Case Studies

Maine (Statewide)

Activists attempted to force the people of Maine to write a blank check for the government to take over the entire energy grid

  • 2023
  • 2023
  • Voters in Maine had the question of a government takeover of the energy grid put before them.

    The proposal would force a multi-billion-dollar acquisition of the state’s two private utility companies – Central Maine Power and Versant – energy grids.
  • The ballot question was brought forward as an attempt to lower electric rates but faced significant opposition from voters.

    With the $13.5 billion dollar price tag, voters rejected the proposal 69% to 30%. 

El Paso, Texas

El Paso voters were asked to write a blank check to take over the city’s energy grid, despite no clear plan on how this would address city priorities

  • 2022

  • 2023
  • Municipalization effort in El Paso qualifies for the ballot.
  • El Paso residents were asked to vote on municipalization of the electric grid in what was portrayed as both an effort to switch to clean energy and a response to differing priorities of the Texas state government.
  • Voters expressed concern with the lack of a completed feasibility study, and the lack of power generation capabilities within city limits. The measure was defeated 82% to 18%.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago spent millions exploring public power, only to find it would fail due to untold costs.

  • 2019
  • 2020
  • The city of Chicago begins exploring a government takeover of the power grid, conducting a study to determine feasibility and cost.

  • After determining public power would see a 43% increase in electric rates and would result in billions of dollars of debt, Chicago abandons the public power pursuit.

Boulder, Colorado

Over a nearly 15-year period of litigation to identify utility assets and acquisition costs, millions of dollars were spent on analysis and legal fees by the City of Boulder. The result – abandoned efforts and ballooning costs.

  • 2006
  • 2020
  • Boulder’s City Council authorized spending $150,000 to study whether municipalization was physically and fiscally feasible.
  • Unable to reach an agreement on municipalization terms, Boulder voters approved the new franchise agreement with Xcel and agreed to pause municipalization efforts.
  • Boulder has spent approximately $23.9 million on the municipalization project.

Long Island, New York

After almost 20 years of untold costs the state is forced to hand control to a private company with emergency legislation.

  • 1985
  • 1988
  • 2013
  • Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) was formed to acquire part of the Long Island energy grid.
  • LIPA takes on a nearly $7 billion in bond debt to acquire the remaining energy grid from the Long Island Lighting Company.
  • With residential electric rates 78% above the national median, LIPA reports a total debt of $7.6 billion.
  • New York State Government intervenes, transferring day-to-day operations back to a private company.