The Michigan Municipal Electric Association (MMEA) is Michigan’s trade group for municipally owned electric utilities, also known as Public Power utilities. The communities in Michigan that own and operate a municipal utility provide approximately 10% of the state’s total electricity requirements.
Cities or villages with municipal electric systems provide electric service to their residents, just as communities commonly provide water and sewer service. Many of these utilities are more than 100 years old. As units of local government, municipal electric systems are non-profit, community owned and operated, and regulated directly by the city and customers they serve.
Michigan’s public power utilities are protected under the Michigan Constitution which states that “No city or village shall acquire any public utility furnishing light, heat or power, or grant any public utility franchise which is not subject to revocation at the will of the city or village, unless the proposition shall first have been approved by three-fifths of the electors voting thereon. No city or village may sell any public utility unless the proposition shall first have been approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon, or a greater number if the charter shall so provide.”
The MMEA provides its 40 Member Municipalities with a host of services including an annual conference, communication services, legislative services, legal assistance, educational seminars, and training. MMEA also keeps Members informed of the latest news and information regarding electric utilities through its monthly magazine, Currents, and other publications.
The Association monitors legislation and regulations impacting Members on both a state and national level. MMEA also assists its Members in emergency disaster planning through the formation of a mutual aid contract – whereby cities provide both labor and equipment to other Member municipalities in the event of an emergency that impacts their electric system.
Public Power today is an important, contemporary American institution. From small towns to big cities, wherever Public Power exists, it is an expression of the American ideal of local people working together to meet local needs.