Talk to your local government officials. Like most businesses and organizations, utilities respond to their customers. Cities often comprise a significant portion of their electric utility’s sales, and therefore may have a good deal of influence as a large customer. As a private citizen, you can engage with elected representatives and local government staff, asking that they represent your interests in what kind of electricity—in terms of fuel mix, costs, etc.—best represent your community. A city, town, or village can set goals for cost-saving energy efficiency, renewable energy, and decarbonizing electricity .
Many local communities across Wisconsin are setting ambitious goals for greater energy independence and greenhouse gas reductions. For instance, the cities of Madison, Eau Claire, and Middleton have passed resolutions to power their communities with 100% renewable resources by 2050. Over 140 Energy Independent Communities in Wisconsin have adopted a goal to generate 25% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. Over 30 counties have joined the Wisconsin PACE Commission, helping property owners to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for renewable energy and efficiency improvements through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. A number of mayors throughout Wisconsin (and the United States) have pledged to do their share to uphold the Paris Accord, following the President’s announced intention to withdraw from the international agreement to combat climate change. Citizens can reach out to their elected representatives to voice support for these goals, or to suggest more ambitious measures.
Show up to city Sustainability Committee meetings to register comments, or volunteer to serve on one. If there isn’t an existing committee where in your community, then start one.
Write letters to the editor in your local paper voicing your opinions about how your local utility is serving your community, programs or technology you’d like to see or phase out, and what a healthy future looks like for electricity service in your area.