October 6 – 12, 2013 marks the 27th annual Public Power Week, celebrating the importance of public power to local citizens. Public Power Week is a national event sponsored in conjunction with the American Public Power Association (APPA).
More than 2,000 cities and 47 million people in the United States light up their homes, businesses and streets with public power – electricity that comes from community-owned-and-operated utilities. Bryan, Texas began a tradition of community ownership of utilities in 1909. Today, BTU has over 180 employees and serves 50,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers.
“The difference between investor-owned and municipally-owned power is our customer,” said David Werley, group manager of customer operations at Bryan Texas Utilities. “Public power is customer-focused, because we are owned by the citizens of Bryan. Since we are not-for-profit, we work hard to keep costs down while continuing to deliver reliable, high-quality service.”
BTU is regulated at the local level by the City Council. Public power gives citizens a direct and powerful voice in utility decisions and policies, both at the ballot box and in open meetings where business is discussed. Because public power serves customers instead of stakeholders, success is measured by how much money stays within the community through rates that are based on collecting only the cost to serve customers.
BTU joins 2,006 other public power systems to celebrate Public Power Week through educational events. This year, BTU celebrated public power week by sponsoring the Kid Zone at the 7th Annual Texas Reds Steak & Grape Festival.
“Local ownership and control allows BTU to make significant contribution to the betterment of our city and surrounding communities,” said Werley.