Five Legislative Priorities of the American Public Power Association

The American Public Power Association (APPA) is a non-profit, non-partisan trade association for public power utilities in the United States that focuses on, among other things, advancing the legislative and regulatory interests of its members.

Key Details

Early March marked the APPA’s annual legislative rally in Washington, D.C., during which APPA’s members met with lawmakers on major policy and regulatory issues. The APPA is currently focusing on five legislative priorities:

  • Take thoughtful action to address climate change – The APPA believes the Clean Power Plan (CPP) is trying to do “too much, too fast”
    • There are three categories that the APPA asserts need to be carefully considered and planned for—reliability, wholesale markets, and infrastructure development
    • The APPA encourages enough time to be built into regulations to allow for reliability planning and review, utility infrastructure development, and coordination among all stakeholders impacted by the CPP
  • Preserve public power’s ability to build with bonds – The APPA opposes recent proposals by policymakers to reverse the tax-exempt status of interest paid on municipal bonds
  • Protect public power’s ability to self-supply – The APPA suggests that capacity markets do not incent new electric generation and that they make such investments more expensive by increasing the cost of capital. Thus, they believe that public power utilities should be allowed to own generation or buy power through direct contracts
  • Facilitate collaboration to secure the grid – The APPA supports increased federal funding to expedite utility compliance measures and more transparent communication to raise awareness of threats and best practices
    • As security threats and federal standards are increasing in both number and complexity, the APPA continues to encourage utilities to adopt a “360-degree security posture”
    • A “360-degree security posture” establishes security as a cross-cutting priority across every facet of utility operations and the enterprise
  • Pave the way for solar innovation – The APPA acknowledges that solar and other distributed generation technologies play an important role and supports the view that Congress should keep participation in net metering voluntary for public power. The organization supports the utilities’ development of alternative policies and practices

Key Implications

These five legislative priorities for the APPA provide an important perspective, offered in support of the more than 2,000 public power entities in the United States, on some of the major issues in the electric industry today. Leaders need to understand these interests, along with those of other important voices in the conversation, in order to help the industry succeed as it continues to change.

More Information

SNL: APPA keeps up fight over self-supply, local distributed generation control

American Public Power Association

AEP: Federal Power Act

Energy.gov: Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978

EPA: Energy Independence and Security Act

This report is part of the Public Power Minute series. To view all featured Minutes, please click here.

Additional Contributing Author: Shefaali Singh Keegan

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