The value and importance of Public Power
Each year, the American Public Power Association (APPA) celebrates Public Power Week to recognize and celebrate the value and importance that public power providers bring to communities across the United States. This year, Public Power Week will run between October 7th and 13th.
At Norwich Public Utilities (NPU), we use Public Power Week as an opportunity to remind our customers and the public at large of the many benefits our community continues to enjoy by being served by an APPA member.
NPU is one of 2,000 public power providers in the United States, from small towns to large cities that provide reliable and affordable electricity to nearly 50 million Americans every day. Residents of Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle as well as many small towns and tribal nations are served by public power.
NPU is – and has always been – owned by the residents of Norwich, not individual or institutional investors. The NPU Board, which meets in public each month, and our employees are directly accountable to our customers. Each month, NPU Board meetings includes an opportunity for the public to comment directly to the Commissioners, whether it is a complement, complaint, idea or request for information.
NPU and other public power utilities are special because they operate under an entirely different business model than an investor-owned utility.
In addition to lower rates and exceptional storm response in times of extreme weather, NPU has a fully-staffed customer service center here in Norwich that responds to 140,000 phone calls each year. We also calculate, produce and distribute 45,000 customer bills each month.
All of this is done with a commitment to addressing the questions and concerns that we receive in a timely manner.
As part of the City Charter, NPU is required to return 10% of its gross revenues from natural gas, water and electric service to the City’s general fund. Last year, this transfer was nearly $8.5 million and the total over the past ten years is more than $80 million. These funds are used by the City to repair our roads and schools, go to the Norwich Fire and Police Departments and to support the efficient operation of the City Government.
NPU has always actively engaged in our community, with sponsorship and support for a wide range of events and organizations, and through the volunteer support of our employees, especially with our long-standing relationship with the United Way
Please join me in recognizing the fine work of Norwich Public Utilities during Public Power Week this year.