PUBLIC POWER IN COLORADO
PUBLIC POWER = COMMUNITY POWER
Public Power Utilities in Colorado
Public power utilities are operated by local governments to provide communities with reliable, responsive, not-for-profit electric service. Public power utilities are directly accountable to the people they serve through local elected or appointed officials.
Nationally, there are more than 2,000 community-owned electric utilities, serving over 45 million people or about 14 percent of the nation's electricity consumers.
Some of the nation's largest cities – Los Angeles, San Antonio, Seattle and Orlando – operate publicly owned electric utilities, but many public power communities are small with their utilities serving 3,000 or fewer customers.
Public Power communities are powered by the people, for the people
Colorado municipal utilities are not-for-profit operations owned by the communities they serve.
Locally elected or appointed citizens act as the board of directors for municipal systems, and aided by professional staff, they make policy and operational decisions that are in the best interests of their utilities and communities.
Municipal utility systems are self supporting (not funded through municipal taxes), and as such, they qualify as enterprises under the Colorado Constitution. The local city councils or utility boards set the rates for their communities' utilities. The rates cover the costs and expenses of providing the electric service including, generation and purchase power costs, electric transmission and distribution costs, capital expenses, debt service and operating costs.
Any remaining revenues, after expenses, are reinvested into the community in a variety of ways.
Public Power communities are protected by the Colorado Constitution
The Colorado Constitution guarantees special rights and protections for municipal utilities including:
The right to provide electric service inside and outside municipal limits (Article XX):
The right to join together to provide electric generation and transmission services (Article XI);
Protection from the General Assembly establishing regulatory control over municipal facilities (Article V); and
Specific protection from the jurisdiction of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (Article XXV).