Public Power

Public power illuminates the homes and workplaces of over 1.2 million people living in over 70 communities across NC. By bringing these communities together, ElectriCities helps make public power safer and more reliable.

Public power illuminates the homes and workplaces of over 1.2 million people living in North Carolina.

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About

ElectriCities is the energy behind public power! We provide professional and technical assistance to municipal utilities. We also provide management services to the state’s two municipal Power Agencies: NCMPA1 and NCEMPA.

We serve over 90 members in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

Our Purpose

ElectriCities delivers value to public power communities through collective strength, wisdom and action while promoting a more successful future for our citizens.

ElectriCities’ Services

For nearly 50 years, we’ve been applying our energy to help deliver safe and reliable power to homeowners and businesses across North Carolina. We also supply an array of services—each one aimed at bringing value to the public power communities we serve.

Economic Development – We market communities domestically and internationally to attract new business investment and create jobs for our member cities. Our message? We have the Power to Grow.

Safety and Training – We go to great heights to provide top-notch training to linemen and other electric department staff, which helps to reduce workplace accidents and lost employee time.

Government Relations – We give member cities a notable presence and a clear voice by actively participating in the legislative process—both at our state capitol and in DC.

Industrial/Commercial Services and Programs – We help members retain large industrial accounts, commercial accounts and other key accounts with innovative rate structures. We also offer education and energy solutions through our Energy Solutions Partner (ESP) program.

Residential Energy Education and Weatherization Assistance Services – We offer programs and services to help citizens make smart decisions and reduce energy use in their homes.

Utility Operations Services – We free up our members’ time so they can focus their energy elsewhere. How? By sharing best practices, crafting policy and procedure manuals and ensuring best pricing through standard materials procurement.

Strategic Communications – We serve as your full service, in-house marketing, PR and advertising agency. We can help brand your town and promote the virtues of living and working in your community.

We delivered more than $285 million in value to our members in 2014. Learn more about the value we provide from leaders in our member communities.

Our history

In February 1965, more than 100 municipal officials from across North Carolina gathered for an emergency meeting in Greensboro. They represented 46 cities and towns with an urgent issue to discuss: a legislative proposal to divide up the state’s electric utility territory was moving forward without any consideration of public power communities.

It was the first time that our state’s municipal power providers had come together to discuss their common interests and how to work together more effectively. That February 1965 proved to be a critical point in the history of North Carolina public power, leading to the formation of the NC Municipally Owned Electric Systems Association. Three years later, the organization was renamed ElectriCities of North Carolina.

During the early years, ElectriCities priorities revolved around reducing wholesale electric costs, securing a reliable long-term power supply, and ensuring public power’s interests were represented with legislators.

Over the years, ElectriCities responded to members’ requests to develop retail rate strategies, provide safety training for utility employees, coordinate emergency assistance efforts when storms caused major outages, and promote investment in public power communities in the economic development arena.

Today, ElectriCities proudly serves 90 members in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. We operate the Huntersville/Cornelius electric system in the Charlotte area. And we represent more than 1.2 million people in the public power family.

Benefits

Learn about the history of public power in North Carolina and how it brings value to local communities.

  • History of public power

    By the early 1900s, electricity was making its way into cities and towns across North Carolina, mainly to power streetlights. Electricity came from coal-fired generators, produced only during the evening and night hours.

    The city of Statesville created North Carolina's first municipally owned electric utility in 1889. And as demand for lighting grew, electricity was brought into citizens’ homes, spurring the invention of new appliances that simplified daily chores: the sewing machine, clothes washer, refrigerator and more. At the same time, industry was becoming modernized and industrial demand for electricity grew. Cities saw their electric load grow by leaps and bounds.

    North Carolina cities were growing quickly. Areas that were little more than a crossroads were attracting citizens who wanted the electric service they received in the cities. Unfortunately, North Carolina’s investor-owned utilities were sometimes unwilling to invest in infrastructure to run power lines to these outlying areas. At this point, cities and towns stepped in and invested in electric transmission to serve their citizens.

    Today, there are over 70 public power communities across the state. Fifty-one cities are members of two municipal power agencies: North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1—serving the Piedmont and western North Carolina—and the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency—serving eastern North Carolina. The remaining public power communities are independent distributors of electricity that buy their power wholesale and transmit it to their customers.

