PITTSBURG, KS – At a commission meeting held on January 8, the City of Pittsburg asked commissioners to approve plans for a detailed analysis into creating a public power utility for Pittsburg.
Over the last two years, the City has been exploring different electricity options – not just public power, but any option that might improve reliability, stabilize costs and make Pittsburg a more attractive place for businesses.
Why? With the City’s electricity costs increasing at a rate that was unsustainable without introducing tax increases, businesses deterred from Pittsburg due to high electricity rates, and enquiries from citizens about frequent rate increases and the overall cost of electricity, it was clear that different options should be explored.
The City has met numerous times with the current provider, local stakeholders, large electricity users such as USD 250, Via Christi Hospital and Pittsburg State University, power suppliers, other communities in Kansas and potential partners. Referrals from these groups to additional stakeholders opened up multiple paths and different electricity options that were all explored. Based on the recommendation of local stakeholders, the City Commission and others, the City finally undertook an independent study into public power.
This initial study and extensive research have highlighted some potential benefits of public power for the community and local businesses, including improved reliability, systems and service, the possibility of savings on bills, job creation and boosting the local Pittsburg economy.
Daron Hall, Pittsburg City Manager, says, “We have taken a comprehensive and deliberate approach over the last couple of years to bring us to where we are today, which is the recommendation to take the next logical step and conduct an in-depth analysis into the option of public power on behalf of the citizens, businesses and industries of Pittsburg.” He goes on to say that, “America’s electricity utilities are about 60% public power, and they serve around 49 million people. In fact, 118 communities in Kansas like ours are already successfully powered by a public utility. This isn’t something new – it’s something that’s proven to provide cost control for customers and a better environment for businesses, improve reliability and customer service, create jobs and strengthen the local economy with local control and accountability.”
The City now wants to engage a qualified, experienced team to conduct negotiations and a detailed analysis of the technical, legal and financial aspects of creating a public power utility for Pittsburg. This expert team, alongside external partners, will analyze the economic viability, benefits and risks of public power and outline the steps that will be necessary if a public power utility is to be established.
Bringing a public power utility to Pittsburg is a crucial decision that could positively impact the whole community in both the short and long term. It means taking control of and improving the city’s economic growth, providing electricity alternatives to citizens, stabilizing electricity costs for all households and businesses in Pittsburg, keeping wealth in the community, and setting the stage for a better future.
Even if the result of this detailed analysis shows that public power is not a feasible option, the information uncovered will still be valuable. That’s because the City will then have the facts needed to make the best decision for the community, as well as potential alternative solutions and the negotiating advantage needed with the City’s electricity partner.
The City awaits the Commission’s decision.
To find out more, visit pittks.org/public-power/public-power-for-pittsburg-ks and follow the City of Pittsburg on Facebook and on Twitter @PittsburgKS.
The mission of the City of Pittsburg is to provide exceptional services, facilities and activities with integrity, professionalism, excellent customer service and a commitment to economic vitality.