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Devotion to community pays a dividend for Hopkinsville utility


From the August 6, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published August 6, 2013

Hopkinsville Electric Service sets a high bar in Christian County, Ky., for corporate commitment to community needs. The utility, a 2013 winner of APPA’s Community Service Award, has been one of the most prominent contributors to the local United Way campaign for decades. Since 2006, all 40 of the utility’s employees have contributed to United Way’s "Care Share" campaign, a level of giving achieved when individuals donate one hour of pay per month to United Way for a full year.

The highly skilled jobs required to run an electric utility make HES employees among the more highly compensated in the region, said General Manager Austin Carroll. "I think it helps that we demonstrate that we are giving something back to the community," he said. "The community pays our salaries. We need to demonstrate that we’re not only giving back in terms of keeping the lights on and providing telecommunications services, but also in our charitable giving."

The utility’s highly visible commitment to community service paid a dividend a few years ago when elected officials eyed a possible sale of the utility to the neighboring electric cooperative. The independent utility board decided to vote on the suggestion and dozens of customers showed up at the meeting to voice their objections to the proposal. The board voted that night not to entertain a sale.

Hopkinsville Electric is profiled in a Public Power magazine article, "No More Tears," which is posted on publicpower.org.

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