Xcel: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should rule on Boulder condemnation case

BOULDER – Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE: XEL) asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday to issue rulings on the city of Boulder’s efforts to condemn company assets through eminent domain.

Boulder has proposed taking Xcel’s assets in the city and in Boulder County, including 32 miles of transmission lines and all or part of nine substations, Xcel said. The utility contends the federal commission maintains jurisdiction over the transfer of such assets under the Federal Power Act, which says federal approval must occur for transfer of more than $10 million in assets.

Xcel contends that Boulder failed to follow a Colorado Public Utilities Commission directive that Boulder had to first initiate a proceeding with the state commission to address the transfer of facilities that affect customers outside the city.

“We believe it is important to ask (the federal commission) to declare its jurisdiction over the transfer of transmission facilities and for the city of Boulder to follow all required regulatory processes, both with the (state commission) and the (federal commission),” said Bill Dudley, Xcel lead assistant general counsel, in a statement.

Boulder wants to create its own utility to generate more electricity from renewable energy, while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change. Xcel wants to keep its assets, contending it can help Boulder reach its clean-energy goals faster and more economically than the city can do by itself.

The city received Xcel’s filing Tuesday afternoon, and its attorneys were still evaluating it, Boulder spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said.

“We will respond according to the timelines and processes established by FERC,” she said

In its filing, Xcel Energy has asked the federal commission to make the following three rulings:

>The city of Boulder cannot condemn the transmission facilities it seeks without federal approval;

> In considering whether to grant approval, the federal commission will consider factors such as cost and system reliability;

> The federal commission’s jurisdiction does not overrule the state commission’s jurisdiction.

Xcel’s filing follows a petition filed July 17 by the city in Boulder County District Court to condemn Xcel’s assets through eminent domain. Xcel has requested that the court dismiss the condemnation case.

 

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