THe Public Power
Utilities Of LPPC
Collectively, our 27 LPPC utilities own more than 80,000 megawatts of generation capacity powered by natural gas, nuclear, coal, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources. They also own over 35,000 circuit miles of high-voltage transmission lines. Together, they control 90% of the public agency-owned, non-federal, transmission investment in the nation.
Some LPPC members are fully integrated utilities that own generation, transmission, and distribution facilities and sell directly to consumers. Others are primarily wholesale suppliers to municipal and cooperative utilities within their state or region. LPPC members provide good-paying jobs to about 50,000 people across the U.S.
Public power is a mission-driven business model that empowers local communities and gives citizens a voice in their energy future. Not-for-profit and consumer-owned, public power is directly accountable to those they serve. To meet the evolving needs of their community, public power invests billions every year in new infrastructure and clean energy technologies while maintaining lower rates and higher reliability than the national average.
The Benefits of Public Power
Communities that have formed their own electric systems have come to recognize the benefits of public power: not-for-profit rates, local governance, and responsiveness to community needs.
Unlike investor-owned utility rates, public power not-for-profit electricity prices include only the costs of producing and delivering power to the consumer—not the profits paid to people who hold stock in the company. As a result, public power has the lowest rates, on average, in the U.S. electric utility industry. Customers served by LPPC members pay on average 10% less per kWh than the national average.
Since a public power electric system is locally governed, decisions about policies such as rates are made by community leaders who are in touch with local concerns. The city council sets policies for many public utilities, while others have a separately elected or appointed utility board that governs utility policies. Local governance helps ensure that the utility responds to community needs.
Additionally, because public power utilities are community based, their revenues stay close to home and utility policies promote economic development and investment in the community, helping keep the local economy strong.
The History of
Public power systems first formed in the United States more than 100 years ago, when communities created electric utilities to provide light and power to their citizens.
Although electricity in homes and businesses was first seen as a luxury, it soon came to be widely accepted as a public service to be enjoyed by all. As the use of electricity grew so did the number of utilities and by the 1920s, the public and private sectors of the industry each had more than 3,000 utilities.
Today, more than 2,000 communities in 49 states (except Hawaii) and Puerto Rico own and operate public power systems. These systems are an important part of the electric utility industry in the United States, providing an essential service at a not-for-profit rate.
Now there are 187 investor-owned utilities that serve 68% of all customers and 876 rural electric cooperatives that serve about 13% of electricity customers. The 2,012 public power systems serve about 14% of all customers.
Most public power utilities are created by municipalities, state governments, or are special districts. There are also regional organizations that are formed by individual utilities called joint action agencies, which achieve efficiencies by bringing together the purchasing power of several public power utilities.
Operating on sound business principles, not-for-profit public power systems can provide quality and reliable service to homes and businesses for less. Lower electric rates help attract new businesses into communities and keep existing ones while reducing consumer costs and allowing citizens to spend more on other goods and services. Additionally, because public power systems are community owned, citizens have a voice in utility policies.