    North Carolina’s public power communities continue to be strong, vibrant areas. Public power customers benefit from utility policy established by officials who live and work where they do. This local control (and local operation) allows electric revenue to stay in the community and enables public power cities to grow and prosper. ElectriCities is an association of public power companies that serves 91 communities across North Carolina. Think of the power in numbers, whereby resources, knowledge, expertise and ideas are spread out over the members. ElectriCities helps municipal power companies and city managers provide safe, reliable and affordable energy as well as provides education and training. Additionally, ElectriCities serves as a resource for legislative support, economic development assistance, efficiencies in energy usage and management of energy.

  • How does ElectriCities strengthen public power?

    ElectriCities provides valuable services that strengthen public power communities and help deliver safe and reliable power across North Carolina. Value comes in many different forms. ElectriCities offers keen insight about complex utility issues, professional guidance on legal and legislative issues, power supply programs (that boost outside energy sales) and bond refundings (that lower the cost of debt payments). Together, these services make a positive impact on the communities we serve

  • How does ElectriCities bring value to my community?

    Creating jobs: ElectriCities is committed to strengthening public power communities by bringing in new businesses that create jobs.

    Local employees: Our public power employees go the extra mile because they live and work in your community.

    Focused on you: Our business is focused on you and your neighbors. Everyone who lives in a public power community has a voice.

    Working together: Our public power communities are stronger when we work together. By sharing knowledge and lending each other a helping hand, we make sure your power is safe and reliable.

    Safe, reliable power: When compared with larger utilities, public power communities experience fewer power outages and get the power restored quicker when it does go out.

  • Testimonials

    Here’s what some of our community leaders have to say about public power.

    “If the power goes out, our customers have a sense of comfort knowing their friends and neighbors are going to do their very best to get electricity restored as soon as possible.”

    Anne-Marie Knighton
    Town Manager, Edenton

    “Being a public power community has helped us make investments that have really changed the course of our community for the better.”

    Grant Goings
    City Manager, Wilson

    “Lexington is a public power community. I get asked by citizens, ‘What does that mean?’ The thing we all know, that we’re proudest of, is our reliability.”

    Newell Clark
    Mayor, Lexington

    “When we have rate changes here, we hold a meeting, and if you’re concerned, you can go to the people who make those decisions and be part of the process.”

    Tony Sears
    Town Manager, Kinston

Tips

When it comes to being safe and efficient around electricity, knowledge is power.

TempTracker365™

See and understand how extreme hot or cold temperatures affect your monthly bill with NC Public Power's TempTracker 365. This tool gathers, tracks and stores daily high and low temperatures in your area. With a click of a button, you can produce a monthly calendar showing temperatures for the last three years. It's a great way to see which days, weeks or months were extremely hot or cold, causing your heating or cooling system to run longer.

Energy Efficiency

Learn about some easy, low-cost ways to save energy and lower your costs.

Seal Your Home

Seal Your Home

Summer Tips

Summer Tips

Winter Tips

Winter Tips

Weather Prep

From hurricanes to ice storms, be ready for what comes your way.

Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Preparedness

How Power Is Restored

How Power Is Restored

Safety

Stay informed, stay safe.

Holiday Safety

Holiday Safety

Generator Safety

Generator Safety

FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about NC Public Power.

Question:
What is public power?

Answer: Public power is a municipally-owned and operated electric service. In a public power community, residents receive power from the city, not an investor-owned utility like Duke Power. More than 70 cities and towns in North Carolina are public power communities. Most have been in the business for more than 100 years. Public power communities are known for providing excellent, local customer service and highly-reliable electric service.

NC Public Power communities also respond to large outages in other public power communities after storms. Crews from North Carolina are known throughout the eastern United States for their strong work ethic and safe work practice during large restoration efforts. Crews from North Carolina assisted in the electric restoration after Hurricane Sandy.

Public power communities are throughout the United States, with approximately 2,000 municipally-owned electric utilities serving more than 48 million Americans. Most of these utilities serve small communities with populations between 10,000 and 4 million. Yet some of the country’s largest metropolitan areas — Los Angeles, Memphis and San Antonio — are also public power communities.


Question:
Why do we have public power?

