DENVER (CBS4/AP) – Xcel Energy Inc. is telling dozens of Colorado cities and towns that starting Jan. 1, they won’t be allowed to hang decorative banners, flags or decorations on its power poles any longer.

The utility concedes that banners and flags have been hung on the poles before, but it says the adornments could catch wind and pose a safety hazard to the public — and a liability to the company.

Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz says the company is simply enforcing a decades-old rule prohibiting anything except “police attachments” like speed limit signs or cameras from being placed on power poles.

Xcel owns more than 300,000 lamp posts in Colorado. The company says it’s actually unusual that the posts are not owned by the cities and towns.

“We’ve had more failures here in Colorado than in any of the other seven states we serve in the nation,” Rob Osborn with Xcel Energy said. “So we know it may be a factor in what is limiting the life of our system and we feel that we should take the position of mitigating so we don’t have an unfortunate occurrence in the public where someone may get harmed or injured.”

Some cities say the policy is going to make their Main Streets look a lot less colorful and hurt their promotion of city events. Xcel is working with cities and towns to find other solutions. One of those may be to have local governments or local business districts actually buy the light poles from the power company.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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