Community

Mayors proclaim pride in public power

We invited mayors of public power communities to tell us how their communities are enriched by having a not-for-profit community-owned electric utility.

Mayor Chuck Burris, Athens, TN

“Having our local utility be a municipally owned public power organization means that decisions are made locally, not in a corporate boardroom where the main concern is to please shareholders. The people shaping the future of our utility, regarding everything from rates to special projects to support of local commerce and industry via economic development ventures, are people we know and trust, people we see every day and can pick up the phone and call anytime. AUB’s motto to the community is, ‘We’re Your Neighbor. Your Utility.’ By being locally owned and operated with full transparency as a public power provider, everybody in town knows that is not just a motto for our hometown utility, it’s a fact.”

“The Columbia City Municipal Electric Utility has enabled the city to improve and enhance the lives of our citizens. Whether it is the flexibility to partner with local businesses and organizations, or providing vital community services like lighting enhancements and tree cutting, having our own electric utility allows us to control our destiny.”

Mayor Ryan Daniel, Columbia City, IN
Mayor Mark Saliba, Dothan, AL

“As a member of the Alabama Municipal Electric Agency, the City of Dothan takes great pride in being able to reinvest savings back into our community. And because we’re a member of a public power provider, Dothan’s citizens are the ‘shareholders’ who reap the benefits of those dividends. Dothan Utilities’ partnership with a not-for-profit, community-owned entity not only means our customers pay nearly 15% less than those powered by private utilities, it also means a quicker response time during an outage. Being able to provide a great product at a lower price is a business model I can support!”

“Fort Collins Utilities is committed to providing world class services for an exceptional community that is committed to a sustainable future. As a locally owned and managed public power agency, our utility values innovation, economic vitality, and environmental stewardship. We demonstrate leadership by providing safe, reliable power through operational excellence, exceptional customer interactions, and a culture of innovation in the midst of rapid transformation.”

Mayor Wade Troxell, Ft Collins, CO
Mayor Geri McCaleb, Grand Haven, MI

“The City of Grand Haven is fortunate to have a community-owned public power facility. There is a lot of community pride in having our own facility, and the reliability of our power and the customer service is second to none.”

“As a community served by a public power agency, the City of Huntingburg has received many benefits. Our citizens have safe, reliable energy at a low cost. But we also have a voice with regard to the decisions being made about the future of our energy supply. Having local control on such a vital resource is very beneficial. And we have been able to leverage our utility as an engine for economic development. The locally controlled rates and quality service provided to our residents are a big advantage in attracting and retaining local development.”

Mayor Denny Spinner, Huntingburg, IN
Mayor Rebecca Casper, Idaho Falls, ID

“Public power provides maximum value to Idaho Falls’ citizens. In addition to providing some of the lowest power rates in the country, the power generation resources our local utility owns are 100% carbon-free. And the new power and broadband resources we are developing are cutting-edge and innovative. Why? Because we live here too. Local, public ownership of our power utility translates into management that is completely responsive to residents, businesses and other citizens in our community who rely on the services we provide. Our customers are our neighbors.”

“Public power enriches the lives of our community by providing low-cost electricity and governance of the provider at the local level. Additionally, revenue generated by a municipal utility, such as the Kissimmee Utility Authority, is invested back into the community through infrastructure improvements and various community engagement and outreach programs.”

Mayor Jose Alvarez, Kissimmee, FL
Newell Clark

 

 

“When people ask me about public power and what it means, I say the definition of public power is exceptional reliability and superior service.”

“Our community is enriched by having a municipal utility in a number of ways. Local governmental control over the utility means that citizens have more control over their utility. Additionally, BWL’s residential rates are typically much lower than an investor-owned utility. As the largest municipal utility in the state of Michigan, BWL not only provides water and electricity, but employs over 700 people living across our region. BWL is an organization with a purely local scope, and all investments BWL makes go directly back to the community in the form of upgraded infrastructure.”

Mayor Andy Schor, Lansing, MI
Mayor Brian Bagley, Longmont, CO

“Longmont Power & Communications puts the community first, providing solid reliability, some of Colorado’s lowest electric rates, and a dedicated team. In a recent major snowstorm, LPC restored power in less than two hours. Nearby private utilities needed three days. Public power enriches our whole community and helps it thrive.”

