Xcel says all banners must go
By Kathleen Goddeyne -
The light poles on East Aspen Avenue in Fruita are always sporting some sort of flag or festive decoration to improve the look of Fruita’s main street. Xcel Energy released a letter to communities in May stating, “Xcel Energy can no longer permit or approve the installation of banners, flags, decorations or other non-permitted attachments on our facilities.” Xcel has a tariff dated from the 1950’s that specifically restricts any attachments (except police attachments) to their streetlights and facilities. Attachments to these poles are unsafe and not in compliance with the tariff.
As of Jan. 1, 120 municipalities in the state will have to take down any flags, decorations, or banners from utility-owned light poles.
Xcel has suggested that communities install “banner-only” poles, to develop an advertising program within the city, or to consider having your community or Business Improvement District purchase a section of the streetlights.
“It’s undisputed that the city owns all of the light standards on Aspen Avenue,” said Fruita’s City Manager Clint Kinney. “All of the light poles in the subdivisions were paid for and installed by the contractors of the subdivision and the ownership of those was transferred to the city.”
According to Kinney, the city spends $180,000 each year on maintenance, repairs, and electricity for the light poles.
The only poles that are being disputed in the city of Fruita are those on the Highway 340 Bridge that crosses over Interstate 70.