I know going from $15.3 to $42.1 Million seems like a lot in 1 year Commissioner, but this Smart Grid stuff is really confusing.

So, feeling pretty good about future energy cost estimates, are we?  Check this out this little ditty from the Boulder Colorado Daily Camera and then let me know how you feel:

When Boulder was chosen for the smart grid project in March 2008, Xcel Energy projected that capital expenditures for the SmartGridCity would be about $15.3 million. By May 2009, Xcel had changed its projected cost to $27.9 million, and now the company believes the total bill will reach $42.1 million, not including the costs of operating and maintaining the new grid.

A large part of the increased price tag is associated with the unanticipated difficulty of constructing the system’s fiber network.

“The company had to install far more underground fiber than initially projected, substantially increasing the cost …” Xcel officials wrote in a document filed with the utilities commission last May. “We also ran into unexpected construction conditions such as having to drill through granite with diamond-tipped drill bits and remove large boulders with cranes and dump trucks … .”

So, are you a little concerned now?  Well, not to worry says Xcel spokesman Tom Henley.  Mr. Henley says “the increase in the smart grid’s forecast cost is not cause for alarm.”  “SmartGridCity has always been a research and development process,” he said. “It’s a living and breathing laboratory, and we’ve always said all along that there’s parts that will work and parts that won’t work.”

Geesh!  As calm as he is with the increase, you would think Mr. Henley was spending someone else’s money!  By the way, aren’t these the same guys that think industrial wind is free?

The full article from Laura Snider, Boulder Daily Camera is linked below:

Xcel smart grid costs blow up, PUC orders more transparency – “Latest rate increase charges all Colo. customers for Boulder’s grid

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