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Forming a Public Power Utility

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.

Additional Resources

Contact [email protected] to request any of these resources, plus many more

Articles, videos, infographics, and blogs

Feasibility Studies

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 and has community support. These resources will help you with this step:

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.

Sellout Evaluations

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. Learn more.

Resources marked with an asterisk (*) are available to members only. Contact [email protected] for more information and resources.