It’s not a new idea. In fact, some of the nation’s largest cities—Los Angeles, San Antonio, Seattle and Orlando—operate locally owned electric utilities. Of course, many public power utilities serve as few as 3,000 customers. One thing unites them all, no matter how big or small: a commitment to community and affordable, responsible power.
Other utility companies are sometimes called “public” because they provide electric services to everyone—but that doesn’t make them true public power utilities.
Because local public power utilities are owned and operated by the communities they serve, there are no stockholders to please or profits to make. Rates are set locally—usually by citizen-controlled boards in open meetings where community members can influence local energy policies. Local needs are considered when decisions are made about rates and services, power generation and green alternatives. And that way, public power revenues can be reinvested in community programs and projects that do the common good.
Public power utilities are not-for-profit. They’re local. And that makes all the difference.