Public power utilities bring many benefits to their communities. At times, communities served by other types of utilities may explore what it would take to form a new public power utility – a process referred to as “municipalization.” The American Public Power Association has resources that may help you evaluate whether forming a new community-owned electric utility is right for you.
Public Power for Your Community
Public Power for Your Community is a comprehensive guide that outlines the steps to form a new public power utility. This guide also discusses how other types of utilities may respond to attempts to create a new public power utility. It addresses common myths, misinformation, and false charges that may come up in explorations to form or privatize a public power utility. Download the complete guide or click below for excerpts.
- What is Public Power? - Explains the public power business model, how public power differs from investor-owned or cooperative utilities, and other basics.
- Benefits of Public Power - Explores the many benefits public power utilities may offer, in 4 broad categories: local choice, reliable customer service, affordable prices, and local economic development.
- Forming a Public Power Utility - Walks through the steps of forming a new public power utility, and common responses to expect from the incumbent utility.
- Myths and Misinformation - Addresses myths and misinformation about public power and the process of forming a new utility that may come up during the municipalization process.
- Successful Public Power Campaigns - Case studies of utilities that successfully formed new utilities, or got more favorable outcomes from the incumbent utility because they explored the public power option.
Hard copies are available for purchase through our Product Store.
Contact [email protected] to request any of these resources, plus many more
Articles, videos, and blogs
- Joy Ditto interviewed John Coyle from Duncan & Allen on municipalization for the Public Power Conversations video series.
- The Value of Public Power issue of Public Power Magazine (March 2019) highlights case studies in municipalization, sellout prevention, and valuing your utility.
- Municipalization: Setting the Record Straight (Blog; Nov. 12, 2019) – Addresses common questions and myths about forming a new public power utility
- Public power = local control (Blog; April 21, 2015) – Review of why cities explore the public power option
- Going Local: Municipalization empowers communities (Blog; July 24, 2014) – Reviews cities that have formed a new public power utility (or looked into the option)
- Public Power: A rich history, a bright future (Blog; February 15, 2018) – Historical perspective on municipalization as a competitive force
- News articles related to municipalization efforts around the country.
One of the first steps in forming a new public power utility is conducting a feasibility study to determine if the new utility is likely to be economically viable wand has community support. These resources will help you with this step:
- Consultants list – Selected list of experienced consultants for the evaluation of public power utilities for retention or sale.
- Purpose of feasibility study – Short document explaining the importance of feasibility studies, including their purpose and scope
- Selected bibliography of studies – List of sample feasibility studies conducted by other communities, which we may be able to share upon request.
Legal Issues and Valuation
Resources to help you understand the legal issues involved in forming a new public power utility:
- Legal Issues in Forming a Municipally Owned Electric Utility – This paper addresses some of the basic legal issues involved in forming a public power utility, either by purchasing or constructing a separate system, including condemnation, valuation, and ouster of an existing system.
- Our Model City Charter Provisions for a Public Utilities Authority includes recommended language to assure an adequate legal and organizational basis for the creation of a public utilities authority.
- Survey of State Municipalization Laws – Summary of each of the 50 state’s laws on the issue of whether municipalities have the legal authority to acquire, own and operate an electric utility. In cases where a municipality acquires the facilities of an incumbent utility, this guide laws out the laws that determine the price.
The American Public Power Association offers many resources to public power utilities and stakeholders evaluating whether to sell their community-owned electric utility or to retain public ownership.
- Association members can download the guidebook, Positioning Your Community to Succeed in Sellout Evaluation.
- Issue Brief on Private Investment in Public Power
- Understanding and Evaluating Privatization in the Power Sector, May 2021
Contact [email protected] for more information and resources.