September 22, 2022
From volunteering in local schools to supporting workforce development to beautifying parks and public spaces, Starkville Utilities’ community focus goes beyond providing safe, reliable and affordable energy to power homes and businesses.
As part of the annual Public Power Week observance Oct. 2-8, Starkville Utilities is joining thousands of non-for-profit electric utilities across the nation to raise awareness about the many ways communities benefit from publicly owned and controlled utilities, such as low rates, high reliability, customer responsiveness and local investments that fuel growth.
“Starkville Utilities is always invested in the community, and since the earliest days, the company has played an active role in Starkville’s growth and success,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “Customers have entrusted us to be responsible stewards of their public utility services, and it’s a relationship and a mission we uphold every day.”
In 2020, Starkville Utilities launched the Renew Principle, an initiative designed to improve performance and strengthen customer relationships. Since that time, Starkville Utilities has completed a series of capital improvement projects that have modernized and improved Starkville’s electrical distribution system as well as its water and sewage infrastructure.
Before more recent electrical system upgrades, Starkville Utilities’ reliability performance was among the highest in the state. Major upgrade projects such as the new southwest substation, along with routine tree-trimming and proactive maintenance, have further strengthened system reliability, which has exceeded 99% over the last several years.
By fully transitioning its manual electric/water meter-reading systems to automated metering infrastructure last year, Starkville Utilities is able to provide customers with the benefits of smart-grid technology along with a variety of service enhancements.
Other highlights have included infrastructure improvements in Rolling Hills and Green Oaks neighborhoods and an upgrade to Starkville’s wastewater plant that allows it to safely process sewage sludge into a byproduct that resembles soil. Earlier this year, the city began applying the nutrient-rich material to select areas to improve soil quality and plant health.
In addition to investing in infrastructure, Starkville Utilities invests in the community through partnerships with community organizations to strengthen education and workforce development as well as enhance the quality of life. Last year, the district teamed with Starkville Utilities to launch the Academic Houses at Starkville High School, a program designed to put high school students on an advanced path toward career success. Starkville Utilities employees serve as presenters and mentors for students enrolled in the Technology, Engineering and Construction House.
The utility also plays an active role in community sponsored events such as the Get Swept Up campaign, installation of Christmas decorations on Main Street and in numerous community festivals and events.
“One of our most important responsibilities is thinking ahead to the future and taking steps today that will position Starkville for success,” Kemp said. “The fact that we’re a locally owned and controlled company means we can focus exclusively on the needs of our customers and make investments to improve their services and help our community thrive.”
Starkville Utilities is a municipally owned and operated electric and water utility, serving more than 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville as well as the state’s largest institution of higher learning, Mississippi State University.
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Public Power Week is an annual national observance coordinated by the American Public Power Association. The American Public Power Association is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. The Association represents public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million people that public power utilities serve, and the 93,000 people they employ. It advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations. Its members strengthen their communities by providing superior service, engaging citizens, and instilling pride in community-owned power. More at www.PublicPower.org.