Monday, November 5, 2012

Coffee Makes Life Better

We started something new last week at the municipal center. We moved the coffee pot out into the lobby so you could have some too. It takes me about two cups to get going in the morning, and the staff felt that you might need a cup to keep you going strong all day as well. It surprised me though that a few of our citizens were skeptical of the coffee pot.

On more than one occasion, customers expressed the thought that by providing a cup of coffee we might be getting ready to change some things about the way we do business. We might be planning to increase a fee or do something else to make your life harder. Our goal is to make the quality of life in our town better, not more difficult.

Our electric utility operation is in the business of making life better. Every day, every week, every year since the early 1900s when our electric utility operations began, the City of Clinton’s Department of Public Works has powered our days and nights.

From that morning cup of hot coffee, which you can now get in our lobby,  to the late-night television news—and all the hours in-between—we keep the power flowing. 

Just a generation or two ago, people still marveled at electricity’s uses and improvements to their lives.  After all, it wasn’t until the 1940s that our country was fully electrified. 

Now we take for granted the contributions that electricity makes to America’s economy and infrastructure.  But just think about what a day without electricity would be like for you—and think how long that day would be for your children or grandchildren.

The City of Clinton’s electric system is known in the industry as a “public power” utility.  It’s one of about 2,000 utilities across the country that have been created as community-owned, hometown enterprises.  They are operated by local governments as a public service, with the mission of providing electricity in a safe, efficient, and reliable manner and with proper protection of the environment. 

The public power formula provides numerous advantages for our utility.  First, we are driven by public service, not profit.  Secondly, we exist to serve you – our fellow citizens, friends and neighbors.  Our loyalty is to our customers – not stockholders. We take pride in helping to make Clinton a good place to live and work. We are accountable to you, not to a management and board of directors in another city or country.

Unlike private utility providers, a public utility such as ours conducts all business in an open and transparent process. We follow democratic principles, with the City Council creating our utility policies. Citizens and utility customers are invited to attend a City Council meeting which occurs on the first Monday of each month at 6:00 PM in the City Council Chambers located on the second floor of the M. S. Bailey Municipal Center at 211 North Broad Street.

The City of Clinton and the Department of Public Works work diligently every day to provide reliable electricity. We have been recognized by the American Public Power Association with the RP3 award for meting high standards when it comes to safety, reliability, and long term management of our utility operations. Clinton provides highly reliable power to commercial and residential customers. Our reliability numbers are some of the highest in the region.

When the power does go out, you can rest assured that our utility crews are quickly responding to the issue. Regardless of the time of day or the weather, our personnel are going to report to work and repair your distribution system. Often, our utility employees are leaving their homes and families in the dark so they can work to restore power to your home, family, and business.

You can rest assured that the City of Clinton will continue to provide reliable electricity—and deliver it to you instantaneously, day or night.   We hope we can also rest assured that you will continue to support of public power as an American tradition that works in the public interest here in Clinton, South Carolina.