Tallahassee Recognized as #1 Public Utility in America!

Posted By: Garnie Holmes Association News,

City of TallahasseeTallahassee is No. 1 again! Today, June 22, the City of Tallahassee Utilities was honored in Orlando by the American Public Power Association (APPA) for receiving the prestigious 2021 E. F. Scattergood System Achievement Award. This national designation recognizes the top public utility in the country for demonstrated achievements that made a difference in the community, improved service to customers and enhanced the profile of public power.

The award recognizes the City of Tallahassee for, among other things, its commitment to clean energy, customer-focused initiatives and mutual aid.

“This honor highlights the City’s dedication to being the national leader in the delivery of public service as we work toward the goals outlined in our five-year Strategic Plan,” Mayor John E. Dailey said. “Being a public power utility – and the best in the nation – strengthens our community, allowing for an unparalleled level of responsiveness to an ever-changing economic and energy landscape.”

In 2019, the City Commission signed the Clean Energy Resolution, which set the goal of a 100 percent net clean, renewable energy future for the community by 2050, as well as having 100 percent of City buildings, fleet vehicles and public buses powered by renewable energy by 2035. At the time, Tallahassee was one of only 10 cities in Florida to set this ambitious goal.

The City is in the process of developing a Clean Energy Plan to ensure the goals of the resolution are met, and it is making progress in several areas, including powering 100 percent of City buildings through electricity generated by its 62 MW solar farm – the largest airport-based solar farm in the world.

Underlined within its core values, the City is committed to providing exceptional citizen service. Through City Utilities, it offers a wide variety of customer-focused initiatives, which expanded over the past year to address COVID-19 impacts. When the pandemic hit, the City quickly offered relief programs for customers, including voluntarily suspending utility disconnects for more than a year and offering the Utility Relief Program in spring 2020 for customers facing financial hardship. As part of this commitment to service, Tallahassee was one of just eight public power utilities to sequester control center and power plant operators early in the pandemic to ensure uninterrupted power flow to homes and essential businesses.

“Tallahassee Utilities really stepped up for its customers when faced with tremendous challenges this past year,” said APPA President & CEO Joy Ditto. “The steps they quickly took to address COVID-19 in their community were impressive. They are truly deserving of this honor.”

Additionally, this achievement award recognized the City for its long-standing customer-focused initiatives, including the Neighborhood REACH program that helps residential customers in selected low-income neighborhoods lower their utility usage and its Budget Billing program that provides customers stability in their monthly utility bill by charging a flat monthly fee based on the average of a customer’s previous year usage.

Through mutual aid, the City is also quick to offer help via mutual aid to other public power utilities following disasters. In 2020 alone, Tallahassee crews deployed mutual aid 10 different times, assisting utilities in Florida, Alabama and Louisiana following Hurricanes Laura, Marco, Sally and Delta.

Representatives from APPA will present the award to the City Commission at its meeting on July 7.