YES. WE ARE
SETTING THE STANDARD
FOR COAL-FIRED ENERGY.
Prairie State’s power is 95 percent owned by public power organizations and rural electric cooperatives, entities generally known as public power. Public power is electricity owned by communities. Nationally, according to the American Public Power Association (APPA), these utilities serve more than 47 million Americans. Prairie State’s power services 2.5 million Midwesterners.
Unlike private power companies, public power utilities are public service institutions and do not serve stockholders. Public power decision making puts customers first and ensures a stable supply of electricity while protecting the environment. Two-thirds of public power systems do not generate their own electricity, but that is beginning to change. Prairie State is an example of Midwestern public power entities investing in their own electricity generation and moving away from their past dependency on wholesale market purchasing.
Electric cooperatives are private, not-for-profit businesses governed by their consumers (known as “consumer-members”). Two federal requirements for all co-ops, including electric co-ops, are democratic governance and operation at cost. Specifically, every consumer-member can vote to choose local boards that oversee the co-op, and the co-op must, with few exceptions, return to consumer-members revenue above what is needed for operation. Under this structure, electric co-ops provide economic benefits to their local communities rather than distant stockholders.
The majority of co-ops distribute electricity to consumers through low-voltage residential lines that cover more than 75 percent of the nation’s land mass. Many of these distribution co-ops, as they’re called, have joined to create co-ops that provide them with generation and transmission services (G&T co-ops). Distribution co-ops also buy power from investor-owned utilities (IOUs), public power systems and federal hydropower power marketing administrations (PMAs).
Public power and electric cooperatives measure success by how much money stays in the community through low rates and contributions to the budget, not by how much money goes to stockholders. Public power and electric cooperative entities lower costs through partnerships with other local government departments and organizations. From American Public Power Association and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.