What if a community owned its electric utility cooperatively, rather than paying a for-profit company? Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative could be a model. Energy Services manager Jessica Nelson describes how this locally owned, democratically governed non-profit serves the good of the community.
Besides lower rates, customers benefit from incentives to conserve electricity, install geothermal heating/cooling systems, and solar panels (photovoltaics). The co-op's dream? To not only distribute power but to generate it — through a wind turbine project. (www.psln.com) See Video
Yuba Gals Independent Media production partners Robyn Mallgren and Janaia Donaldson have been producing local video programs for community access television since 2002.
The Yuba Gals live in rural Nevada City and their business is named for the nearby South Yuba River, a part of the Wild and Scenic river system in California. They live on 160 acres of forest land, in a 1500 square-foot off-grid home using about 10% of the electricity of the average American home (including home office). Their home is heated by a wood stove using deadfall wood from their property. Propane heats the cookstove, on-demand water heater and backup generator (needed only during gray-day periods in winter). Not yet energy independent, but moving in that direction!