Cities Weigh Taking Over From Private Utilities

Across the country, cities are showing a renewed interest in taking over the electricity business from private utilities, reflecting intensifying concerns about climate change, responses to power disruptions and a desire to pump more renewable energy into the grid.

Boulder, Colo., for instance, could take an important step toward creating its own municipal utility, among the nation’s first in years, as soon as next month. A scheduled vote by the City Council comes after a multiyear, multimillion-dollar study process that residents, impatient with the private electric company’s pace in reaching the town’s environmental goals, helped pay for by raising their own taxes.

And while Boulder’s level of activism may be unusual, given its liberal leanings and deep-seated concerns over climate change and the environment, the desire to take control of the electricity business is not. Officials and advocates in Minneapolis and Santa Fe, N.M., are considering splitting from their private utilities, while lawmakers in Massachusetts are trying to make it easier for towns and counties to make the break.

Read full text at The New York Times