Public power: The community-owned advantage

By Bruce Metz - Guest columnist

The Village of Jackson Center receives electricity from Jackson Center Municipal Electric, one of more than 2,000 public power utilities that provide electricity to more than 49 million people across the country.

Jackson Center Municipal Electric has operated alongside our customers here in Jackson Center since May 15 1920.

On March 17, 1919, the Village Council passed Ordinance 105 to authorize the Board of Trustees of Public Affairs of the Village of Jackson Center, Ohio to advertise for and receive bids for furnishing electric current and building a transmission line and a distribution system. The ordinance that was passed was signed by Mayor J. G. Sailor.

Then on July 7, 1919, an ordinance was approved to issue bonds to establish the electric system. The bonds totaled $15,000. There was to be a transmission line constructed from Port Jefferson to Jackson Center with electricity supplied by Ohio Power Company, according to Sailor’s records.

Jackson Center Municipal Electric not only works for Jackson Center, Jackson Center Public Power Utilities are community-owned, which means the people of Jackson Center are included in the decision-making process.

Knowing our community and its needs helps us keep homes, businesses, and public places powered year-round. Local ownership allows us to purchase our power from the open market or buy into electric producing plants to fill our electric needs. Jackson Center currently receives power from a natural gas plant, a coal plant, a solar field, and eight hydro plants, along with some open market purchases. Currently Jackson Center power received from renewable resources is 26% and about 5% from the open market.

Local ownership has also given our residential, commercial and industrial customers the opportunity to participate in our energy efficiency program. From 2011 to present our consumers have been able to save over $2,000,000 in lifetime customer savings doing energy efficiency projects.

With our Village Council being the governing board, we were able to build our second sub-station and extend our transmission line to the new sub-station. This was much needed with our load growth and increased our reliability to our customers. This $3.6 million dollar project was completed in December of 2019.

Jackson Center’s strong commitment to our community can also be seen in places you may not expect. In the past year, we installed solar parking lot lights at the Tiger Trail Park, installed solar lighting on the flags and contributed $775 to the Jackson Center Library lighting project which involved conversion to all new LED lighting throughout the library.

As a not-for-profit public power utility, our loyalty is to our customers — not stockholders. We take pride in our governance structure, with an elected council comprising local members that has open meetings on the second and fourth Mondays every month at 7 p.m. in Village Council Chambers.

Jackson Center Municipal Electric will continue to provide cost-effective, reliable electricity during the next 100 years as we did for the first 100 years. I would like to congratulate the village on this accomplishment and proud to have been part of it.

We thank you for your support of public power — an American tradition that works.

Join us in celebrating Public Power Week (#PublicPowerWeek). This year’s celebration takes place Sunday, Oct. 4, through Saturday, Oct. 10.

By Bruce Metz

Guest columnist

The writer is the village administrator of Jackson Center.

The writer is the village administrator of Jackson Center.