Something not-so-funny happened on the way to the smart grid: Xcel, Boulder and the Colorado PUC

Michael Giberson

Four-and-a-half years ago I relayed on these pages Xcel’s announcement of its Smart Grid City project. It was exciting stuff, I thought, and I said it “should prove to be a very useful project.” (See also Lynne’s post on a NYT‘s article discussing the project.)

It has proven useful, but not entirely in the way it was intended.

A Wall Street Journal article from 2008 noted one bold move by Xcel: “Departing from the norm, Xcel isn’t seeking permission from regulators to recover its costs in advance, but will wait until ‘we have proven the benefits,’ says Mike Carlson, Xcel’s chief information officer.”

Suffice to say all has not gone as hoped in Xcel’s effort to turn Boulder into a Smart Grid City.

The Denver Post provides a current update. In brief: the company has spent about $45 million on the project, regulators have approved recovery of $28 million and the city, other Colorado ratepayers, and the utility are battling before the CPUC over responsibility for the remaining $17 million in expenses.

Oh, and voters in Boulder approved (just barely) two ballot issues last November in an effort to municipalize electric utility service in the city (and see the utility comments here).

ALSO from the Denver Post: “Changing energy policy rules keep Colorado guessing in election year.”

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One thought on “Something not-so-funny happened on the way to the smart grid: Xcel, Boulder and the Colorado PUC

  1. Boulder is actually in North Korea, so what happens there is not an example of what will happen in the United States. Nonetheless, any bad thing that happens to “smart grid” is a win for freedom, and a blow against evil.

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