Community-owned power refers to electric utilities that are owned by their customers. This classification covers two of the three sectors comprising the electric utility industry: municipal utilities and cooperatives. The third sector is investor-owned utilities, which operate for the benefit of their shareholders.
All of Blue Ridge’s members are community-owned utilities. Community-owned utilities have the following characteristics:
- Use a not-for-profit business model
- The utility is owned, governed and operated by the customers
- The loyalty and service mission is to its customers (fellow citizens, friends, neighbors) and not stockholders
- The utility, governing body and staff are accountable to the customer-owners, not to a management and board of directors in another city, state or country
- The electric system is reliable and service responses during power outages or at customer request are timely and efficient
- Retail electric rates are competitive with and often lower than private utilities’ rates