YOU - the Power in Public Power
YOU … The Power in Public Power
Hurricane IRMA headed to CLINTON! Yep, that was the reaction a few weeks ago as we followed the projected track of Hurricane Irma as it made its way up through Florida leaving millions without power, water and other essential services.
So…what’s the BIG deal with Public Power? Aren’t we just another power company?
No! In fact, the city of Clinton is one of more than 2,000 public power utilities that are community-owned not-for-profit electricity (comfort) providers to more than 49 million people across the country. In South Carolina, 170,000 residential and business customers in 21 cities and towns receive their power from municipal power systems, which range in size from 360 to 37,000 customers. All 21 municipal power systems are members of the South Carolina Association of Municipal Power Systems. Therefore, YOU – our citizens are customer-owners of the electric system of Clinton which means you have a voice. It means you are included in the decision making process because in municipalities operating power systems in South Carolina, the voters in the city elect the council or governing board responsible for operating the electric utility. Because of the local nature of municipal power systems, customers get quick responses to issues, and since public power utilities operate under the state's open government laws, customers can bring any opinions or concerns to an open meeting of the municipal council or governing board.
Public Power also means that our dedicated team of employees live here, work here, and dedicate everyday to serving our families and friends. We care deeply that the power stays on during those pesky storms and respond in minutes to restore services when that tree comes down or that bolt of lightning hits the circuit. You don’t have to wait for crews to come in from another city, county, or sometimes even state.
Additionally, locally owned electric utilities contribute an average of 5% to 6% of our revenue to the community. The City of Clinton gives back to the community by:
· Providing free electric service for streetlights, traffic lights, recreational facilities, municipal buildings and water and sewer operations
· Hanging city signs, banners, and holiday decorations
· Tree Trimming
· Technical expertise, including electrical repairs and projects at municipal facilities
· Sharing resources, including employees, vehicles and equipment with other city departments
Public Power means we stand ready to help our neighbors when they have storm damage such as we did with Hurricane Irma. Through excellent maintenance practices we were able to keep our system restored on a moment’s notice which allowed our great team of line workers to respond to our neighbors down the road to assist in speeding their recovery. Our team traveled to Jacksonville among hundreds of other municipal forces to restore power to millions in Florida. The big surprise…our teams returned within the week! Public Power had shone bright setting record restorations among the municipal systems in Florida giving citizens assurance life would return to normal!
We are also more than public power. Most municipal power systems in South Carolina provide one or more other utilities such as water, sanitary sewer, or even natural gas, in addition to electric service. It's more efficient to integrate utilities and combine engineering staff, equipment, and administrative functions and personnel. Customers also benefit from the convenience of receiving a single bill for the combined utility services and making one payment each billing cycle. A combined municipal utility system also offers the advantage of a one-stop shop, which allows new customers looking to establish service or wanting to ask questions to communicate with a single entity. So, whether its water, sewer, sanitation, or Public Safety, coming to the aid of our neighbors is only one of the stellar examples of the dedication our team members display when serving the citizens of Clinton.
Public Power means investing in technology to provide essential services more efficiently and cost effective such as LED Lighting that consumes approximately 10% of the energy as a standard fixture with nearly no maintenance cost. Clinton is investing in new meter reading technology that will provide choices to our citizens never imagined before. As renewables continue to evolve to higher efficiencies and lower costs, Clinton is near completion of a Solar Project being installed in-house to study and learn how to best integrate solar power generation to provide maximum benefit for our customers. We are also working with local grass roots organizations to develop an Urban Forestry program to provide for an essential, beautiful tree canopy that is utility friendly and sustains our environment.
Public Power means knowing our community and its needs. Which, in turn, helps us keep homes, businesses, and public places powered year-round. Local ownership allows us the flexibility to tailor rate and policy decisions to support economic development projects that have allowed us to partner with local interest to develop our Class A Industrial Park, to win the GE Renewables Project to provide jobs for our citizens, and to find that solution to locate that next small business downtown.
Public Power means caring for the community in which we live, work and play. Public Power means…YOU!
We live, breathe and work to provide the quality community in which we all want to live in and enjoy. Our great team of employees works each day to accomplish your goals and objectives and do it safely and with much pride.
So, allow me to say, “Thank You”, for letting us be a part of your daily lives by trusting our efforts to provide the essential services you need and deserve in a safe, reliable and efficient manner. YOU… are the Power in Public Power!
(Dale Satterfield is the Clinton Interim City Manager.)