CEO’s Report: Public Power Proud
Heartland recently ordered signs for our customer communities recognizing them as Public Power Communities served by Heartland. We’ve been delivering them as we can and asking local city employees to put them up, so they are visible as people drive into town.
As I drove around this past summer and fall visiting with customers, I realized there was nothing designating each town as one with a public power utility. The signs are a good reminder to residents and visitors alike.
These signs are more than just a piece of decoration or advertisement. Having a locally-owned, locally-run electric utility is something to be extremely proud of and we should all remind people of it every chance we get.
Benefits, by the numbers
There are less than 40 locally-owned, municipal electric systems in South Dakota. Minnesota’s numbers are higher at about 125. Iowa boasts 136 municipal electric utilities.
Across the nation, approximately 2,000 public power utilities provide electricity to 49 million people, which is 1 in 7 electricity customers.
Regardless of size or location, all public power customers enjoy a number of unique advantages:
- Municipal utilities create jobs. Reliable service to the community is backed by local service personnel, which translates to local leadership. Public power utilities employ 93,000 dedicated, knowledgeable people across the country.
- Municipal utilities are a “one-stop shop.” Public power utilities are unique in that they provide many essential services, such as electricity, water, sewer, storm water drainage, streets and street lighting, to local businesses and residents. Many also provide fire and police protection, ambulance services and even cable television.
- Municipal utilities give back. Utility revenues are invested back into the community. In fact, public power alone invests more than $2 billion annually directly back into their communities across the nation. Public power gives 33 percent more back to the community than private utilities.
- Municipal utilities are owned by the people they serve. The local governing body, elected by the citizens, has authority over rates, infrastructure investments and more. There is opportunity for citizen input through open meetings and public records provide accountability.
- Municipal utilities promote development. Public power utilities play an active role in economic development in their communities. Heartland works with our customers to provide a variety of resources and incentives to encourage growth and expansion in their communities.
Educate your customers
There’s no way we could put all these great benefits on a sign. There’s too many to list and nobody would be able to read it while driving by.
However, we hope these signs do get people asking questions about your utility, giving you the opportunity to inform and educate them on what living in a public power community means.
These signs are just the first step in raising awareness of public power and I appreciate our customers taking time and energy to get them installed. I can’t wait to make visits and see the public power message spread throughout our customer communities.
Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!