Publicly owned power and why it works
Oct. 8, 2019
It is unfortunate that not everyone has the opportunity to be part of a public power system, where they have a say in the direction, have a financial interest in the company, are able to keep more of their hard earned money, and where providing such a critical product is done so with the customer in mind, as affordably and responsibly as is practical.
Public Power Week, Oct. 6-12, spotlights these utilities that work hard each and every day on behalf of their customers.
Electricity is the most important foundation for a modern society, and critical to the economic vitality of communities. A customer-driven, customer-owned and not-for-profit business model provides the most opportunity for this foundation to be built upon. These are some of the core values of a public power system.
Every aspect of our day-to-day lives relies on electricity being available and being affordable. This was not always the case for many people in the United States. As the benefits of electricity were realized and needed for all communities, the concept of publicly owned and not-for-profit energy companies or public power systems emerged as a way to have grassroots-driven build-outs to the customers that were without electricity. At the time (and still today), it was not profitable for utilities to advance electricity to more people in all communities.
A way to ensure that electricity was not only available to everyone, but affordable, was to remove the profit motive from the economics and work together with other public power entities to share resources. In cases where there is excess revenue over the cost, that money is either reinvested into the electric system or given back to the consumers who purchased the electricity.