Your action is needed right away and your presence will help! The fate of Austin Energy, our $3.8 billion asset, is soon to be decided. Our award-winning public utility also funds our parks, streets, libraries and public safety. With City Council at the helm, we’ve had an opportunity to hold Austin Energy Accountable, by electing Council Members and sometimes taking them out of office. We need everyone to speak out… and now.
We say NO to the un-democratic change that is proposed. The Mayor and a majority of City Council members favor creating a un-elected board, with appointees that we don’t get to vote on. Appointees would be insulated from public accountability. Expensive and dirty projects could get fast-tracked. We could lose our green energy and low-income programs, and our City Budget could suffer. Our utility belongs to US, and shouldn’t be handed over to energy insiders and corporate interests, especially with no public VOTE.
Who wants our utility? CCARE is the only group that testified in favor of the governance change for Austin Energy. This group of large industrial users list their address as the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Large companies now benefit to the tune of $20 million from special contracts for low electric rates, but the special deals expire in 2015. This appears to be the real CCARE concern. Their special deals would come on the backs of the majority of ratepayers, and hit especially hard on low-income people. *(more about CCARE below)
Many citizens and organizations are working together to keep control in the hands of those whom we elect. A subcommittee could be set up if that allows more focused time by Council members, and a representative for ratepayers outside the City Limits could be included, but control of the utility should rest in the hands of people that we elect.
More info is online at www.CleanEnergyforAustin.org.
PLEASE COME OUT!
We oppose this bill that was filed by Sen. Watson and is being carried by Rep. Paul Workman in the House. Come sign up and speak if you can – for three minutes, or sign in to show your opposition and speak by your presence. The John H Reagan State Office Building address is 105 West 15th Street. It’s just north of the main Capitol Building, on the West half of the Capitol Complex.
Thursday, May 9th – YOUR PRESENCE NEEDED! City Council will vote on 2nd and 3rd readings on an Ordinance to give control of OUR utility to an un-elected, appointed Austin Energy Board.
It’s agenda Item 14. The ordinance and back up material is online at
Rally at 6 PM. Food will be provided, but please bring more if you can.
TAKE ACTION NOW! #1 – PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE MEMBERS NOW to urge a NO vote on SB 410!
WORKMAN’S BILL ON AUSTIN ENERGY GOVERNANCE is UNDEMOCRATIC:
We oppose this bill that lets Austin City Council transfer management and control of Austin Energy, our city’s largest asset, to a Board of Trustees appointed by City Council — without a Charter Amendment, and the public VOTE that would be required.
State Affairs Committee Emails: Byron.Cook@house.state.tx.us, Helen.Giddings@house.state.tx.us, Tom.Craddick@house.state.tx.us, Jessica.Farrar@house.state.tx.us, John.Frullo@house.state.tx.us, Charlie.Geren@house.state.tx.us, Charlie.Geren@house.state.tx.us, Harvey.Hilderbran@house.state.tx.us, Dan.Huberty@house.state.tx.us, Jose.Menendez@house.state.tx.us, Rene.Oliveira@house.state.tx.us, John.Smithee@house.state.tx.us, Sylvester.Turner@house.state.tx.us On Turner’s staff: Alison.Brock@house.state.tx.us
State Affairs Committee Phone Numbers: Rep. Byron Cook 463-0730, Rep. Helen Giddings 463-0953, Rep. Tom Craddick 463-0500, Rep. Jessica Farrar 463-0620, Rep. John Frullo 463-0676, Rep. Charlie Geren 463-0610, Rep. Patricia Harless 463-0496, Rep. Harvey Hilderbran 463-0536, Rep. Dan Huberty 463-0520 , Rep. José Menéndez 463-0634, Rep. René Oliveira 463-0640, Rep. John T. Smithee 463-0702, Rep. Sylvester Turner 463-0554
Here’s what the bill says: From Watson S.B. No. 410, which passed in the Senate, and is now in the House State Affairs Committee. (c) Notwithstanding any other law, including a municipal ordinance or provision of a municipal charter, a municipality with a population of less than 850,000 that is served by a municipally owned electric utility system with 400,000 or more customers may transfer management and control of the municipality’s electric utility system to a board of trustees appointed by the municipality’s governing body. SECTION 2. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2013.
