At the July 7th hearing, Minneapolis City Council members on the Health, Environment and Community Engagement Committee made it clear from the dais they intend for the proposed city-utility partnership to take action to accomplish some significant change in meeting the city's energy goals and vision.
This productive discussion among council members followed a presentation where the City Coordinator shared the Utility Franchise Negotiation Update, as well as the City-Utility Clean Energy Partnership Outline and a receive and file Request about recent decisions on Energy in Minneapolis.
A PARTNERSHIP COMMITTED TO TAKING ACTION
Council Member Jacob Frey echoed Minneapolis Energy Option’s expectations about the city utility partnership:
“What I want to make sure is that this partnership structure ultimately has some teeth... to make some decisions at the end of the day. As many of you know I am not for just for setting up a work group or a task force or a commission or something that talks a whole bunch and goes home and watches TV. I want something to happen at the end of this and so I just need to make sure we are moving in that direction….”
Committee Chair Cam Gordon addressed Jacob Frey’s concern by stating he has a priority to approve a work plan for the first year of the partnership so that they will have items to work on right from the get go.
CONFIDENCE THAT THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE WILL HAPPEN
The best news is that the City of Minneapolis's documents regarding the clean energy partnership proposal includes the Energy Vision Advisory Committee (EVAC) that hundreds of residents have mobilized for through the help of Minneapolis Energy Options. In addition, Councilmember Cam Gordon said the officials he met with from the utilities were open and receptive to the idea of having the Energy Vision Advisory Committee.
The next goal is to clarify more details of what how the partnership will be structured and what the make-up of the advisory committee will look like.
Click here for a guide to contact your city council member to encourage a pro-active city utility partnership, the Energy Vision Advisory Committee and a 2-year length for the next franchise agreement particularly if you are represented by someone who is not on the HE & CE committee.
2 YEAR FRANCHISE AGREEMENT
Council Member Alondra Cano echoed another chief campaign goal for Minneapolis Energy Options regarding the next utility franchise agreement.
“I support a 2 year franchise agreement because I believe it positions Minneapolis residents strongly and in a very pro-active manner in ensuring that we are always getting the best that we can get from the companies and the corporations that want to do business with us. It keeps Minneapolis competitive, it keeps companies on their toes, it keep us innovating and it keeps us, above all, in line with some of the energy and sustainability goals that we have put together.”
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND OUTREACH
Council Member Cano then drew attention to the importance of the city making deep and meaningful educational outreach efforts to diverse communities in this discussion on Minneapolis’ energy future. She pointed out the Transition Town conversations about Peak Oil as an example for engagement.
Out of respect the value of transparency, Committee Chair Cam Gordon encouraged people to advocate and organize the public around the information shared from the hearing.
In accordance with this mission of awareness raising, Minneapolis Energy Options runs a series of community education events hosted by neighborhood residents and organizations called the Powerful Conversations Tour. Come join one of our scheduled events which are posted online where we discuss how our energy system works, what drives rate increases like the one Xcel recently proposed, and what we can do to secure clean, local, equitable, affordable, and reliable energy.
Resonating with a key perspective of the Powerful Conversations Tour, Council Member Andrew Johnson spoke to the need for making invests in the infrastructure that would allow us to become “Prosumers” of energy.
You can see video of the hearing by clicking onto the Channel 79 website under "city council and committee meetings", 2014, July 7-18 cycle, July 7th Health, Environment & Community Engagement. The section on the utility franchise updates begins at 86 min 23 sec in the video and commentary by council members begins at 94 min 18 sec in the video.