Powering Strong Communities

Ann Arbor, Mich., Commission Endorses Public Power Utility Study

The Ann Arbor, Mich., Energy Commission on Dec. 14 unanimously adopted a resolution recommending that the Ann Arbor City Council authorize a municipal electric utility feasibility study.

The vote culminates a nearly year-long community discussion about exploring the public power option as a way to power Ann Arbor’s local electric grid with 100 percent renewable energy, a core strategy of the city’s A2Zero climate action plan.

Ann Arbor for Public Power, a nonprofit grassroots organization, has been leading the effort. The group commissioned and released a study outlining a legal roadmap to municipalization, made multiple presentations to the Energy Commission and to various community organizations, and collected over 1,200 signatures from Ann Arbor residents supporting a municipal feasibility study. 

There are currently 41 Michigan cities and towns served by public power utilities.

The resolution includes a recommendation that the city ensure a just transition for workers in its energy decisions.

The resolution also asks the Council to move forward on a Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU). A SEU is a city-owned nonprofit that helps residents make homes more energy efficient, install solar panels, and convert from gas appliances to electric, by providing an alternative to investor-owned DTE Energy. It also seeks to convert buildings to self-powering microgrids.

Ann Arbor for Public Power said it looks forward to working with the City Council in January on its feasibility study resolution.

“We will continue promoting community discussion around municipalization in the coming year, as we work towards an eventual voter referendum to establish a city-owned electric utility to replace DTE Energy,” the group said.

For more information, go to annarborpublicpower.org.

For additional information about municipalization and related resources provided by the American Public Power Association, click here.