Davis, California's "Coalition for Local Power" Wants Green Municipal Utility District

Citizens of Davis, California criticized a city council plan to purchase power for government facilities - but not residents and businesses - as "penny wise and pound foolish," and has proposed the formation of a municipal utility district to purchase renewable electricity on behalf of residents, local businesses, and government facilities as electric deregulation approaches in 1998.

The Coalition for Local Power, chaired by author and solar activist Dan Berman (Who Owns the Sun?), held meetings in July to discuss the establishment of a Davis Municipal Utility District (DMUD). Coalition leaders were critical of the City Government's "limited approach" of purchasing electricity from the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) for excluding residents and businesses from the deal. "The city council should look at what the city can do for its people and its environment, rather than merely saving the city government a few thousand dollars a year." Berman added that the ABAG rates to the city will produce a perceived reduction of its electricity bill of only $40,000 per year, which he said will quickly evaporate once the costs of administration and new time-of-use meters are factored in.

"Under utility ‘restructuring,' 250 electricity vendors will be clamoring for your electricity dollar, with no regard for system reliability." Berman said that DMUD's long term goal will be to ensure that the community's electricity will be generated from local renewable resources like the sun, the wind and agricultural by-products, and would actively promote lower utility bills through weatherization programs, solar water heaters, shade trees and other conservation measures. "By aggregating $15 million dollars a year in electricity demand, DMUD could buy electricity at very favorable wholesale rates which it could pass along to everyone who opted into the system, and begin to set aside some of the savings for energy efficiency and solar, creating work for local firms and local workers in the process."

Copyright 1997 by the American Local Power News