The other day we received a comment on a story from September of 2009. The post mentioned the Smart Grid City in Boulder, Colorado. Xcel Energy, the area’s utility, was laying the groundwork for implementation of smart grid technology. The original post stated, “Participation in the program is not mandatory.”
However, the comment claimed they received an email stating: “You have been selected as one of the participants for this mandatory program and your response is required to choose your plan.”
On Xcel’s SmartGridCity website, the only information regarding the mandatory participation was on their Frequently Asked Questions page, but it relates to their “Pricing Plan”, not the SmartGridCity explicitly:
Is my participation mandatory? What happens if I do not select a Pricing Plan?
Xcel Energy and the Colorado Public Utilities Commission [PUC] have agreed to enroll 5,000 customers into one of three new Pricing Plans. We are requiring customers to respond with their choice to move to one of the new plans or remain on the current Tiered Rate plan. You can view your current rates on your bill or in My Account.
In response to two email queries I did not get a straight answer about whether participation in the smart grid project is mandatory, just about the “Pricing Plans” and the “Price Challenge”.
Last month the Denver Post ran a story about the ongoing debate in Boulder surrounding the project. The article discussed how the PUC cut the amount Xcel Energy could charge customers for the implementation of the smart grid until the company can demonstrate the program’s benefit to ratepayers. In a less than enthusiastic comment on the technology’s usefulness, a Boulder city councilman was quoted in the article as saying “It really doesn’t do much”.