A blog to keep current on MPIRG'S fight for social and environmental justice.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Minneapolis Energy Options: The 411

There’s been a lot of buzz around Minneapolis about the city, our utilities, and a coalition called Minneapolis Energy Options – of which MPIRG is a member. Right now, the City of Minneapolis has an exclusive agreement called a “franchise agreement,” that means that, for the last 20 years, Xcel has been the only electric utility provider in Minneapolis – Minneapolis residents have to get their electricity from Xcel. In 2014, that contract will be up, and the next steps that Minneapolis takes will be critical.

The Minneapolis Energy Options Campaign formed in an effort to make sure that Minneapolis explores all possible options for our energy future – that we have the information and choices to get what we deserve as a city from our power source – whether that be with Xcel, a community energy provider, or another option.

So Minneapolis Energy Options set out to have the crucial conversations with our neighbors about our energy future, knocking on 55,000 doors in the city, and carrying the messages we heard about corporate accountability and green energy to the City Council.

The City Council, the Mayor and Xcel have heard our voices. In the past few days, Xcel has committed to helping the city reach our climate goals, and, among other goals, to power the City’s streetlights with renewable energy, and to make a solar investment at Xcel’s Riverside plant.

But the work isn’t done – we have to work to hold Xcel accountable to these commitments, and to go further. Xcel would not have come to the table in this way without public pressure and the city exploring all its options. We need to continue to apply that pressure, and show Xcel that we have other options if they won't agree to provide Minneapolis with the clean, affordable, reliable, local energy we deserve.

Call your city council member today and ask them to adopt an energy framework going into negotiations that protects the interests of Minneapolis citizens, to complete the negotiations by June of 2014, and to keep our options open during the state legislative session so we can continue to make strides towards a better energy future. Tell them you’re happy Xcel is stepping up to the plate, but that we can all do more to create a greener, more affordable, better future for Minneapolis. Tell them that options are so fetch. 

Photos from minneapolisenergyoptions.org and the film Mean Girls

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