xcel has just agreed they won’t make that legal attack. We no longer need the utility.”

He and other council members lauded the city’s work to push forward toward municipalization. Although the process has taken longer than intended, Weaver said, it is setting the path for other communities to do the same.

“This is what it looks like to be path-breaking,” he said.

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