This year marks an important milestone for public power as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Public Power Week, a national, annual event held to celebrate the unique value of public power. This week, Heartland joins more than 2,000 not-for-profit utilities in recognizing benefits such as low rates, local control, reliability and efficiency.
Public power utilities, such as Heartland an our customers, serve more than 46 million Americans. Each utility is different, reflecting its hometown characteristics and values, but all have a common purpose: providing reliable and safe not-for-profit electricity at a reasonable price while protecting the environment.
Public power utilities are governed by a city council or an independently elected or appointed board. Unlike private power companies, public power utilities are public service institutions and do not serve stockholders. Instead, it is our mission to serve our customers. Municipal electric departments, such as those Heartland serves, are owned by the residents and businesses they serve and provide local accountability. Community citizens have a direct and powerful voice in utility policies, allowing decisions to be made at the local level.
The tradition of public power is also a thriving segment of the electric utility industry, enhancing overall economic development and helping develop new generation and other power supply options. Public power also has solid credentials with bond ratings agencies, a reputation for reliable, customer-focused service, and a strong environmental-protection track record.
As part of our commitment to customer service and efficient, environmentally safe delivery of power, and in alliance with the week’s celebration, Heartland offers the following energy-saving tips:
- When buying new products, look for the ENERGY STAR® label which can be found on appliances, home electronics, office equipment, windows, heating and cooling systems and more. For example, an ENERGY STAR clothes washer can cut related energy costs by about a third.
- Keep your heating system operating at peak performance with a pre-season check-up. Fall is the perfect time to hire a professional to make sure everything is working properly, preventing future problems. In addition, change your furnace filters monthly. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage equipment, leading to early failure.
- Seal air ducts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can lose up to 60 percent of your heated air before it reaches the register if your ducts aren’t insulated and travel through unheated spaces such as the attic or crawlspace.
- Install an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your home’s temperature settings. Pre-program settings to regulate the temperature in summer and winter as well as when you’re asleep or away. According to ENERGY STAR, a programmable thermostat can net savings of up to $180 per year when used properly.
- Properly insulate your home to increase comfort while reducing heating and cooling costs. The attic is the easiest place to add insulation which will help create a more uniform temperature throughout the home. A quick way to determine if you need more is to look across the span of your attic. If your insulation is just level with or below your floor joists, you should probably add more.
- Many air leaks and drafts are easy to find because they are easy to feel − like those around windows and doors. But holes hidden in attics, basements and crawlspaces are usually bigger problems. Sealing these leaks with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping will have a great impact on improving your comfort and reducing utility bills.
Public Power Week is sponsored in conjunction with the American Public Power Association (APPA), the service organization located in in Washington, D.C. for community- and state-owned electric utilities. APPA began the Public Power Week tradition in 1986. The first public power systems were installed in the U.S. in 1880.