Packed Council Meeting May 10th – feasibility study vote
Tuesday, May 10th, council chambers were packed, even at 8:30pm as many people waited to hear the Task Force’s recommendation on which consulting firm to use for a feasibility study for a municipal utility.
The council was asked to answer two questions (1) should they proceed with a feasibility study, which would provide information for the council before deciding to write an ordinance to put the measure on the ballot (or not); and (2) if yes, then do they authorize the city manager to enter into a contract with D. Hittle Associates to perform the work?
Instead of voting to move ahead with the study or not, the council went along with Councilperson Sarah’s idea and asked the City Manager, Doug Schulze to go back to the Task Force to reconsider their recommendation. The council asked: Would they still recommend D. Hittle if lowest price and a November ballot were not part of the criteria?
Watch the entire meeting here: http://apps.bainbridgewa.gov/media/video/2016/CC_20160510.mp4. Comments start right away, the majority of the discussion about the utility feasibility study starts at 1:28.
Brian brought up the point that PSE’s Colstrip decommissioning process is a perfect example of privatizing profits and socializing costs (ratepayers will bear the brunt of the costs).
Gov. Jay Inslee approved a bill allowing Washington state’s largest utility, Puget Sound Energy, to set aside money for the eventual shutdown of two coal-fired electricity plants in Montana. The measure lets Puget Sound Energy create a fund to cover future decommissioning and cleanup costs at the Colstrip plant in Montana, if the units are closed after 2023. PSE owns half of units 1 and 2. (Inslee vetoed a section of the legislation that had said Puget Sound Energy, Colstrip’s largest owner, couldn’t use that money if it closed two aging units before Dec. 31, 2022.) “To be clear, no decision has been made on when the older Colstrip units might close,” Inslee said in a written statement issued after the signing.
Island Power Goes Head-to-Head with PSE – again
Tuesday, April 19th wasn’t just any Bainbridge Island City Council meeting, it was the first time IP and PSE squared off in public since the 23rd Democrats meeting last year. Watch the whole video here: http://hosted.invintusmedia.com/?clientID=8186354873&eventID=2016041001 Public comment starts right away. PSE’s presentation by VP of Corporate Affairs Andy Wappler, starts at about 28:49 minutes and IP’s presentation starts at about 59:12 minutes into the video.
Did you miss our last event? View the videos here.
Island Power Podcast
Bainbridge Community Broadcasting interviewed Island Power in March. Listen to it on BCB’s own website or simply have a listen by clicking the triangular ‘play’ button below and turning on the audio volume of your internet-connected device.
Podcast: Community Cafe Bainbridge: Island Power group offers green and reliable public power for Bainbridge
Long-time local residents Steve Johnson and Jane Lindley explain in this 28-minute podcast what their nonprofit “Island Power” considers to be four key advantages of replacing PSE with a local public electric utility for Bainbridge: cleaner power; community economic benefit; local control over decisions and rates; and potential broadband internet service.
Jane Lindley, a retired software company manager, explains that she discovered the problem of dirty coal-fueled electric power when she considered purchasing an electric car to take a stand against climate change. She points out that a local public utility could replace PSE’s coal-fired power for Bainbridge and obtain clean power, mostly from hydroelectric and other renewable sources.
Steve Johnson recently retired from more than 20 years as executive director of an association of public utilities throughout Washington State. He explains that his knowledge of the advantages of public utilities, compared to private corporate utilities like PSE, came from years of experiencing the public utilities’ reliability, high customer service scores, favorable rates, and accountability to their local voters.
Want more news about Island Power? Go to our News page.
Greener Power: We currently have no say in the type of power that fills our grid, the majority of which comes from fossil fuels, 35% from the Colstrip Montana plant (one of the top ten CO2 polluters in the U.S.) A locally grown and owned utility would allow us to buy power from the Bonneville Power Administration and other clean energy sources.
Benefits Local Economy: A locally owned utility would create several dozen Island jobs at wages that support families. A significant portion of the utility’s operating costs would also be spent here – on office rent, salaries and local services — growing our local economy and tax base. Another consideration is that Bainbridge Islanders currently pay some of the highest electric rates in Washington. Transition to a not-for-profit utility model and local ownership of our local electric facilities makes economic sense.
Local Control: Currently, Bainbridge gets it’s electricity from PSE, which is owned by a foreign corporation, based in Sidney, Australia. The company’s board meetings are not open to the public. A Bainbridge Island nonprofit utility would be responsive to local concerns, fully focused on timely resolution of Island outages, and motivated to work with BI citizens to promote development of renewable, solar and energy efficiency resources on the Island.
Our Goal: To get a yes vote on our November 8th 2016 ballot initiative to give the City of Bainbridge Island the authority to explore the feasibility of becoming a nonprofit electric utility.
We have t-shirts (http://kelp.spreadshirt.com/) you can purchase online. Long sleeve and short – show your public power support around town. Each purchase donates $2 to Island Power.
Oh, and this website is CARBON NEUTRAL