Pueblo’s Energy Future Town Hall Featuring Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities
When: Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 26, 2018, Pueblo’s Energy Future (PEF) will host the third Town Hall in our speaker series. It will take place from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at the Rawlings Library.
Our Third Speaker Series will feature Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities (CAMU). CAMU’s executive director Dan Hodges will present information about Colorado’s municipal electric utilities. Consider attending to learn how a muni might work for Pueblo. It could be a good fit, and also a practical route to Pueblo’s independence from Black Hills Energy.
County Commissioner Terry Hart and David Cockrell will precede CAMU’s presentation by briefing the community on the Xcel Colorado Energy Plan’s 120-Day Report and the Economic Impact Analysis Report that was just filed yesterday, June 20, 2018, by the Public Service Company of Colorado. This report pertains to proceeding number 16-0396E, contained within is their plan for the potential closure of Comanche 1 & 2, and the replacement generation, construction, maintenance, economic, and environmental factors that will take place. You can read the entire report by clicking this link or by visiting the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies Website (DORA).
Side note: [Pueblo’s Energy Future will be co-hosting a community discussion on the Economic Impact Analysis Report and what it means for the community of Pueblo in the upcoming month, so read more below, and keep an eye on your inbox for further details].
Pueblo’s Energy Future June 26, 2018, Town Hall Location: Ryals Room, 4th Floor Rawlings Library 100 E Abriendo Ave Pueblo, CO 81004
Why is this taking place?
On September 25, 2017, by Resolution No. 13790, the Pueblo City Council declared the City of Pueblo’s intent to terminate its Franchise Agreement with Black Hills on August 10, 2020, and to create a municipal utility, if a due diligence feasibility study showed that municipalization was an economically viable option. They took this measure to act in the long-term interest of our citizens, rate-payers, and businesses. Pueblo’s Energy Future has focused on hosting a series of Town Hall Events focused on Bringing Power Home.
Would the benefits of Pueblo breaking away from Black Hills Energy outweigh the costs? What would be involved in the battle to separate? How long might it take? Could a city with no experience run an electric utility?
We look forward to you joining us tomorrow, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. So please bring your friends, family, and neighbors. You can find links to the event on several different websites listed below, and you can also read our op-ed that will be featured in this Sunday’s edition of the Pueblo Chieftain, check out a newspaper stand near you!
PEF June 26, 2018, Digital Event Links:
June 26, 2018 Link to Google Town Hall Event: click me June 26, 2018 Link to Facebook Town Hall Event: click me June 26, 2018 Link to Evensi Town Hall Event: click me June 26, 2018 Link to Website Town Hall Event: click me June 26, 2018, Town Hall Event Flyer:below
Pop quiz: name one thing that Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Longmont, Loveland and Gunnison have in common.
Give up? Each of those communities gets all their electricity from municipally-owned utilities (known as munis). Also called “public power,” a muni is a not-for-profit operation owned by the community it serves.
From mountain towns and western slope cities like Aspen, Glenwood Springs and Delta to plains communities Fort Morgan, Julesburg, Burlington, Wray, Yuma and Springfield, over two dozen communities in Colorado are served by municipal electric utilities. Those munis serve about 17% of the state’s population, according to the Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities (CAMU).
Since Pueblo’s Electric Utility Commission is currently studying the options for leaving Black Hills Energy, it behooves Puebloans to take a close look at the world of public power.
Nationwide, the American Public Power Association reports that over 2000 munis serve 45 million people or about 15% of the nation’s electricity customers. A number of very large cities—including Seattle, Orlando, San Antonio, Los Angeles and Sacramento—get their power from munis.
On two fronts—lower energy bills and higher reliability—munis are the clearcut winners, both nationally and locally. Nationwide, energy bills for muni customers average 13% lower than investor-owned utilities (IOUs). Outage time, the best measure of reliability, is roughly an hour per year per customer for munis compared to about two hours for IOUs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Here in Colorado, munis charge rates that average roughly 10% lower than IOUs. Most muni customers pay bills that are considerably lower than those we pay IOU Black Hills Energy.
Very few of the state’s munis own power generating plants. Instead, they either buy their power through long-term contracts with power authorities or from wholesaler suppliers on the open market.
Our grass-roots group, Pueblo’s Energy Future, stresses that the key step moving forward is for Pueblo to gain local control of its own electricity operations. Once local control is attained, the public power associations report that there are three key benefits that munis provide to their communities:
Accountability: All munis are 100% accountable to the communities they serve. There would be no demands by South-Dakota-based managers and out-of-state shareholders to be met. There would no regulatory oversight provided by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission up in Denver. With a muni, it’s your utility; the buck stops here.