“The highest value that we place on having a public electric utility in Manitowoc is that the citizens own and operate all aspects of the utility. Each and every citizen is a shareholder and continually reaps the benefits. Benefits range from low rates (not a single rate increase since I was first elected 10 years ago), to the payment in lieu of taxes the utility pays to the city to lower our property tax burden. Our electric utility has also started many economic development programs to incentivize businesses to locate in Manitowoc. It truly is one of our greatest assets.”

Mayor Justin Nickels, Manitowoc, WI
Ken Branner

“The Town of Middletown benefits from both the value of public power as well as the power of joint action as a member of the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation. By keeping decision-making local, we were able to make the most economical decisions and bring savings to our community by aggregating our power needs with other community-owned electric utilities in the state. We can quickly respond to the needs of our customers and bring in new businesses to further economic development through a streamlined permitting process and infrastructure that’s ready for growth. Over the past decade, our electric load has increased 1,600% due to the addition of businesses like Amazon. Seeing such growth is a true testament to the value of being a hometown public power utility.”

“New Braunfels Utilities provides a resilient power supply in one of the fastest-growing areas of the country. They are committed to keeping the lights on and the rates are amongst the lowest in the region. NBU is well prepared to meet the needs of our community for generations to come.”

Barron Casteel
Gary Fuller

“Opelika Power Services has been owned by our citizens for over 100 years. As a not-for-profit, locally owned and operated utility, everything we do is for the benefit of our citizens and customers. Revenues are invested back in our community, supporting Opelika City schools, parks, and public safety. Because we’re public power, our rates are substantially lower than the co-ops or investor-owned utilities.”

“Pasco, Washington, is powered 100% by public power from Franklin PUD. We’ve long valued the partnership we have with our community-owned and locally regulated utility district. Franklin PUD is 94% clean — having nearby and plentiful hydropower as its main source of power. We value the benefits of hydropower in the Pacific Northwest because it is reliable, renewable, and produces almost zero greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, we need our hydro to back up our other renewable resources, including wind and solar.”

Matt Watkins
Michelle Kaufusi

“Not only does Provo Power provide safe and reliable electricity to our residents and businesses with competitive electric rates, they contribute financially to our community by transferring 11% of revenues to the city’s general fund, which helps support vital city functions. They also offer many community benefits, including an energy efficiency rebate program, an annual tree giveaway [and] community events, and sponsor additional city events, which offers economic boosts for our community, among others. Without the partnership and coordination with Provo Power, our city and the community would lack in critical services and opportunities for growth.”

“In the City of Sacramento we’re lucky to have a municipal utility partner in SMUD as we work toward reducing our carbon footprint through electrification of vehicles and buildings. SMUD’s low rates, especially for downtown businesses, also help foster economic growth. They are a leader in the state and nation in achieving a green energy portfolio that helps our region achieve its goals in combatting climate change.

Darrell Steinberg
David Genshaw

“The value of public power to the Seaford community is tremendous; it allows us to be more responsive much faster and more flexible with economic development projects, which gives us an advantage. We employ local utility professionals whose customers are their neighbors, and they strive every day to provide exemplary service. Public power helps make us “The perfect place to start!”

“Our public power system gives our community ownership of an asset that produces a tangible benefit for them every day; it builds a sense of community. We branded ourselves as a public power community, and now it is the reason some select it as the community to raise a family; it’s a vital link to economic development.”

Bill Acee
Dennis Walstra

“When we think of our local power utility, maybe we think of flipping a switch or plugging something in. But as a public power utility, Sioux Center Municipal Utilities does more than just provide essential services. It also powers the success of our community. Our utilities are governed locally, keeping decision-making closer to where customers live and closer to their best interests. Our municipal utilities employ people here and give back to the community in many ways, investing in local growth. Because employees are based here, they have real accountability to customers. They are safety-minded and use environmentally conscious practices. Sioux Center is their home, and they take pride in serving it well.”

“As the fourth largest municipal electric utility in Florida and the 27th largest in the United States, Tallahassee’s community-owned utility provides affordable and reliable power, delivered with the highest level of customer service. As a public power utility, we have the ability to make decisions locally that reflect the values of our residents. For instance, the City Commission recently adopted a Clean Energy Resolution that was created with input from the community. The resolution outlines the goal and sets milestones for moving our organization and community to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. We are already reaching milestones such as planning for a second solar farm, reducing emissions beyond the 2020 Paris Accord and Kyoto protocol, and helping residents conserve energy.”

John E. Dailey
Tags
Topics