- Public Power Week runs October 7-13th in Nephi
By Myrna Trauntvein
October 7 through 13, has been set aside by Nephi City as Public Power Week.
"The electric utility bill," said Randy McKnight, city administrator, "represents less than 3 percent of the household budget for public power customers. In addition, we are also the stake holders in our own power company."
McKnight showed a short video concerning public power benefits, which will be linked on the city's website, to the council and then Mayor Mark Jones read the resolution aloud to the council and to those attending council meeting before the council adopted it.
"Now, therefore be it resolved: that the Nephi City Electric Department will continue to work to bring lower-cost, safe, reliable electricity to community homes and businesses just as it has since 1902, the year when the utility was created to serve all the residents of Nephi City; and" read Jones.
"Be it further resolved: that the week of October 7-13 be designated the 26th annual Public Power Week in order to honor the Nephi City Electric Department for its contributions to the community and to make its consumer-owners, policy makers, and employees more aware of its contributions to their well-being and how it makes their lives powerful; and
Be it further resolved: that our community joins hands with more than 2,000 other public power systems in the United States in this celebration of public power and recognition that the Nephi City Electric Department is good for consumers, business, the community and the nation."
Jones said that the residents of the city place high value on local control over community services and have chosen to operate a community-owned. locally controlled, not-for-profit electric utility which allows consumers and owners of the public system a say in its operation.
McKnight said that, in 1980, Nephi joined with the Utah municipalities of: Levan, Manti, Provo, Salem and Spanish Fork as members of the Utah Municipal Power Agency (UMPA), a consumer owned corporation, with a mission to: "develop a reliable and economic power supply program to meet all the required electric power and energy needs of its member municipalities."
UMPA is a Joint Action Agency governed by a six member board of directors, consisting of the mayors or council members, of each of the member cities.
In addition, a technical board with an appointee from each of the member cities, usually the city energy director, provides technical analysis to assist the board of directors.
UMPA is a member of the American Public Power Association (APPA), based in Washington, D.C., the service organization for the nation's community-owned electric utilities. Collectively, these utilities serve more than 46 million Americans.
APPA was created in 1940 as a nonprofit, non-partisan organization to advance the public policy interests of its members and their consumers, and provide member services to ensure adequate, reliable electricity at a reasonable price with the proper protection of the environment.
Policy positions emphasize the importance of hometown decision making that puts customers first and ensures a stable supply of electricity while protecting the environment.
"Since two-thirds of public power systems do not generate their own electricity and instead buy it on the wholesale market for distribution to customers, securing competitively priced and reliable wholesale power is a priority, said McKnight. "On a national basis, private power residential customers pay average electricity rates that are about 14 percent more than those paid by public power customers."
There are 3 million business customers and 46 million people served by public power nationwide.
All of the states, except Hawaii, have public power systems; there are 2,008 public power systems in the U.S. which serve 15 percent of power customers, 877 rural electric cooperatives which serve 13 percent of customers, 202 investor-owned electric utilities which serve 68 percent of the power market and 173 marketers which serve four percent of power customers.
The largest municipally owned public power utility, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, serves 1.4 million consumers.
"There are 1,400 public power systems serving communities with populations of 10,000 or fewer (one serves only a few hundred), of which Nephi is one," said McKnight.
APPA is governed by a regionally representative board of directors and approximately 60 APPA staff members carry out policies and programs.
"Public power utilities measure success by how much money stays within the community through low rates and contributions to the city budget, not how much goes out to stockholders across the country and around the world," McKnight said.
On average, public power utilities return to state and local governments
in-lieu-of-tax payments and other contributions that are 15 percent greater than state and local taxes paid by private power companies. Public power utilities lower costs through their partnerships with other local government
departments and other organizations.
Each public power utility is different, reflecting its hometown characteristics and values, but all have a common purpose: providing
reliable and safe not-for-profit electricity at a reasonable price while protecting the environment.