"Public power" is the term used to describe not-for-profit electric utilities created by state or local governments to serve the public interest.
Local Power, Local Control
Public power has many distinct characteristics that benefit consumers and contribute to community progress. One of the most important benefits is local control. Every citizen is a utility owner, with a direct say in policies that affect rates and services. CBPU is governed by a 5 member Board of Commissioners comprised of local citizens who make decisions that support local needs and values. We are accountable directly to our customers!
Public Benefits of Public Power
Public power today is an important, contemporary American institution. From small towns to big cities, wherever public power exists, it is an expression of the American ideal of local people working together to meet local needs.
Public power is also a strong competitive force that provides a "yardstick" for consumers and regulators to measure the performance and rates of private power companies. This continuous competition helps all electric consumers, not just those served by public power.
However, a public power utility – like CBPU – has many distinct characteristics that benefit the consumers of the individual community it serves. These benefits include:
- Equal or greater reliability
- Efficient, personal service
- Lowest cost consistent with reliability, community goals and sound business practices
- Responsiveness to customer concerns - every citizen is an owner with a direct say in policies
- Emphasis on long-term community goals
- Quick response from crews located in the community
- Not-for-profit status – reasonable costs and no split allegiance between customers and stakeholders
- Greater portion of revenues stay in community
- Utility purchases from local establishments, including use of local financial institutions
- Local employment
- A vested interest in seeking and supporting local economic development
- Access to tax-exempt financing for capital projects
- Local management and operations bring added community leadership for innovation and development
- Recognized commitment to conservation, safety and the environment
- Local control over special programs (energy conservation, rate relief for certain customer classes, etc.)