10 Reasons Municipal Utilities Are Better

1. Community Ownership

A municipal utility is owned by the city it serves. It exists to provide a public service to the citizens, businesses and industries of the community. Service, not profit, is the utility’s mission.

Downtown Weatherford at Night

2. Long-Term Community Goals

The emphasis for municipal utilities is helping to achieve the long-term goals of the community. The primary mission of providing the least-cost and most reliable service over maximizing profit ensures that these goals are always in sight.

Man and Woman on Horse Carriage

3. Local Control

Because of local control, Texas cities with municipal utilities determine how utility services are provided within their community. This includes the design and aesthetics of electric distribution systems, water treatment plants and water towers, and wastewater treatment plants. Local control means matching local resources to local needs and offering special programs (energy efficiency & conservation, economic development incentives, etc.) to benefit citizens.

Water Treatment Plant

4. Local Regulation

For municipal utilities, rates and services are governed by the city itself. Utilities are commonly governed by either a city council or city commission or an appointed or elected utility board. The utility is governed by residents of the community who are customers of the utility and are thoroughly familiar with its operations and services.

City Council Meeting

5. Local Presence

Municipal utilities are located in the community and are readily available to customers. If a customer has a complaint, he or she doesn't have to take it to a state agency or corporate headquarters in another city. The customer can discuss the problem locally, with another member of the community, and be assured that the problem will be addressed.

Utility Billing Manager

6. Reliability

With electric, water and sewer crews located within the community, citizens benefit from a quick and effective local response to emergency situations and outages.

Electric Lineman Working

7. The Public Interest

A municipal utility is operated in the public interest, for the benefit of the residents of the city. They are not operated for the benefit of stockholders who may live hundreds of miles away and have little interest in the community. With private utility ownership, there is often conflict between the interests of customers and the interests of the stockholders. This disparity of interests has given rise to a complex system of regulation of private utilities that is unnecessary when the utility is publicly owned and operated for the benefit of the community it serves.

Crowd of People

8. Keeping the Dollars in the Community

There are numerous ways that a municipal utility helps to maintain and improve a sound local economy:

• Municipal utilities make significant contributions and payments-in-lieu-of-taxes to the city. These payments are similar, and often much greater to the tax payments that would be made by a private utility.
• Local ownership means that customers' utility dollars stay in the community, creating jobs and supporting the local economy.
• Local employment
• Municipal utilities serve as an engine for economic development. Local flexibility, reliability and quality service offered by municipal utilities are a major advantage for the community in attracting and retaining commercial and industrial customers.
• Access to tax-exempt financing for capital projects
• On average, municipal utility rates are competitive with those of other utilities. Competitive rates mean that more dollars are available to spend on other goods and services, boosting the local economy.

South Main Street

9. Community Values

Decisions about the operation of a municipal utility are made locally, by members of the community, at open, public meetings. Because all decisions are made locally, a municipal utility is uniquely able to respond to the community's needs, build on the community's strengths, and reflect and advance the community's values.

People at City Council Meeting

10. Competitive Utility Rates

Weatherford Electric rates have remained competitive for more than five years. What does this mean for the consumer? It means:

1. Weatherford Electric customers are being charged approximately the same, and at times, lower rates when compared to retail electric providers and area cooperatives. Rates are not determined based on weather conditions or temperatures.

2. Weatherford Electric customers receive better service during outages without being charged extra. Response times of many retail electric providers and area cooperatives are a lot slower during outages because they are not located in close proximity to their customers, yet they charge the same or higher rates.

Electric Line