ElectriCities Celebrates Public Power Week 2021


North Carolina ranks among nation’s top states for public power.

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA [October 8, 2021]—Public power communities own their electric systems. Their local electric service providers deliver safe, reliable, and affordable electricity to power their homes and businesses. North Carolina benefits from being one of the nation’s leaders in public power, with the ninth largest number of public power utilities serving the ninth largest number of customers, according to data from the American Public Power Association. ElectriCities, a not-for-profit organization that provides support and services to public power communities in North Carolina and beyond, is celebrating those communities during Public Power Week, October 3-9, 2021.

“Public power provides our communities enormous value, measurable in local economic benefit and growth opportunities and seen in improved quality of life and peace of mind. Public power isn’t accountable to distant shareholders; it’s a shared asset owned by our neighbors and our communities,” said Roy Jones, CEO of ElectriCities.

Those benefits reach deep. The hallmarks of public power are increased reliability, affordability, and opportunities for local economic development. Unlike investor-owned utilities or electric cooperatives, public power utilities are community-owned, not-for-profit systems that are notable for providing local control, exceptional reliability, and outstanding customer service. The theme of this year’s Public Power Week, “Dedicated to Service / The Power to Deliver” celebrates those advantages.

“Public power in North Carolina has made communities stronger for more than 100 years,” Jones said. “We want to honor the service and commitment of our utility employees who dedicate themselves to keeping our neighbors and families connected. Public Power Week is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the power of community.”

North Carolina currently has 72 public power providers, including four of the nation’s 100 largest public power utilities. Fayetteville Public Works Commission ranks as the 37th largest public power utility with more than 81,000 customers. Greenville Utilities Commission (#45), City of High Point (#77), and Wilson Energy (#94) are also among the nation’s largest public power utilities.

Reliability: A Public Power Tradition

Public power communities in North Carolina enjoy 33% fewer outages and 62% less time without power compared to investor-owned utilities in the state.

Reliability is about more than just convenience. When factory downtime equals real dollars lost and jobs are on the line, communities value their power provided by a utility that keeps the power on 99.8% of the time and restores power three times faster than investor-owned utilities or cooperatives.

North Carolina has 27 communities—more than any other state—recognized by the American Public Power Association as Reliable Public Power Providers. This special “RP3” designation certifies that utilities provide outstanding reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement.

Public power has a rich tradition in North Carolina that dates to 1889, when the City of Statesville first began using electric lights instead of gas streetlamps to illuminate the tiny downtown area.

Quick Facts about Public Power

  • North Carolina has 72 public power communities that collectively serve nearly 1.3 million people.
  • One in seven electricity customers in the U.S. are served by public power.
  • North Carolina is home to four of the nation’s 100 largest public power utilities.
  • Statesville was North Carolina’s first public power community. It began operating electric lights in 1889.
  • Nationally, there are more than 2,000 public power providers that collectively serve 49 million people.
  • Ten percent of the electricity generated in the United States comes from public power facilities.

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About ElectriCities of North Carolina

ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc., is the membership organization that provides power supply and related critical services to over 90 community-owned electric systems in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia—collectively known as public power. ElectriCities manages the power supply for two power agencies in North Carolina and provides technical services to assist members in operating their electric distribution systems. ElectriCities also helps these locally owned and operated public power providers thrive today and in the future by delivering innovative services, including legislative, technical, communications, and economic development expertise.

Visit www.electricities.com to learn more about the benefits of public power and how ElectriCities helps communities keep the lights on through access to safe, reliable, and affordable energy.

Media contact
Deb Clark
Supervisor, External Communications, ElectriCities

Helpful Links

2022 Annual Report

Our annual report includes an exclusive update and event highlights from the past year.

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The Value of Public Power

Public power providers are locally owned, locally operated, and locally controlled. They don't answer to shareholders or investors - they answer to their community.

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Understanding ElectriCities

ElectriCities is the membership organization that provides power supply and related critical services to over 90 community-owned electric systems in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, collectively known as public power.

Read More

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