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Community-powered utility benefits BC residents

This week, I’d like to take some time to appreciate Boulder City’s Utilities Department, which provides power to residential and business customers.

Please join me in celebrating Public Power Week this Sunday, which started on Oct. 1 and runs through Saturday, Oct. 7.

Boulder City is one of 2,000 public power utilities that provide electricity to 49 million people across the country. Like many other public power utilities, Boulder City staff is always looking at ways to improve and protect our infrastructure to ensure safe, reliable, affordable, sustainable, and customer-focused service for many years to come.

We are still one of the lowest-cost providers in the country. Boulder City receives more than half of its power from renewable hydroelectric sources (forty percent is generated by the engineering wonder that built our community - Hoover Dam; Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell provides twelve percent). About a quarter of our power comes from solar energy from Townsite Solar, the other quarter from natural gas.

We are Clean, Green Boulder City in many ways.

Power use ranges from approximately 10 megawatts (MW) of power in more temperate months to about 50 MW on a peak summer day. Getting energy on the hottest of days can present a challenge.

That is why the city is also a member of the Silver State Energy Association. Silver State schedules power purchases and delivery for Boulder City as well as for other entities in Southern Nevada. Think of it like buying in bulk – when Silver State buys for multiple communities, cost savings are passed on to Boulder City customers.

As a not-for-profit public power utility, our loyalty is to our customers – not stockholders. Boulder City’s utility cannot generate a profit and is an enterprise fund, which means it is a self-supporting government fund, selling goods and services to the public for a fee. Last week, during the regular City Council meeting, I had the opportunity to shake hands with many of the employees who work for Boulder City’s Utilities Department. These workers play a key role in keeping our community up and running daily, often working crazy hours on the hottest of days to keep our power going.

Public power thrives because we are community-owned and governed by local decision-making. Boulder City is fortunate to have Department Director Joe Stubitz (who I’ve known since he was a child) supervising William Bruninga, Josh Hardy, Skip Spilman, and the technicians and lineworkers who care about the community and take pride in serving our friends and neighbors. I also would like to salute the members of our Utility Advisory Committee, who keep City Council and the city manager informed of community concerns and trends in the industry.

This year, Joe Stubitz is working to educate a future generation of potential public power employees. He is working with Martha P. King Elementary School to teach youth about the work of his staff and hopefully inspire future leaders for Boulder City’s Utilities Department.

Thank you to Boulder City’s Electrical workers for all that they do to keep our lights on. We appreciate you this week and every week.

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