About the Association

The American Public Power Association is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. We represent public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million people that public power utilities serve, and the 93,000 people they employ. The Association advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations. Our members strengthen their communities by providing superior service, engaging citizens, and instilling pride in community-owned power.

Purpose and Vision

The Association partners with its members to promote public power, helping community-owned utilities deliver superior services through joint advocacy, education, and collaboration. Its vision is to shape the future of public power to drive a new era of community-owned electric service.

Programs and Services

Sue Kelly, President and CEO of the Association said to members, “Our tagline, ‘Powering Strong Communities,’ speaks to what you do as public power utilities — powering and supporting communities. It also speaks to what we do as your national Association — empowering members to work together on common issues and challenges, and building communities among utility staff, policymakers, and supporters nationwide.” Read more about the Association’s contributions in our latest Year in Review: 2018.

The Association engages in federal advocacy — representing public power’s interests before Congress, the White House, administrative agencies and regulatory bodies, and courts. Our policy priorities and positions are determined by the membership.

The Academy is public power’s complete resource for professional education and certification, helping electric industry employees stay abreast of rapidly evolving technologies, regulations, and customer needs. We host conferences, webinars, special events, and custom in-house trainings.

The Association supports excellence in utility operations through reliability, safety, and disaster preparation programs. We consult with members and provide resources to help them prepare for the future, develop their workforce, and build a strong business and administrative infrastructure. Our DEED research and development program offers scholarships and project grants.

We provide news and analysis through Public Power Daily, Public Power Magazine, blog, and social media. The Association offers tools and resources to help members raise awareness of public power.


The Association was created in 1940 as a nonprofit, non-partisan organization to advance the public policy interests of its members and their customers, and provide member services to ensure adequate, reliable electricity at a reasonable price with the proper protection of the environment. For over seven decades, the Association has been the link for hundreds of communities in battles to preserve local public ownership of electric utilities.

Harold Kramer was the Association’s first secretary-manager for about six months, followed by Carlton Nau, who worked many months without a salary as the Association struggled to build membership. Nau was succeeded at the helm by Alex Radin, who led for 35 years.

Radin came to be regarded as the face and voice of public power in Washington. He always believed in public power as a force for good in the electric utility industry. Through some of the toughest battles on the policy fronts, the Association — under his leadership — stood up for the rights of the people to choose not-for-profit public power systems to be their electricity providers.

The Association sustains the legacy of a simple yet exceptional business model for public power. Do what is best for customers. Do what is right, and be responsible stewards of both the customers’ money and the environment. Listen to the community and give back to it. It’s the business model we support for public power, even while we reboot for changes and new challenges.