CEO of statewide power agency describes benefits of a locally owned electric utility
ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 16, 2019 – Ocala Electric Utility contributes approximately $19 million in annual economic value to the local economy, according to Jacob Williams, general manager and CEO of the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA).
“Ocala is fortunate to have a locally owned electric utility that contributes millions of dollars every year to the community,” said Williams. “The value comes from lower electric rates than neighboring utilities, higher reliability, contributions to the city’s general fund, local jobs, community sponsorships and more.”
Williams presented the results of FMPA’s analysis at a breakfast meeting today for the Ocala-Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership. In addition, he talked about what FMPA and Ocala Electric are doing to provide low-cost, reliable and clean power for Ocala.
Some presentation highlights included:
- People need affordable electricity because Floridians use nearly 25% more power than the average person in the U.S., due to the need in Florida for air conditioning.
- FMPA’s power costs decreased 30% over the past nine years. Ocala’s electric rates are lower than neighboring utilities, saving approximately $385,000 for customers annually.
- Ocala Electric provides local jobs. The disposable income these jobs create plus the multiplier effect of spending creates a net estimated impact of $6.3 million annually.
- The local utility contributes approximately $11.6 million annually to the city’s general revenues, which helps keep taxes low.
- Ocala Electric outperforms neighboring utilities in keeping the lights on every day and restoring power faster after storms, including hurricanes. The value of more reliable service is estimated to be $913,000.
- Ocala is participating in FMPA’s solar project, one of the largest municipal-backed solar projects in the U.S. It is expected to begin operation in mid-2020. By working with other cities through FMPA, Ocala can provide solar power at a reasonable cost that is approximately one-third the price of a typical private, rooftop system.
FMPA is an Orlando-based wholesale power agency created by Ocala and other municipal electric utilities in Florida. The purpose of FMPA is to provide low-cost wholesale power and value-added services for its member-owner utilities.