How Municipally Owned Electric Utilities Work For You

There are 72 Municipally Owned Electric Utilities (MOUs) in the State of Texas providing power to 4.1 million Texans.  Many have been serving their communities for over 50 years.  MOUs are “full service” electric utilities that own poles and wires and often power plant.  Local authorities set MOU rates and policies that are responsive to community priorities.

(Reference “Municipally Owned Electric Utilities (MOUs) in Texas: Overview from the Texas Public Power Association’s Testimony of the Texas Public Power Association (TPPA) Senate Business & Commerce Committee, July 10, 2012)

Infrastructure Based:  Municipally Owned Electric Utilities own and operate utility infrastructure, including power plants and/or electrical lines (unlike city “aggregators” who are just purchasing agents in deregulated areas).

Rates:  Set locally

Service Quality:  Reliable, local, and consumer-friendly

Finance:  Funded by utility revenues, not taxes

Utility Proceeds:  Proceeds stay in the community.  A portion of MOU revenues supports general municipal services like public safety, roads, parks, and libraries.

Customer Satisfaction:  MOUs are consumer owned and thus have a consumer orientation.  Local employees, not remote call centers, interface with customers.  Customers can participate – local process, public meetings, etc.

Reliability:  System Average Interuption Frequency Index (SAIFI) is a 0.696 average of MOUs (per TPPA) in contrast to 1.071 average statewide (per PUC).

Jobs and Economic Development:  Municipally Owned Electric Utilities are significant employers in their communities – 7,044 employees.  MOUs are well situated to support local economic development activities – a consolidated local approach with infrastructure deployment and rate policies that help retain and attract business.

Municipal Owned Electric Utilities proceeds always stay local!

(unlike the proceeds of private utilities which can go out-of-state stockholders).

City of Seymour Electric Distribution Department

“Committed to Quality and Service”

With approximately 50 miles of electric line to maintain, the four-member crew of the City Electric Department is always busy. Jay Barrington is the Department Head (Superintendent) and Supervisor of the crew and Joe Bush and Kyle Ward work as linemen. The department members possess a combined 30+ years of experience in the electric industry. This experience is put to use as they construct, maintain, repair, and generally oversee the entire distribution system of both overhead and underground electric system components. Day-to-day operations of the electric department include such tasks as changing out poles, reading the electric meters, repairing/replacing cross-arms and transformers and even trimming trees which threaten to pull down City lines. The Electric crew also performs ‘seasonal’ jobs such as hanging the popular Christmas Angel decorations.

The members of the Electric Department work exceptionally long hours during the storm season. The crew is dedicated to making City electric reliable. This means putting in a great deal of overtime to repair the damage that nature can inflict on the system. After the March 2004 tornadic winds, the crew worked close to 54 hours straight to re-establish all service. Most residences had light service re-established within 12 hours.

The Electric Distribution System itself was purchased by the City of Seymour in 1985-86. The City purchased the system from Texas Electric Utility. This forward-thinking City Council, with Alderman (later Mayor) Nolan Davis in the lead, made the deal. The City took 15 years to pay it off and in fiscal year 2000-2001, the City of Seymour sent in the last payment and now owns the system completely.

The electric and water sales provide far more revenue than the city property taxes do. The City of Seymour has an annual budget of more than $7 million dollars; most of this revenue related to our utility systems. This means that every time a citizen pays a utility bill, he is doing more than simply paying for the power that he used. His light bill payment also goes to providing revenue for the City to pave the streets, to put up street signs, to pick up stray animals, to run the swimming pools for the kids in the summer, to spray for the mosquitoes, to maintain police force and Parks & Recreation department, and to hold ‘Clean Up Week’ twice a year. Revenue from our electric distribution utility enables the City to do all these things and many more.

The Electric Department employees strive to make the service to customers better and more reliable than ever before and in so doing, make all our lives easier. No matter what the weather, when the lights go out, each citizen can count on the City Electric Department to bring him ‘back into the light’. The City of Seymour Electric Distribution system as you can see is committed to reliability, safety, quality and service for our citizens. The Department is committed to providing quality electric service to our customers now and well into the future.