Xcel Energy saying no to banners on power poles

DENVER -- 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.

Some cities say the policy is going to make their Main Streets look a lot less colorful and hurt their promotion of city events.