Answer: Cities and towns entered the electric business as a necessity. In the early 1900s, as demand for electricity began to grow, many investor-owned utilities were focused on metropolitan areas only. Smaller cities were not eligible for electric service. City officials began planning electric systems, often powering the downtown area for a few hours at night. Over time, the concept grew and cities added small generators to power more of the town.

By the mid-1900s, cities and towns became wholesale customers of the investor-owned utilities, tapping into the growing electric grid to power their growing communities.

Today, cities and towns continue to benefit from public power systems. Revenue from electricity sales stay in the community and aren’t passed off to shareholders. In a public power community, all customers benefit from the local customer service, quick storm response and superior reliability.

Customers have a voice in the activities of their electric systems. Since each municipality sets its own policies, customers can speak out on electric power issues at their city and town council meetings.


Question:
Are public power communities the same as electric cooperatives or co-ops?

Answer: No. Co-ops, also known as electric membership corporations or cooperatives, are consumer-owned electric systems with customers primarily in rural areas. In North Carolina, we have three different types of electric providers: municipal electric providers (public power), electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities like Duke Energy and Dominion Power.


Question:
How many cities and towns have public power?

Answer: More than 70 cities and towns in North Carolina are public power communities, including High Point, Gastonia, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Greenville and Fayetteville. Nationwide, there are approximately 2,000 public power communities serving more than 48 million Americans.


Question:
Who runs a public power utility?

Answer: Most public power utilities are overseen by an electric director and city manager. Oversight of the operation is conducted by the city council. Some cities also have a utilities commission or board that provides oversight. Citizens can provide feedback about the electric system to the city council. Rate changes are discussed in open session city council meetings with opportunity for public comment.

News & Events

Stay up-to-date on the latest news and events happening in North Carolina’s public power communities.

2015 NC Public Power Awards of Excellence Announced

October 19, 2015

Twenty public power communities across the state recently received 2015 Public Power Awards of Excellence. The awards honor outstanding efforts in key areas such as creating a competitive business environment, legislative involvement on public power issues, customer service programs and community energy efficiency promotion. Awards presentations will be made to the local communities this fall. “We are proud to honor NC Public Power communities through the Awards of Excellence process,” said Graham Edwards, CEO of ElectriCities of North Carolina. “Each day, public power communities strive to bring jobs and investment to their communities, provide superior service to customers and offer highly-reliable electric service. These hard-working employees and leaders are dedicated to the tradition of public power and the 1.2 million citizens we serve in North Carolina.”

Competitive Business Environment

The Competitive Business Environment award recognizes efforts by the city to create a strong business climate, including economic development planning and community/regional partnering, an online economic development presence and focus on key accounts customers. Farmville, Fayetteville PWC, Granite Falls, Greenville Utilities, High Point, Kings Mountain, Kinston, Lexington, Rocky Mount, Shelby, Tarboro and Wilson.

Energy Efficiency

The Energy Efficiency award recognizes efforts with energy-efficient building programs, energy education, energy audits and weatherization programs. Concord, Fayetteville PWC, Granite Falls, Greenville Utilities, High Point, Kings Mountain, Kinston, Lexington, Maiden, Newton, Rocky Mount, Shelby, Smithfield, Statesville, Tarboro and Wilson.

Financial Stability

The Financial Stability award recognizes customer options throughout the billing process, including: equal payment programs, alternate payment methods such as online billing and payment, credit card payments and multiple payment locations. This award also recognizes community partnerships to help customers in need and the implementation of new technology within the electric system. Clayton, Concord, Farmville, Fayetteville PWC, Granite Falls, Greenville Utilities, High Point, Kings Mountain, Kinston, Lexington, Maiden, New Bern, Newton, Rocky Mount, Shelby, Smithfield, Tarboro and Wilson.

Legislative Involvement

The Legislative Involvement award recognizes city staff and officials’ involvement in the legislative process on issues pertaining to public power. The award recognizes city officials actively engaging with their legislative delegation and participation in ElectriCities-sponsored events. Fayetteville PWC, Granite Falls, Greenville Utilities, High Point, Kings Mountain, Rocky Mount, Tarboro and Wilson.

Service Excellence

The Service Excellence award recognizes outstanding efforts by the city to communicate with customers through advertisements, online resources, social media or other community-based methods. The award also addresses emergency communications and community public power celebrations. Benson, Concord, Farmville, Fayetteville PWC, Granite Falls, Greenville Utilities, High Point, Kings Mountain, Kinston, Lexington, Newton, Rocky Mount, Shelby, Smithfield, Tarboro and Wilson.

