The American Public Power Association (APPA) is the national service organization representing the interests of over 2,000 municipal and other state- and locally-owned electric utilities in 49 states. Collectively, public power utilities deliver electricity to approximately 48 million customers, serving some of the nation’s largest cities, as well as its smallest towns.

Having access to more cost-effective and reliable freight rail transportation is vital to providing Americans with affordable power and electricity.

What sort of issues are APPA members experiencing?

Electric utilities rely on freight rail transportation to move coal from mines to power plants. Unfortunately, outdated policies and massive consolidation within rail industry have left energy providers with little to no options when it comes to transported coal by rail. As a result, rates for transporting coal by rail have risen dramatically while service has declined.

Over the past several years, APPA members have been forced to deal with extensive service issues like late coal shipments on top of rate increases, putting the ability of utilities to deliver reliable and affordable electricity to homes and businesses across America at risk.

What’s at stake for America’s public power industry?

Public power utilities deliver affordable electricity to approximately 48 million Americans, 33 percent of which is generated from coal transported by freight rail.

Unfortunately, obsolete regulatory policies have subjected electric utilities and the communities they serve to unnecessarily high freight rail rates and poor service for coal transportation. And while the Surface Transportation Board (STB) has proposed several common-sense reforms to help address ongoing freight rail problems, they have been unable to implement those changes with only two (of five) members currently serving on the STB Board.

What needs to be done?

The APPA urges President Trump to appoint reform-minded members to the STB who will implement free market solutions that increase competition and help ensure commodities, including coal, can be shipped efficiently and reliably by rail.

APPA members look forward to continuing their work with other rail customers, and urge the U.S. Senate to also do its part to confirm qualified, pro-reform STB nominees.