Powering Strong Communities
Community Engagement

Public Power Pays Back

Public power utilities provide affordable, reliable electricity to the customers they serve. These community-owned utilities are not beholden to any shareholders and are driven only by the mission to serve customers and the community.

In addition to affordable electricity, public power utilities provide a direct benefit to their communities in the form of payments and contributions to state and local government. These contributions come in many forms — property-like taxes, payments in lieu of taxes, transfers to the general fund, and free or reduced cost services provided to states and cities.

Many communities are not fully aware of the total value of contributions made by their public power utilities. This report offers a value of these contributions, according to the results of a survey of 192 public power utilities.

In 2020, of public power utilities making a contribution to local or state government, public power utilities contributed a median of 6.1% of electric operating revenues back to the communities they serve. In comparison, investor-owned utilities paid a median of 5.1% of electric operating revenues in taxes and fees to state and local governments in 2020. When all 2020 taxes, tax equivalents, and other contributions to state and local government are considered, the contribution of public power utilities — as a percentage of electric operating revenues — is 20% higher than that of investor-owned utilities.

The report includes:

  • Summaries by revenue size, class, and region of the country for public power and investor-owned utilities.
  • Common types of payments and contributions.
  • Typical methods used by utilities to calculate the amount of payments in lieu of taxes or transfers to the city general fund.

Download the report.