Let’s All Stand Together For Public Power Week.

October 5, 2015

Each year, the first week in October is Public Power Week. It’s a time to celebrate the value of locally-owned and operated electric utilities and an opportunity for us to really connect with our customers. All 1.2 million of them!

People Power: Standing Strong, Standing Together is our theme for 2015. It recognizes the combined efforts of the dedicated men and women behind public power in North Carolina. Our public power communities are stronger when we work together. By sharing knowledge and lending each other a helping hand, we make sure our customers enjoy safe and reliable power. And that’s certainly something worth celebrating.

Uptowne High Point Offers Great Opportunity - And Great Food.

August 21, 2015

Take “North Carolina's International City,” add plenty of entrepreneurial spirit and a strong economic development team, turn up the heat, and see what happens.

High Point over the past few years has focused on providing economic development opportunities and improving the overall quality of life for its citizens. Along the way they’ve also boosted the quality of the food found in the “Furniture Capital of the World.”

“The city is working hard to be a place where business and industry can thrive, and we’re starting to focus on retail and commercial opportunities,” says Sandy Dunbeck, senior vice president of the High Point Economic Development Corp.

Those efforts have certainly paid off, with a number of restaurants filling a need and finding success in the Uptowne district.

“There’s been a real groundswell here of local entrepreneurs who’ve gotten these restaurants going. What they’re delivering is really first-rate and gives our citizens great places to eat, while people from out of town can have first-class experiences, too,” Dunbeck says.

Over the last decade, The Blue Restaurant Group has opened a string of successful eateries: Blue Water Grille, Blue Bourbon Jacks, Blue Zucchini, Blur Rock Pizza and Tap, and the most recent, Lulu & Blu. Other restaurateurs have followed, with fare that appeals to both High Point residents and the furniture market’s international visitors.

Last year, Tu and Todd Sen opened 98 Asian Bistro in Uptowne, with help from the city’s economic development team. As Tu explains, “This location, the old Lyles Chevrolet building, had a lot of history. The city agreed that we should save this building, and they were always very helpful.”

High Point Mayor Bill Bencini likes what he sees. “It’s been a very good thing for that part of High Point, for year-round residents and for visitors to High Point University and the furniture market.”

Thanks to the hard work of its elected officials, economic development team and dedicated citizens, High Point has proven to be a great place to start a business — and a terrific place to grab a bite to eat.

Glory Be: RP3 in NC

July 15, 2015

RP3

For a public power community, achieving Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) designation is a big deal. APPA’s RP3 program recognizes public power systems that demonstrate basic proficiency in four key areas: reliability, safety, training and system improvement. This designation — in three levels: Diamond, Platinum and Gold — speaks for a public power utility’s sound business practices and utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity.
This year, 14 NC Public Power communities earned RP3 designation.
Diamond Level: Albemarle
Platinum Level: Elizabeth City, Gastonia, High Point, New Bern, Shelby, Greenville, Granite Falls, Wake Forest
Gold Level: Kinston, Lumberton, Morganton, Clayton, Smithfield
Congratulations to all these cities for being recognized. This is Albemarle’s first Diamond designation — while Granite Falls, Shelby, Elizabeth City, New Bern and Greenville Utilities Commission moved up a level. Clayton had not submitted an application since 2008. Congratulations also to our South Carolina members, Clinton Public Works and Rockhill.
Judy Redwine, Assistant Director of Public Utilities for the City of Albemarle, summed it up perfectly: “It’s because of the electrical guys and how they respond, how they’re so safety-conscious, how quickly they get to our customers when there’s a power failure, and how they work with each other and the outside contractors. They’re just good.”
To learn more, visit publicpower.org/rp3.

Powered Up Perspectives: Mayor David Combs, Rocky Mount

April 28, 2015

Heading into 2015, we chatted with public power leaders across the state — to get their outlook on economic development in 2015. One of those leaders was Mayor David Combs of Rocky Mount. Looking back, 2014 was a good year for us. Our unemployment rate continued to recover from the economic downturn a few years ago. We had two good announcements — Nutcao, an Italian company, invested in Rocky Mount and built a new facility. They will hire 80-100 employees. Acme United, a company that manufactures everything from rulers to surgical scissors, will bring 80-100 jobs...Read More.

