Berlin Energy Roundtable

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= “The Berliner Energietischis an alliance of around 56 local civil society groups and initiator of a campaign in which Berlin's citizens were asked to ‘reclaim’ Berlin's power”.  [1]

Description

“The Berliner Energietisch, roughly translated as Berlin Energy Roundtable, was founded in 2011 and is an alliance of around 56 local civil society groups. Moreover it is the initiator of an impressive big campaign in which Berlin's citizens were asked to ‘reclaim’ Berlin's power. 

The Berliner Energietisch is a broad social alliance and a socio-ecological movement of local Berlin initiatives and organizations and many dedicated citizens. The non-party alliance sees itself as an open platform. Currently 56 local civil society groups joined the coalition. These alliance partners range from large organizations to small initiatives from across the social and environmental movements to activist networks. Church groups, welfare and tenant counselling organizations as well as cultural associations could be found in the alliance as well as the usual suspects from the environmental and social association.

The overall aim was the establishment of a more ecological, social and democratic energy supply in Germany’s capital. Therefore the Berliner Energietisch draft law was put up to vote in November 2013. 600.000 Berliners voted in favour of the initiatives idea. But it failed due to a Berlin-specific barrier – a 25- per cent quorum. This means that a valid referendum is just achieved when at least 25 per cent of Berlin's electorate say ‘yes’. So although more than 80 per cent voted with ‘yes’ the referendum failed. . In the end only 21.000 votes were missing.

Nevertheless the Berliners have set a clear signal towards a public owned energy supply and this could not be neglected, neither by Berlin's federal state government nor by referendum opponents. 

The Berliner Energietisch is still active and constructively supervises the energy policy of the Berlin federal state government. “ (http://berliner-energietisch.net/english-information)


Discussion

Seven Reasons for a community-owned energy supply

  * Basic necessities should belong to the public

The power supply is important to everyone in Berlin. In the hands of large corporations, it is managed to maximize profit rather than to serve the needs of Berlin’s citizens.  

* 100 percent green energy

The days of coal and nuclear power are over! The Berlin municipal power company will rely on decentralized renewable energy plants in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. The goal is to provide you with 100 percent real green power.


* Profits stay in Berlin

The grid buyback is worth it! Berlin will benefit from a secure source of income over the long term, and the profits will stay in our region, rather than enriching Vattenfall’s corporate headquarters.


* Democratic control of the energy supply 

The citizens of Berlin will be able to participate in the shaping of their energy supply. Berlin voters will directly elect some members of the power company’s Board of Directors, and citizen initiatives and other mechanisms will allow Berliners to directly participate in and influence power company policies.  

* Reducing energy consumption 

Energy conservation and efficiency can make an important contribution to climate protection. Berlin’s municipal power company will support this goal, which will also lead to lower energy bills. 


* A socially responsible energy transition 

Our municipal utilities will provide a socially responsible transition to low-carbon energy. Low-income households will receive targeted energy-saving advice and will receive support to purchase energy-saving household appliances. Energetic modernization of buildings should not overburden low-income households.


* Transparency instead of secret treaties

The municipal utility and grid company will operate under clear rules for transparency. Important documents will be published on the Internet, allowing citizens the opportunity to examine company policies. This will help make the pricing of electricity rates clear and understandable.” (http://berliner-energietisch.net/english-information)


More Information

  • june 13, 2013: "Berlin and Hamburg Referenda to Reverse Electricity Grid Privatization" - truth out [2]
  • march 05, 2013: "Big Energy Battle: An Unlikely Effort to Buy Berlin's Grid" - spiegel online international [3]
  • march 17, 2013: "Referendum movement in Berlin aims to democratize entire energy sector" - democracy at work [4]
  • april 16, 2013: "Gaining public ownership of electricity in Berlin" - The Municipal Services Project [5]