TAKE ACTION NOW! #2 – PLEASE CALL AND EMAIL CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS to urge them to OPPOSE the ORDINANCE.
We don’t think a separate board is needed, but at minimum, City Council should call for a Charter Amendment election if they want such drastic change. It’s OUR utility, not theirs to give away to corporate interests. Mayor Leffingwell and Bill Spelman have been pushing the governance change.
Mail the Mayor and Council members at once with this link: http://www.austintexas.gov/mail/all-council-members
City Clerk phone number – 512-974-2210, Lee Leffingwell 974-2250, Sheryl Cole 974-2266, Chris Riley 974-2260. Mike Martinez 974-2264, Kathie Tovo 974-2255, Laura Morrison 974-2258, Bill Spelman 974-2256
Karen Hadden, SEED Coalition
1303 San Antonio, #100, Austin, Texas 78701
Some Background on CCARE
The Coalition for Clean Affordable Reliable Energy (CCARE) was originally created by a firm called 3 Point Partners in response to proposed rate increases in Austin Energy. 3 Point Partners met with many of the city’s largest businesses and coordinated the formation of CCARE as a 501(c)6. They crafted the coalition’s mission and core principle statements, helped define the organization’s goals and message and oversaw the media rollout. 3 Point Partners coordinated CCARE’s political strategy and met frequently with city staff, city council and the leadership of Austin Energy.
CCARE includes companies such as AMD, Dell, Data Foundry, Freescale, CBRE, Brandywine, Spansion, Highland Mall, IBM, National Instruments, Samsung, Seton Hospitals, St. David’s, and the Building Owners and Managers Association, Home Builders Association
3 Point Partners client list includes a similar list with a few additions.
AMD, Circuit of the Americas, CCARE, Clear Channel, car2go, Dell, Ferrari, Samsung, Wal-Mart, Tokyo Electron America
Coal Patrol – CCARE
In Texas, 11 new coal plants are in progress – by far the most of any state in the U.S. The Sierra Club is calling for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to enforce the federal Clean Air Act (as is the Environmental Protection Agency) and for Austin Energy to close its Fayette coal plant by 2020. Meanwhile, an Austin business coalition is arguing the opposite case. Calling themselves the Coalition for Clean Affordable Reliable Energy, large electricity-users have organized to fight Austin Energy’s proposed new generation plan, which would replace coal-fueled electricity generation with renewable energy – and could raise electricity rates in the short term, CCARE says. (Long term, an increase is likely without a shift to renewables, too.) While CCARE supports “carbon-reducing initiatives,” it seeks special consideration for its members, which include AMD, Dell, Freescale, Spansion, Highland Mall, IBM, National Instruments, Samsung, Seton Hospitals, St. David’s, and the Building Owners and Managers Association.
Main Web Presence
CCARE Key People
Trey Salinas – (Founder), 3 Point Partners
Ward Tisdale – (Chair), AMD
John Sutton, BOMA
Don Weekly, Brandywine
Andrew Mcfarlane, Data Foundry
Roger Wood, Freescale
Lynda Rife, professional consultant
Trey Salinas is a registered lobbyist who’s clients include Circuit of the Americas, Wal-Mart, The Data Foundry, AMD and more.
Ward Tisdale is Director of AMD’s Global Community Affairs Department.
John Sutton is Assistant Vice President of the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation and is the energy representative for the Building Owners and Managers Association. He served as a member of Austin’s Generation Resource Planning Task Force in 2009 and is a board member of the Austin-based Coalition for Clean Affordable and Reliable Energy (Ccare).
Then There’s This: Surrendering Power
FAQ – CCARE
Press Release – CCARE
Letter to Mayor/City Council – CCARE
Wood: It is time for a governance change at Austin Energy
State report: Austin Energy rate increase too high
The Rich, the Poor, and the AE Generation Plan – CCARE
Clarifying CCARE’s Membership and Mission
Coal Patrol – CCARE
Austin Energy Rate Case Request for Proposal – CCARE
Energy bills to increase – CCARE