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November 2021 Newsletter

Greetings, All! Here’s an update on our continuing journey towards a municipal electric utility (muni) in Ann Arbor!

A2P2 is building support

What mainly drives A2P2’s quest for a municipal electric utility, or a Community Owned Utility (COU), to replace DTE, an Investor Owned Utility (IOU), is the conviction that a muni can power our electrical grid with 100% renewables by 2030, which is the goal of Ann Arbor’s A2Zero plan. DTE relies on fossil fuels, mainly coal, for 70% of its power generation, with renewables at only 10%, and it never plans to transition fully to renewable sources.

Ann Arbor residents support A2P2

We are canvassing the community with a petition asking the Energy Commission to recommend that City Council fund a muni feasibility study. A consultant would assess the value of DTE’s infrastructure, model future rates and costs, and project revenues to determine a muni’s net economic benefit to ratepayers and city government compared to business as usual. We’ve collected over 900 signatures supporting such a feasibility study. Besides greenhouse gas emissions, the community is also directly affected by DTE’s frequent outages.

Welcome, Volunteers!

If you want to get involved, contact us at annarborpublicpower@gmail.com. Let us know how you would like to help. For example, you can put up one of our handsome new yard signs on your lawn. For the more ambitious, we are going door to door in Ann Arbor neighborhoods explaining who we are, listening to people’s views, then, if they wish, asking them to sign a petition directing the Ann Arbor City Council to fund a feasibility study. When we sponsor a public event, you can help us talk about our campaign with those who attend. Or if you have a special skill to share with us, let us know! We welcome all to our team of volunteers!

Join our Discord

Want to join the fight for energy justice and democracy in Ann Arbor? Join the discussion in Ann Arbor for Public Power's Discord server! Our Discord server has up-to-date information about our plans and events. To join, send an email to annarborpublicpower@gmail.com with "Discord" in the subject line and we'll send you an invite!

A new development, a proposed SEU

On October 28, 2021, Ann Arbor’s Office of Sustainability and Innovations (OSI) released a novel plan for a Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU). An SEU is a city-owned non-profit that would finance and otherwise support energy efficiency, building electrification, microgrids and community solar, while DTE service would continue. Residents would have the option to sign a service contract with the SEU to supplement their service from DTE.  We support the SEU and hope it moves forward as soon as possible. While an SEU can’t alone bring us to 100% renewable power, it’s a positive step towards that goal, and will complement the future municipal electric utility.

The November 9, 2021, Energy Commission (EC) meeting

This Tuesday OSI staff will present the new SEU plan to the Energy Commission (EC). The EC may also vote on A2P2’s muni feasibility study resolution, introduced back in July. The resolution, newly revised by OSI, now folds several other city options, including the SEU, into the study, which would compare them all. Because the other options are all compatible with the muni at this point, and the city should move forward on them too, paying a consultant to compare them is a poor use of our limited funds and would divert money, effort and time from the feasibility study. As in other communities that have gone through this process, the municipalization feasibility study should focus on municipalization.


We recommend that you tune in to the EC meeting, which starts at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, November 9, 2021. Click https://ctnvideo.a2gov.org/CablecastPublicSite/watch/3?channel=1 to access the meeting directly. Or go to a2gov.org, click the Democracy link, then click on the CTN link, the city’s tv station. The meeting will be streamed live at exactly 6:00 pm.

Background info for the 11/9 EC meeting

 

In August 2021, after some week-long electrical outages following a big storm in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, City Council passed a resolution calling on the EC to make a decision by the end of the year about whether or not to endorse a feasibility study. 

To learn about municipalization, the EC heard presentations at its October 12 meeting from Winter Park, Florida city manager Randy Knight and Boulder, Colorado chief sustainability officer Jonathan Koehn. Knight described Winter Park’s successful muni, which has favorable rates, improved reliability, and a fiscal surplus. Boulder recently ended its muni effort, but Koehn described the city’s new agreement with its IOU, Xcel, for a rapid transition to renewables. Koehn said the city can and will resume municipalization if Xcel doesn’t live up to its commitments.

And around the world

While we try to impact the climate crisis here, we, and the world, are watching world leaders at the COP26 conference in Glasgow as they address global heating. We are disappointed with their failure to back up their rhetoric with the difficult actions necessary to reverse global emissions, which continue to rise. We share the outrage by activists who protested and criticized world leaders’ failure to protect the earth from imminent disaster.

And here at home

As of this writing, the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill was just passed in the House, and the Build Back Better (BBB) bill was split apart for future passage. Because the BBB bill has the most climate legislation in it, we are hoping to see it passed, too, and as soon as possible.

In summary

We live in exciting times, when our local actions will help determine the future of the planet. We hope you will join us as we build support for a municipal electric utility that can be sourced with 100% renewable energy. 
 

Please check out our website, annarborpublicpower.org, and volunteer to work with us! All are welcome!

Interview with The Robin podcast

If you're interested in getting up to speed on the campaign A2P2 President Greg Woodring did an interview with the hosts of the podcast “The Robin”. Make sure to look out for it on their Apple Podcasts page.

Have questions, concerns, or just want to say hi? Reach out to A2P2 at annarborpublicpower@gmail.com!
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