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JEA Reminds Community of Benefits of Public Power During National Public Power Week
Jacksonville, FL - October 7 – 13, JEA is marking Public Power Week, along with 2,000 other municipal utilities nationwide, as a time to remind consumers of the benefits of public power.
As the seventh largest community-owned electric and water utility in the nation, JEA provides fairly priced, reliable service to more than 750,000 customers. JEA is a not-for-profit which means it does not earn profits for third party equity investors or for its management team.
When JEA’s Board cut the variable fuels rate in June, JEA passed that savings on to its customers. Electric bills went down by $5.18, on average, effective July 1, 2012. Fuel is by far JEA’s highest cost – about 42 percent of its budget. Salaries, by the way, are one of its lowest costs, about 10 percent of its total operating cost.
During the twelve months ending September 30, 2012, JEA collected $125 million less from its customers than in the prior year, kept base payroll expenses to below 2008 levels, lowered the average customer’s monthly electric bill by $5.18 and contributed $104.2 million to the City’s general operating fund.
“We take great pride in the fact that a significant portion of the dollars we collect from our customers remains in our community,” said CEO Paul McElroy. “This year we will reinvest over $500 million of our customers money to support ongoing utility operations and make the capital investments necessary to keep the community’s utility systems strong and reliable. This activity supports the local economy and leads to thousands of local jobs.” Additionally, JEA will contribute a record $106.7 million to the City’s general operating fund in 2013.
Beyond the employee donations to United Way that totaled more than $400,000 last year, JEA employees volunteer with organizations across JEA’s service territory. They serve in many capacities from board positions to working side by side with staff and other volunteers at local United Way agencies. Employees have built homes for Habijax, dug up old tires from the mucky shores of the St. Johns River, and cooked and served meals to the homeless at the Clara White Mission Downtown.
McElroy also pointed out that because JEA is a public power company, the cost of borrowing capital is less than it would be for a for-profit power company. JEA bonds are tax exempt, which means customers pay less in the long run for improvements to power plants or water and sewer pipelines.
“The very best reason to celebrate JEA and public power is this: local ownership means local control,” McElroy said. “We all live in Jacksonville. If customers don’t like what we’re doing they can pick up the phone and call or knock on our door. At JEA we’re building community because we’re part of the community.”
JEA is the seventh-largest community-owned electric utility in the United States and one of the largest water and sewer utilities in the nation providing electric, water and sewer service to residents and businesses in northeast Florida.
Empowering Our Community
At JEA, community and service go hand in hand. Our employees volunteer their time and serve in several organizations throughout Jacksonville.