What is public power?
From small towns to large cities, community-owned, not-for-profit public power utilities power homes and businesses in 2,000 communities across the U.S. They safely provide reliable, low-cost electricity to more than 49 million Americans, while giving back to the communities they serve.
Simply put, public power is community power. That means the decisions about how the electric utility is run are made by people who live and work in the community, not corporations. Public power utilities are rooted in and committed to the communities they serve, and invest revenues directly back into the community.
How does public power “power” your life? From the lights that illuminate the championship football game to the life-saving machines in the local hospital, public power enhances life in your community. And 81 community-owned utilities across Wisconsin are proud to deliver power to their friends and neighbors at homes and businesses in their own community.
Like public schools and libraries, public power utilities are owned by the community and run as a division of local government. These utilities are governed by a local city council or an elected or appointed board. Community citizens have a direct voice in utility decisions and policymaking. Business is conducted in the open and citizens know where their power comes from and how and why decisions affecting their utility bills are made.
Public power utilities are not-for-profit entities that provide electricity to customers at the lowest rates. Homes powered by municipal electric utilities pay – on average – nearly 15 percent less than homes powered by investor-owned utilities. Businesses that get electricity from munis also pay less than businesses that get electricity from private utilities.
Customers of public power utilities lose power less often. Customers of a public power utility are likely to be without power for just 59 minutes a year, compared to customers of private utilities that may lose power for 133 minutes a year — provided there are no major adverse events.