Utilities: At the Heart of Development and a Community’s Economic Health
By Chris Schweitzer, General Manager, Auburn Electric
Municipal utilities are an important part of any city’s economic development efforts. Without available and reliable electric, communications, water and wastewater services, local development and redevelopment efforts would stall—as would the economic health of a community.
According to the American Public Power Association, “a public power utility spurs economic development in the community by meeting the interrelated needs of residential, business and industrial customers.” All of this makes a community like Auburn a more enjoyable place to live. Even more, it allows the city to compete in successfully attracting business and employment. When that happens, it’s a win for our city, county and the region.
At Auburn Electric, we understand the vital role we play in local economic development efforts. When a business is looking to locate or expand in our area, it considers everything from the tax rates to the quality of life. One key component of the decision lies with the availability of municipal utilities like electric.
This is one of the reasons we’ve worked hard to improve our infrastructure, operations and system health over the past few years. It puts us in a better position to deliver reliable, quality power to all of our customers, from residents to businesses and large industrial customers.
We know that utilities like Auburn Electric—as well as Auburn Water, Water Pollution Control and AES—help attract and retain businesses (and jobs), enable residential development resulting in population increase, and, ultimately, fuel the local economy.
Utilities like ours are also an integral part of efforts such as the downtown redevelopment, business and industrial park development and other public works projects. A great example of this is the Sixth and Main Revitalization Project. As part of the downtown beautification efforts, Auburn Electric installed an underground duct bank to move the majority of overhead lines underground, and the Auburn Water Department replaced a century-old water main the year before in anticipation of the revitalization efforts.
No city can attract industry unless it has adequate, reliable and competitively-priced utilities. At Auburn Electric, we’re all in, working hard to do our part. We’re constantly assessing our systems, processes and equipment to ensure we are providing power and service in the best, most efficient and cost-effective way possible.