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Public Power magazine article recounts response to Chu's 2012 memo calling for changes at power marketing agencies

From the July 15, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published July 15, 2013

The political reaction to a March 16. 2012, memorandum by former Energy Secretary Steven Chu is a story well known to many in the public power industry. The secretary sought to use the nation’s four federal power marketing administrations as models for renewable energy development. But the plan collided with the nation’s 106-year-old federal power program and drew bipartisan opposition from Congress.  Forty U.S. senators and 126 members of the House stepped forward to warn the secretary that his plan appeared to overreach the Department of Energy’s authority. Moreover, it would increase electricity costs for consumers and threaten local control, the members of Congress said.

The Chu memorandum triggered a high-profile political response among supporters of public power and, although Steven Chu no longer heads DOE, his policy proposal continues to worry federal power customers and remains on the congressional watch list.

Writer Alice Clamp recounts events of the controversy in an article for Public Power magazine, "Preserving the Federal Power Program’s Core Mission." The article and a list of 10 recommendations from an Energy Department team formed to respond to constituent and congressional opposition are posted on

Subscriptions to the electronic and print editions of Public Power and all other APPA periodicals are free to all employees and governing board members of APPA member utilities and associate members.  An online subscription signup form is on


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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella

Editorial Director
Robert Varela

Editor, Public Power Daily
Jeannine Anderson

Communications Assistant
Fallon W. Forbush

Manager, Integrated Media 
David L. Blaylock

Integrated Media Editor 
Laura D’Alessandro