Desperation, Is Thy Name Xcel Energy?

  • Published on June 9th, 2014


By Chip Martin, Special To RGB

About 10 days ago, I wrote about the exciting push toward municipalization in Colorado, and how the citizens there were working to free themselves from the yoke of Xcel Energy oppression. 

As I wrote then (at the risk of seeming self-reverential):

Despite mouthing public platitudes about how much it loves solar, Xcel has spent a surprising amount of energy fighting the fundamental solar policy of net metering in Colorado. Xcel has been the poster child for something I’ve written about here before, namely this: Utilities across the country are saying they love solar so much, they want to kill it before it reaches maturity.

I also wrote that Xcel has been trying to regulate net metering out of existence. My gut tells me that a good amount of its $2 million lobbying efforts last year and more than $900,000 so far in the 2014 midterms has been spent to buy their own state-level politicians as hit-men hired to eliminate its solar problem. So what do you do when you’re losing?

Out of desperation, you hire high-priced lawyers and sue your opponents — and that’s exactly what Xcel has decided to do to Boulder, Colo., a municipalization trailblazer in the state. According to Erica Meltzer of the Daily Camera:

The Boulder City Council voted unanimously May 6 to form an energy utility …  According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Boulder District Court, Xcel said the utility formation was “premature”

You have to give Xcel credit for cojones. Who the heck is it to be dictating to Boulder what is premature or not? 

As I said, cojones.

Stay classy, Xcel. Do you really think you can keep your stranglehold on electricity production in Colorado through intimidation and fear, especially when Colorado voters want electricity choices? The executives at the utility need to look themselves in the mirror and ask: “When did we become bullies?”

Despite their attempts to stomp out the solar revolution, the stench of desperation and decay increasingly surrounds Xcel, and there is fear behind its executives’ eyes. Xcel knows municipalization and rooftop solar are as serious threats to its monopoly as it has ever seen before. As a result, it’s flailing in vain attempts to land blows.

But despite such spending, they’re losing, and losing badly. At last count, 29 Colorado municipalities are managing their own power and ditching Xcel. And it’s clear from the Coloradans for Electricity Choices websites map that the movement is growing —and it has Xcel Energy trying everything they can to stop it.

It’s important to remember, however, that Goliath did not beat David, and Coloradans will prevail in their fight for electricity choices.

It’s only a matter of time.

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