Organizing for a Better Energy Future

Two months ago, I started working on a campaign calling for a better energy future for my community here in Minneapolis. I have learned a ton, met some incredible people, and gained a deeper understanding of the nature of the problems we're facing.

Currently, the city of Minneapolis holds a 20-year contract with Xcel Energy, a corporate power company, to provide electrical service to our city. Xcel is large conglomerate that operates in 10 states, and had over $10.5 billion in revenues as of 2011.

Our community deserves a better energy future than what Xcel is willing to offer us. Our current system fails us in the following ways:

*Xcel has raised rates over 40% over the last ten years while almost tripling their profit margin.
*Xcel's hiring practices perpetuate and deepen the racial employment disparity in the city of Minneapolis, the worst in the country.

*Xcel uses their monopoly on the grid to keep clean energy innovators and entrepreneurs off the market
*Xcel refuses to make necessary upgrades to the grid, including burying of lines and transformers. As a result, we experience rolling brownouts and inconsistent power in some parts of the city. In June 2013, a strong thunderstorm knocked out power to nearly everyone in the city, leaving residents and small businesses without power for as much as five days.
*Less than 20% of the power Xcel Energy pumps into the Minneapolis system comes from renewable resources. Nearly 35% of our power is derived from heavily polluting coal plants.

Our community deserves a better energy future, and for two months I have had the honor of working towards it. We've experienced a great deal of success, culminating in an August 8th exchange between Mayor R.T. Rybak and divisional CEO Dave Sparby that promised more solar investment and investment in efficiency programs, more information sharing about the health of our local systems, and a commitment to help the city meet its climate goals.

However our work is far from done. We need lower rates, more jobs and investment, a more reliable system, and clean energy on the wires. And with the threat of climate change hanging over our heads, we can't afford to wait (energy usage in Minneapolis is responsible for more than 60% of our CO2 emissions).

The campaign is no longer able to fund my work, but I love the work I'm doing and our community needs a greater conversation about how our energy system works.

Help me raise the money to work on this issue for the next six months. Please make a gift of $25, $50, or $100 (or more!) so that I can continue to work in our community for a better energy future.

Thanks for your support!


P.S. If you'd like to see how I arrived at the number above, send me an e-mail at [email redacted] and I will send you a detailed budget. Thanks!


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Bill Breon 
Minneapolis, MN
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