Would Town-Controlled Power Grids Get the Lights On Faster?

Nov 7, 2011

Jewett City, a community of 2.5 square miles in southeastern Connecticut, has its own power company, owned by the town. There are seven non-profit companies like this in the state. They're small, which means they can coordinate closely with other branches of government. Heck, they can coordinate with branches on trees.

Ken Sullivan, who runs the Jewett City utility is probably on a first name basis with most of the squirrels who run on his lines. The utility does all of its own tree trimming. Outages tend to be short. Most of the people I heard from who live in towns like Wallingford, which also has its own power company, speak in loving tones about low rates and great customer service.

But many of those systems have been around since the end of the 19th century. What does it take to convert from what you have to a non-for-profit town system? That's just one of the topics we'll tackle today as we look at Winter Park, Florida and Boulder, Colorado.

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