While the structure of governance varies from muni to muni, typically, a set of locally elected or appointed citizens act as the board of directors for their service area. Aided by professional staff, the board makes policy and operational decisions that are in the best interests of their utilities and communities.
With a muni, the maintenance and repair crews are dedicated to a smaller service area than that of an IOU like Black Hills Energy. While there would be fewer crews serving just Pueblo vs. all of Black Hills’ service territory, they would know the system well and could focus on solving local problems, not being torn between problems in outlying areas vs. more local ones. This all contributes to the stronger reliability.
Accessibility: Every function of the utility is handled locally. There are no remote call centers. If you have a problem with your bill, go to the local office. Their job is to serve you. If you want broader changes to your utility, attend their monthly meeting and propose them. Win or lose, your voice will be heard.
Affordability. With each muni, the local utility board sets billing rates. Those rates cover costs and expenses of providing service.
Making a profit is not required. Rates that customers pay are not jacked up to cover distributions to shareholders, don’t over-pay for high-priced management or shiny new corporate headquarters in South Dakota. No money goes to the feds for corporate taxes. There is no gold-plating of everyday expenses.
Further, because each muni’s service territory is usually constrained to city limits, that means it has more customers per pole and per mile of electric wire, thereby lowering service costs compared to IOUs.
Consider attending to learn how a muni might work for Pueblo. It could well be a good fit, a practical route to Pueblo’s independence from Black Hills Energy. Steve Andrews (firstname.lastname@example.org [pictured below, left]) is a retired energy consultant. Susan Perkins (Susan@PerkinsEnergyLaw.com [pictured below, right]) is a lawyer in the energy sector. Both are members of the network, Pueblo’s Energy Future.
Pueblo’s Energy Future Save The Dates
Pueblo’s Energy Future will be hosting our 4th Speaker Series with a presentation by Capital Dynamics on July 24, 2018, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. The venue is still TBD. We hope you save the date and can join us for this exciting community conversation.
CapitalDynamics is a venture capital and private equity firm specializing in direct, fund of funds, and secondary investments. Under direct investments, it makes growth and buyout investments. It seeks to invest in mid-market companies in clean energy and infrastructure with a focus on clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, small hydro, landfill gas, conventional cogeneration, waste gas-fuelled power generation, technology, business service, and much more! Join us for this exciting conversation, more details to come in the next few weeks.
Pueblo’s Energy Future will be co-hosting a community conversation pertaining to Xcel’s Economic Impact Analysis and 120-Day Report. The Economic Impact Analysis Report was filed by the Public Service Company of Colorado, yesterday, June 20, 2018.
The time, date, and location for this conversation are still to be determined, but it will be taking place in the next few weeks. So be on the lookout for our e-mail, and also make sure to ‘like’ and follow our Facebook Page.
Commissioner Terry Hart will summarize the 120-Day Report at the Town Hall, this Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM at the Rawlings Library during the Pueblo’s Energy Future Town Hall, featuring CAMU (see image below, you can click picture for more information).
Colorado Public Utility Commissioner (CPUC) Frances Koncilja encompasses the mission of the CPUC which is, “to serve the public interest by effectively regulating utilities and facilities so that the people of Colorado receive safe, reliable, and reasonably-priced services consistent with the economic, environmental and social values of our state.”
However, a Denver district court judge, District Judge A. Bruce Jones is barring Commissioner Frances Koncilja from any further role in a Black Hills Energy rate case before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, saying her comments about needing to protect Pueblo consumers showed she can’t be impartial.
He quoted her as saying her responsibility to was to protect ratepayers and he disagreed, saying that job belonged to the Office of Consumer Counsel.
Call the Governor’s Office at (303) 866-2471 Call the Office of Constituent Services at (303) 866-2885 Let them know that Pueblo utility ratepayers support Frances Koncilja in her work at the Public Utilities Commission.
DO IT TODAY! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Pueblo’s Energy Future
If you haven’t let the Public Utility Commission know about your thoughts/concerns about the upcoming proceeding, please use the red button below to express your understanding about Xcel Energy’s Colorado Energy Plan, proceeding 16A-0396E. The PUC is considering a proposal to close local Comanche coal plants 1 & 2 and replace them with wind, solar, and gas. The PUC wants to hear from the community. This is the first step that must be approved in order for Xcel to explore this plan, it isn’t to make any final decisions on the plan itself.
To submit your comment, all you need to do is click the red button below, and follow the instructions, just make sure to refer to docket number: 16A-0396E
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