The City of Thomasville Utilities is observing Public Power Week October 1-7, which recognizes the importance of public power to our community. Each year, more than 2,000 community-owned utilities, like City of Thomasville Utilities, observe Public Power Week during the first full week of October. Public Power Week is a celebration of not-for-profit electric utilities that proudly serve the electric power needs of about 40 million Americans - or almost 15 percent of electricity consumers.
“The City of Thomasville has a long history of proudly serving our community with affordable and reliable electric service,” said Steve Sykes, City Manager/Utilities Superintendent. “The City went into the electric business in 1906 when we paid $32,000 for a small privately-owned generator on Fletcher Street. Today, we’ve grown that system into more than 330 square miles of service territory.”
The availability of public power is especially important to Thomasville, as it allows our community to operate without property taxes. “Thomasville is very unique in that our utilities are not only priced competitively and delivered with exceptional service, but they also allow us to operate our municipal government without levying additional taxes on our citizens,” said Steve Sykes, City Manager/Utilities Superintendent. “From police and fire protection, to community improvements like sidewalks and roadways, our community is literally built on the foundation that public power provides.”
Another benefit of public power is that policy and rate decisions are made locally and can be responsive to the needs of the community. “We only raise utility rates when it is necessary, such as in cases where our costs have increased,” said Sykes. “Likewise, when our costs decrease, we can immediately pass those savings on to our customers.” Because of this flexibility, this year’s celebration of public power will include something special for utility customers – lower monthly bills.
“As part of the City’s commitment to deliver exceptional service at competitive rates, the power cost adjustment, or PCA, will be reduced beginning with the October billing,” said Sykes. “This reduction is possible because of a decrease in the City’s cost of wholesale power and will mean a monthly savings on utility bills for our customers. The responsiveness of public power means that when the City’s wholesale cost for power is lower, we can pass those savings on to our customers.”
The reduced power cost adjustment will be effective with the first billing cycle in October or with bills dated on or after October 6th. The City is reducing the PCA by 25 percent, or from 12 mills per kWh to 9 mills per kWh. The decreased PCA will result in a savings of about $54 per year for residential customers based on an average usage of 1500 kWh’s per month. For small commercial customers with average usage around 3500 kWh’s per month, the savings will be about $126 per year.
“The reduction of the PCA is just one way that we can help our customers reduce their monthly utility bill,” said Sykes. “We also offer many other programs, such as free energy audits, budget billing, and on-bill financing which provides low-cost funding to residential homeowners for the purchase and installation of energy efficient equipment and home energy efficiency improvements.”
The local control that comes with being a municipally-owned utility allows the City to keep energy costs affordable while also providing for the needs of our community, all without levying additional property taxes. That means that the local payments that are made in lieu of taxes helps to reduce everyone’s tax burden while also being reinvested into local neighborhoods.
Sykes said that it seemed especially fitting to announce the PCA reduction during a week that honors the importance of public power. “Public Power Week is an opportunity to celebrate the importance of public power in our community,” he said. “Passing on our savings to our customers is just one way that we can show our appreciation for allowing us to be your utility provider.”
More information about free energy audits and other ways to save on utility bills is available at Thomasville.org.