Madison Gas and Electric (MG&E) says it will sponsor a series of community talks on energy conservation and community energy issues beginning this month. MG&E Chief Executive Gary Wolter, who announced the Community Energy Conversation initiative April 30, wants the company to become the “utility of the future” by addressing the energy-related problems that most affect customers' lives.
The effort will include MG&E shareholders, customers and other organizations. Working alongside their consultant, Justice and Sustainability Associates (JSA), MG&E is working to finalize these ongoing conversations.
“My associates and I have met with leaders and members of a number of community organizations and associations about making sure that the people’s ideas, concerns, and issues get aired fully throughout this process,” said JSA CEO Don Edwards.
The community sessions will have three phases, which are likely to evolve as the discussions continue. Beginning in June, phase one will start with small group meetings. The second phase will have larger meetings and discussions, yet they will be less frequent than the meetings in phase one. In this phase, attendees will discuss how to balance priorities and goals. The final phase, including many community members and groups, will focus on defining MG&E’s future direction.
Throughout the different phases of the Community Energy Conversation initiative, Edwards and Wolter want MG&E’s customers to answer a series of questions. These questions include: “How will MG&E change and evolve as it continues to provide power efficiently, reliably, responsibly, and cost-effectively in the future?”; and “How does MG&E transition to a cleaner energy supply?”.
The Community Energy Conversations are a good way for MG&E to get customer feedback on future energy concerns, Wolter added.
MG&E says it is committed to providing everyone access to information throughout this process and to creating a range of opportunities for community members to share their feedback with the company.
One issue customers have already expressed concern with is MG&E's use of coal to provide electricity. Coal is a major source for reliable energy. In fact, 70 percent of the electricity MG&E provides comes from coal-fired power plants. Wolter hopes that the community conversations tackle such concerns.
MG&E plans to share updates about the Community Energy conversations online at mge.com.
[Sources: Wisconsin State Journal; Madison Gas & Electric News Release]