On Tuesday 3rd August 2021, we held our first ever CoPower customer member forum.
The purpose of the forum was for customer members to start to determine how we will allocate our electricity revenue after the conclusion of our COVID-19 solidarity credit program. In other words, this is participatory budgeting in action in Australia.
Prior to the meeting we sought input from our customer members and broader networks about project proposals that we could fund. We received the following proposals:
We had a total of 19 people attend our first ever forum, which was exciting (the photo above was taken just at the end of the forum because we had forgotten to take one earlier in the evening). The full minutes of the meeting are here.
In summary, we received a short 5 minute outline of each of the proposals. You can find further details on the full list of budget proposals here. There is also some supplementary information on the international climate solidarity proposal here, and extra information on the climate action conference sponsorship proposal here.
After hearing more about each of the proposals, we broke up into small groups. In the groups we discussed how we felt about the proposals, and what the next steps might look like. The strong theme coming back at the meeting was that people wanted to reinvest back into CoPower in the broadest sense of the term. We want to build the commons, and this includes investing in building awareness of CoPower and taking chances to demonstrate our values to the broader public.
One of our great customer members also came up with an idea of how we could conduct the vote on the budget. This idea is could vote on a proportional basis. We’ve taken this idea, and worked up an initial proposal here. The proposal is open to customer member comment, suggestion and feedback.
We’ll soon announce a date for our second customer member forum to finalise how the voting will proceed.