Sturgeon Bay Utilities (SBU) is dedicated to meeting our customers’ needs while helping to make the community a better place to live and work. SBU is one of this country's 2,200 public power systems — a utility owned by the people and the community it serves.
Public power systems like SBU are non-profit and have one main purpose — to provide customers with the best services at the lowest possible cost.
SBU is organized as a stand-alone enterprise fund of the City of Sturgeon Bay. A 7-person utility commission, elected by the City Council, decides how to operate SBU. This local representation and control allows all citizens to have a voice in how our utility can best meet the community’s needs. Community ownership and control is the hallmark of public utilities — local people working together to meet local needs. At SBU, we go the extra mile to make sure you receive that personal service that makes us proud to be serving a great community.
We’re proud to be your locally owned and operated utility.
As neighbors, we take our responsibility to you very seriously. We know you want reliable power at an affordable cost. You also want a utility provider who cares enough to go the extra mile today…and who has the know-how to build for tomorrow.
To ensure that we’re here for a long, long time, we share resources with other local utilities. In fact, we’re co-owners of a nonprofit, Sun Prairie-based power company, WPPI Energy. Through WPPI Energy, we purchase low-cost electricity for our community and take advantage of the latest technologies to better serve your needs.
Hamilton and Staff, a respected, national public opinion research firm, recently conducted an independent nationwide poll to learn what people think of public ownership of utilities.
The results were simple: "A majority of U.S. consumers believe that public power is more concerned about the environment, offers lower rates, allows more control over utility operations and has better service than private power companies. The public believes local ownership of electric utilities plays a strong role in the electric industry."
There are 82 municipal electric utilities in Wisconsin. Like SBU, these communities believe that public power is the best choice for their communities and citizens. Here are a few of the reasons why:
- Community Ownership A community-owned utility is owned by the city or municipality it serves. It exists to provide a public service to the residents and businesses of the community. Service -- rather than profit -- is the utility's mission.
- Local Control and Regulation The rates and services of a municipal utility are governed by the city itself, in our case through an elected utility commission. Thus, the utility is governed by residents of the community who are also customers of the utility and are thoroughly familiar with its operations and services.
If a customer has a complaint, he or she does not have to call long distance and talk to a series of phone operators. The customer can discuss the problem locally, with another member of the community, and be assured that the problem will be addressed.
- Quick On-Site Response We work hard to make sure you don’t experience a loss of service. Some things like storms and accidents are out of our control. If an outage occurs, we’re always just a few minutes away. We’ll get to the problem and fix it as quickly as we possibly can.
- Efficient Operation Since one of our goals is to be the low-cost provider of electric service, our current and future advantage lies in our efficient operation. Our expenses are substantially lower than those of a private power company.
- Keeping Dollars in the Community Here are some of the ways a municipal utility helps to maintain a sound local economy:
- Local ownership means that customers' energy dollars stay in the community — creating jobs and supporting the local economy.
- Municipal utilities serve as an engine for economic development. Local flexibility and quality service offered by municipal utilities are a major advantage for the community in attracting and retaining commercial and industrial customers.
- Municipal utilities make significant payments-in-lieu-of-taxes to the city. The utility makes payments to the city’s general fund every year in lieu of taxes. In 2004 that contribution was almost $640,000. The utility has contributed $3.2 million over the past five years to keep our taxes lower.
- On average, municipal utility rates are competitive and often lower than those of other utilities. Competitive rates means more dollars are available to spend on other goods and services, which boosts the local economy.
- Community Values Decisions about the operation of a municipal utility are made locally — by members of the community — at open, public meetings. Because all decisions are made locally, a municipal utility is uniquely able to respond to the community's needs, build on the community's strengths and reflect and advance the community's values.