Boulder citizens win control of their energy future from out-of-state Corporation.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Nov 2, 2011
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Above, a Facebook status update halfway through a down-and then even-and then up night for Boulder.

Boulder’s still Boulder: innovation, sustainability, citizens before corporations. (Municipalization: 2B & 2C pass after being down in votecount!)

Written up in the NY Times, a bold town may inspire other municipalities to strike out for energy independence.

Endorsed by the Denver Post, Daily Camera, Boulder Weekly and

Local Citizens pull out victory for Local Economy, Sustainability vs. Corporation’s $1 million fear-mongering, dumbed-down ad campaign.

“Boulder is choosing to authorize the creation of a municipal electricity system, even though the proponents were outspent 10-1 by the incumbent utility. Cleaner energy. Locally controlled. It’s a historic vote!” ~ Ted Rose

It’s a great night for Boulder.

For those individuals and business that come here to enjoy this extraordinary town: know that you’re walking in and inheriting the daily life of a town that’s won every award out there: best place to retire, best restaurants for a town in the US, best bicycling, happiest, smartest…

…and that it’s such an extraordinary town

1. because of its natural setting and

2. because, since the ’60s (starting with the Blue Line, which prohibited development on our mountaintops), we’ve deliberately, mindfully, boldly shaped our present and future.

But earlier tonight, at the historic Boulderado Hotel, the gathered active citizens were nervous, even despondent. We were way down in the vote tallies on 2B, and down a bit on 2C—the two measures considering Municipalization.

We needed, ideally, both 2B and 2C to move forward on Municapalization, or we’d be stuck with a profit-sucking out-of-state huge corporation making money off of us and investing quickly enough in local, clean, renewable, job-creating solar or wind, not burying our lines (which would prevent outages like the one last week, that left my and 10,000 other homes without electricity for 1-3 days).

And despite the opposition of re-elected councilmen Ken Wilson and George K (who I nevertheless had kind words for in our endorsements), we pulled out the victory.

The difference? The out-of-nowhere galvanizing leadership of Ted Rose played a big part. And, most of all, the canvassing, calling, tireless and joyful efforts of Steve Fenberg and New Era Colorado and the many, including former mayor Shaun McGrath, who volunteered on phones and knocking on doors. And while it may be less fun—we’re sitting at home now, alone, 2 am, typing, instead of partying with our community—we’ll pat ourselves on the elephant back for our social media and promotion—it helped balance, on a grassroots level, the huge and irritating ad buy by Xcel and its cronies (sorry, that’s what their front organization was).

Hip hip hooray for sustainability and responsible citizens over profit-focused corporations!

Click below for the Camera’s report, and photos:

“As of 12:55 a.m. with an unofficial total of 82,724 votes counted, Boulder Question 2C, which allows for the creation of a municipal utility, passed with 51.8 percent of the vote — a margin of 933 votes.

Issue 2B, which will raise the existing utility occupation tax by $1.9 million annually, passed with 50.3 percent of the vote — a margin of 141 votes.”


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


2 Responses to “Boulder citizens win control of their energy future from out-of-state Corporation.”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011
    Sarah Huntley, Media Relations, 303-441-3155

    Boulder voters approve local energy ballot measures by narrow margins

    Voters in the City of Boulder on Tuesday approved two ballot measures that will allow the city to continue to explore the possibility of purchasing Xcel Energy’s distribution system and forming a city-owned electric utility.

    Ballot measure 2C, which authorizes the creation of such a utility if customer rates would be the same as those Xcel Energy is charging at the time of acquisition, passed with 51.78 percent of the total vote. A companion measure, 2B, provides the funding necessary to determine the actual costs of buying Xcel’s system and starting a local utility. It passed with support from 50.27 percent of voters.

    While the margins are narrow, the city attorney said the results are not close enough, as defined in local statutes, to trigger an automatic recount.

    “This vote shows, once again, that the Boulder community wants to chart a new course – one that makes cleaner energy a priority while also taking into account other core values, such as rates, reliability and a desire for more control,” said City Manager Jane S. Brautigam. “We need to recognize, however, that this was a close decision. There are still a lot of questions and concerns that we need to address. The city is committed to moving forward in a deliberate, but measured, thoughtful and inclusive way.”

    The vote does not mean that municipalization is imminent. A decision about whether to form a local electric utility has yet to be made. The city has said votes of support would allow for additional engineering and legal work that is necessary to determine how much it will cost to start a city-owned utility. Consultants who have studied the issue for the city estimate it will cost about $227 million; Xcel Energy has estimated costs much higher. These decisions will be made by federal regulators and in the court system. No bonds will be issued until full information on costs is available and a careful analysis of these decisions occurs. The city believes it will take three to five years to complete this process.

    In the meantime, Xcel Energy will continue to provide electricity to Boulder customers, and homes and businesses can expect to receive bills from the utility.

    The city manager encouraged community members on all sides of this issue to remain engaged in the ongoing conversation.

    “I wish to thank both supporters and opponents of the measures. Together, they raised the level of public discussion and understanding about the city’s options with regard to our shared energy goals. This kind of public participation is part of what makes Boulder special – and is one of our greatest strengths as we continue our research,” Brautigam said.

    City officials plan to reach out to businesses, large utility customers and community members who spoke out against the possibility of forming a local electric utility.

    “No one cares more about keeping businesses in Boulder than the City of Boulder. Sustainability includes both the values of economic success and environmental stewardship,” Brautigam said. “We believe these are possible together, and the city is committed to helping our partners achieve this kind of success.”

    The city will spend the next several weeks laying the groundwork for additional engineering work, starting negotiations with Xcel Energy and determining what steps can be taken in the meantime to help the community achieve its goals. A roundtable discussion with the newly elected City Council is scheduled from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the Municipal Building lobby, 1777 Broadway.

    The City of Boulder will maintain its Energy Future website, to keep interested members of the community informed about the process, as well as opportunities for public participation.

  2. […] November 2, Boulder celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the now infamous 2B/2C vote that opened the door for Boulder to become the energy leader it is […]