About Public Power
There are 82 municipal electric utilities in Wisconsin. Like New Richmond, these communities believe that public power is the best choice for their communities and citizens. Here are a few of the reasons why:
- Community Ownership
The city or municipality it serves owns a community-owned utility. It exists to provide a public service to the residents and businesses of the community. Service -- rather than profit -- is the utility's mission.
- Local Control and Regulation
The rates and services of a municipal utility are governed by the city itself, either through the city commission or an appointed or elected utility authority. Thus, the utility is governed by residents of the community who are also customers of the utility and are thoroughly familiar with its operations and services.
If a customer has a complaint, he or she does not have to call long distance and talk to a series of phone operators. The customer can discuss the problem locally, with another member of the community, and be assured that the problem will be addressed.
- Quick On-Site Response
We work hard to make sure you don’t experience a power outage. Some things like storms and accidents are out of our control. If an outage occurs, we’re always just a few minutes away. We’ll get to the problem and fix it as quickly as possible.
- Efficient Operation
Since one of our goals is to be the low-cost provider of electric service, our current and future advantage lies in our efficient operation. Our expenses are substantially lower than those of a private power company.
- Community Values
Decisions about the operation of a municipal utility are made locally — by members of the community — at open, public meetings. Because all decisions are made locally, a municipal utility is uniquely able to respond to the community's needs, build on the community's strengths and reflect and advance the community's values.
- Keeping Dollars in the Community
Here are some of the ways a municipal utility helps to maintain a sound local economy:
- Local ownership means that customers' energy dollars stay in the community — creating jobs and supporting the local economy.
- Municipal utilities serve as an engine for economic development. Local flexibility and quality service offered by municipal utilities are a major advantage for the community in attracting and retaining commercial and industrial customers.
- Municipal utilities make significant payments-in-lieu-of-taxes to the city. The utility makes payments to the city’s general fund every year in lieu of taxes.
- On average, municipal utility rates are competitive and often lower than those of other utilities. Competitive rates mean more dollars are available to spend on other goods and services, which boosts the local economy.