Powered Up Perspective: Rick Howell, Shelby

March 25, 2015

The coming of a new year is always exciting. With it comes an opportunity to look back at the previous year, and forward to what may lie ahead. We thought it would be valuable to get the perspectives of public power leaders across the state. We asked about economic development in their area: their thoughts on 2014, their outlook for 2015 and the challenges they’ve faced or see on the horizon. This issue, we hear from Rick Howell, City Manager of Shelby...Read More.

Powered Up for 2015

March 23, 2015

Last year was another eventful year for the ElectriCities Economic Development team, marked by increased demand from both new and expanding businesses. Brenda Daniels, ElectriCities’ Economic Development Manager, sees no signs of slowing down in the year ahead.

The Economic Development team is always looking for strategies and custom-developed programs to make NC Public Power sites more competitive. Smart Communities, now in its third year, offers grants for community-specific projects to help attract and retain commercial and industrial customers. This year we’re introducing the Smart Sites (S²) program, a shovel-ready site qualification program to support economic development opportunities for our members...Read More.

Contact

The ElectriCities Raleigh headquarters office is open from 8am - 5pm Monday through Friday. We are closed Saturday, Sunday and statutory holidays.

ElectriCities Office

1427 Meadow Wood Blvd.
Raleigh, NC 27604
Phone: (919) 760-6000
Map & Directions

Mailing Address
ElectriCities of North Carolina
PO Box 29513
Raleigh, NC 27626-0513

Media/Press Contact
Rebecca Agner
Manager, Strategic Communications
(919) 760-6334

Webmaster
webmaster@electricities.com

Huntersville/Cornelius Electric Operation
11316 Sam Furr Road
PO Box 29513
Huntersville, NC 28078

Mailing Address
PO Box 2819
Huntersville, NC 28070-2819

Contact Numbers
Phone: (704) 948-0550
Fax: (704) 948-0111
After Hours Emergency: (704) 892-7426

E-mail: csr@electricities.org
Huntersville and Cornelius Website

News & Events

Below you can find resources from our ‘Over One Million Strong’ campaign to help you connect with customers and educate your community.

North Carolina’s public power community is larger than Raleigh and Charlotte combined. Over 1.2 million strong!

That’s the theme of our upcoming advertising campaign, one that will communicate the importance of public power, raise awareness of ElectriCities and build pride in public power all across North Carolina. The campaign includes TV, digital and print elements and will run on a wide range of outlets, such as WRAL.com, Time Warner Cable, Sudden Link, UNC-TV, Our State magazine and several news websites including charlotteobserver.com, bizjournals.com, newsobserver.com, usatoday.com, cnn.com and bloomberg.com.

TV Commercial

This 30-second TV commercial demonstrates the power of public power the best way we know how—using light. View or request a customized version of our commercial below:

Want to request a version customized with your town’s logo?

Request Now

2015 Media Schedule:
Flight 1: July 27-Aug. 16
Flight 2: Sept. 14-Sept. 28
Flight 3: Oct. 4-12 (Public Power Week)

Digital Resources

Connect with customers in their homes and workplaces with our ‘Over One Million Strong’ banner ads. You can use these ads on your community’s website or eNewsletter and link them to overonemillionstrong.com.

Digital Resources

Click below to view in more detail or request the artwork.

Preview Request Now

By linking to overonemillionstrong.com, your customers can access helpful energy efficiency tips, learn the benefits of public power, and stay up-to-date on news and events happening in their own communities.

Print Resources

Bill-Insert

Bill Insert

Bill inserts are an excellent way to communicate the benefits of public power to your customers directly.

Click below to view in more detail or request the artwork.

Preview Request Now

Newspaper-Ad

Newspaper Ad

Show customers the strength of public power with this engaging newspaper ad.

Click below to view in more detail or request the artwork.

Preview Request Now

Poster

Poster

This poster lets customers know that, by bringing communities together, ElectriCities helps make public power safer and more reliable.

Click below to view in more detail or request the artwork.

Preview Request Now

 

Need Help? Contact Rebecca Agner, 919-760-6334 or Ed Roberts, 919-760-6280.

These resources are intended for N.C. Public Power communities only, all other uses are prohibited.

What do 1.2 million N.C. residents have in common?
Find Out