Municipal Enterprise

Boulder Sets Sights on Climate Change and Xcel Energy with Formation of Municipal Utility

Residents see public ownership as best way to address climate change
Since our last posting on Boulder’s municipalization efforts, the city has taken another big step forward and succeeded in creating its own power and light utility. Through the continued efforts of an informed, engaged, and environmentally conscious citizenry, Boulder is moving closer to its goal of significant emissions reductions through local control of its energy system.

Limits to Investment: Finance in the Anthropocene

Fullerton, John

In the latest publication in Great Transition Initiative’s sustainable development series, John Fullerton challenges the preeminence of modern finance. Limiting finance capital and the environmental deterioration and social instability that it encourages, Fullerton writes, requires transforming our economic system. By broadening public ownership of finance, through such means as sovereign wealth funds, public banking, and public utilities, Fullerton contends that nations can limit environmental degradation and manage long-term growth. 

Port of Richmond

The Port of Richmond is Central Virginia's domestic and international multi-modal freight and distribution gateway. The Port is owned by the City of Richmond and leased by the Virginia Port Authority. Since the lease was finalized in 2011, the city has earned over $200,000 in direct revenue and has experienced significant increase in freight traffic.

Department of Public Utilities

The City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities operates five utilities: natural gas, water, wastewater, stormwater, and electric street lighting. The utility serves more than 500,000 residential and commercial customers in the Richmond and the surrounding metropolitan region.

City Power Play: 8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy

John Farrell
Institute for Local Self Reliance

A recent report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance reviews municipal enterprise models and energy policies from around the country that have helped cities reduce energy use, save money, and create local jobs. Profiling case studies in New York, Tennessee, and California, the report demonstrates that cities have a wide range of tools at their disposal to broaden the base of locally controlled wealth.

Boulder Residents Defeat Xcel Again

Largest German cities also pursue public ownership of grid and renewable energy goals

On November 5th, residents of Boulder, Colorado went to the polls to decide whether or not the city should continue on its path towards a locally controlled public utility devoted to expanding renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions. At issue was ballot question 310, an initiative backed by the existing corporate provider Xcel Energy that would have crippled the city’s municipalization efforts by placing severe debt and other restrictions on the process. Just as they did in 2011 when city residents voted to form their own public utility, Xcel energy spent large amounts of money trying to influence local voters. This time around the company spent $800,000 dollars, bringing its total for both elections to approximately $1.8 million.

The Rise of Community Wealth Building Institutions

More people are turning to economic alternatives in which new wealth is built collectively and from the bottom up

Crossposted from Policy Network, and later published on the London School of Economics website, this blog is part of a debate event hosted by Policy Network in London, UK, that was reviewed in OurKingdom by grassroots activist James Doran:    

Five years after the financial crisis economic inequality in the United States is spiraling to levels not seen since the Gilded Age. While most Americans are experiencing a recovery-less recovery, the top one per cent of earners last year claimed 19.3 per cent of household income, their largest share since 1928. Moreover, income distribution looks positively egalitarian when compared to wealth ownership.

Public Money for the Public Good

How public finances can be unlocked for local economic development
Public banks and credit unions weathered the last crisis much better than private banks, benefiting the communities they served as well. And many experts believe that it’s only a matter of time before the next financial crisis hits. To weather the next one well, we need to ensure that our individual and collective resources strengthen the types of financial institutions that are democratically accountable, economically stable, mission oriented, and that are actively helping build and keep wealth locally in our communities.

Boulder Gains Momentum in Fight for Green Public Utility

Local campaign seeks to hold back corporate efforts to undo election results

Green. Local. Not-for-profit. That’s the goal in Boulder, Colorado where grassroots activists and the local nonprofit New Era Colorado Foundation have been campaigning to turn the city’s private power source into a public utility in order to more aggressively pursue renewable energy options and reduce carbon emissions. Read more about Boulder Gains Momentum in Fight for Green Public Utility...

Challenging Corporate Domination: The Public Ownership Approach

Thomas Hanna
The Good Society

In the wake of the most crippling economic downturn since the Great Depression, it is becoming increasingly evident that the United States is facing a myriad of serious problems that can no longer be solved by a stalemated political system.1 These challenges will inevitably require the conceptualization of a vision for comprehensive systemic change, and a major component of this is the question of what to do about the large private corporations that presently, to varying degrees, imperil our economy, threaten our democracy, and impede progress on environmental issues. 

Democracy Collaborative Offers Paid Internship

Work with us on newsletters and

We are pleased to announce a new intern position at The Democracy Collaborative that will focus on the newsletter and adding web content. For further details, please see the position description below. Remember to submit your applications by August 30!

JEA (formerly Jacksonville Electric Authority)

JEA is the seventh-largest municipally owned electric utility in the country, serving nearly 420,000 customers across a 900-square-mile service area. It also provides water and sanitation services to area customers. When aggregating the number of customers for each of its services, the company serves more than 950,000 accounts in Northeast Florida. In 2011, the company had more than $2 billion in total revenue and held assets of over $1.8 billion.