September 29, 2021
Starkville Utilities is joining thousands of non-for-profit electric utilities across the nation to observe Public Power Week Oct. 3-9. The annual observance raises 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.
“Our ability to tailor operations and services to meet the needs of our community is the foundation of public power’s success,” said Terry Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “For decades we’ve served customers with safe, affordable and reliable utilities, and we’re also invested in the future by making decisions today that will provide benefits for many years to come. We think of it as a long-term relationship.”
Local control also provides more flexibility to respond to evolving needs and integrate new technologies to better serve customers. That was the strategy last year behind Starkville Utilities’ launch of the Renew Principle, a performance-improvement initiative rooted in building stronger customer relationships and offering products and technologies that make it easier to do business with Starkville Utilities.
Improvements have included an upgraded phone system, website and mobile app that have enhanced accessibility for customers by offering a variety of secure, convenient tools to manage accounts, receive assistance and provide feedback about their services.
Reliable service is another core facet of public power. Because of their close connection to customers, Starkville Utilities employees are dedicated to maintaining the community’s assets and operating local utility systems safely, continuously and efficiently. For more than five years, Starkville Utilities’ annual reliability performance has topped 99%, and electric rates have not risen in more than a decade.
Providing the highest caliber of service also requires continuous investments in workforce development. That’s why Starkville Utilities employees are among the most highly trained and credentialed of any industry.
“Employees take pride in providing quality services that help our community thrive,” Kemp said. “Our dedicated team members are highly proficient in a variety of focus areas, but they’re all united around one goal—working to keep Starkville up and running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and always being there when customers need us.”
Another strength is Starkville Utilities’ longstanding partnership with Tennessee Valley Authority, which leverages the resources of two public power companies to benefit customers, the community and the environment.
Recent examples include the new southwest substation that has enhanced reliability, grant programs focusing on pandemic relief and STEM education in local classrooms, and the Green Invest agreement that will provide renewable energy options for Starkville Utilities customers.
“For more than 80 years, we’ve had the privilege of serving Starkville and providing services that have helped our community grow and flourish,” Kemp. “We make decisions that put our community first, and that’s the power of public power.”
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.
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.