Jeff Haas, vice president of membership and information technology for the American Public Power Association, out of Washington, D.C., addressed public power versus investor-owned utilities.
The biggest difference, Haas said, lies within the fact that public power utilities provide for more local control, whereas profit-seeking shareholders run utilities that are investor-owned.
“Owners of public power utilities are citizens that live in a public power community,” Haas said, adding that with that local control comes locally set rates and often more accountability and more accessible management.
Public power is not without its challenges, however, particularly those that affect power plants operated by any company or organization, Haas continued. He went on to list physical and cyber security threats, changing customer expectations like demands for higher reliability and increasing environmental regulations like the expensive, emission-reducing technology that will soon be required for coal plants by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as hurdles for the industry.
Nolan “Skip” Kuker, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council in Hancock County, former Logansport Utility Service Board member and former head of the Logansport-Cass County Economic Development Foundation, spoke about how public power has benefited Greenfield and Hancock County.
Kuker said he has worked with both public power agencies like the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, or IMPA, and Greenfield Power and Light; and investor-owned utilities like Duke Energy.
He outlined advantages of both, like the lower economic development rates investor-owned utilities offer and the increased accessibility to those in charge of public utilities.
“We can see the person who represents us,” Kuker said of the area’s relationship with IMPA.
Reach Mitchell Kirk at email@example.com or 574-732-5130