With ownership of the electric utility in the hands of the community, public power means local control. Decisions about operating policies, rate-setting, service priorities, and community support are all made at the local level. Local control promotes transparency and accountability of the decision making process since public power utilities are held to open records and open meetings laws. Local control recognizes the importance of customer service by providing for direct contact with consumers at multiple levels to answer to consumers about reliability and efficiency matters.
Public power does not have shareholders for whom profit is a primary concern. With no profit motive, public power can offer lower costs and lower rates than nearby investor-owned utilities (IOU’s) and rural electric cooperatives (REC’s). Public power utilities provide in-kind support for community activities and financial support for local government that IOU’S and REC’s would not provide. This kind of support is often not quantified to demonstrate the economic boost public power gives to a community beyond competitive rates.