Joint action keeps local utility strong

Don Pohlman  Mayor, city of Plymouth

Plymouth is one of 2,000 communities nationwide that has its own electric utility, which is owned by the community and overseen by the Plymouth Common Council.

Why does this matter? As a public power community, we benefit from reliable service and reasonable rates. The employees of Plymouth Utilities provide prompt, hometown service. Equally important is the utility’s not-for-profit status. The revenue generated by our utility stays within the community’s control, contributing to job creation and supporting the local economy. Dollars are re-invested in needed local electric infrastructure and service to our customers.

In addition, Plymouth Utilities has been a member of WPPI Energy since 2001. By joining the organization, we joined forces with 50 other locally owned utilities in Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and Iowa. By working together through WPPI Energy – known as a joint action agency – our community has:

A reliable power provider that strives to keep electricity costs lower over the long term, which is possible in part to WPPI Energy’s ownership stake in power generation facilities and transmission assets.

A commitment to sustainability, as 13 percent of our power supply comes from renewable resources.

Access to joint purchasing, shared technologies, programs, and services to better serve residents and keep our businesses competitive. In 2013, our utility helped customers reduce energy usage by 2,996 megawatt-hours, equivalent to the average annual energy usage of 332 homes in the Upper Midwest. These efforts saved homes and businesses $271,685 in energy costs in just one year.

A seat at the table with regulators and policymakers so we can better advocate for rules and legislation that protect customers. In 2013, we encouraged state legislators to enact a new Wisconsin law that preserves the privacy of municipal utility customers. At the national level, we are actively working to preserve tax-exempt financing for all of our communities. We’ll be just as active to ensure that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new greenhouse gas rules do not adversely affect our customers.

For local governments, finding efficiencies remains as important as ever. During National Public Power Week, October 5-11, Plymouth will commemorate 113 years as a public power community. It’s a decision that has paid many dividends over the decades. We will also celebrate our joint action partnership with other utilities through WPPI Energy, which gives us the needed resources to keep our city up and running every day.

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