Consumers set the pace for public power policy making. Policy board meetings are open to the public and consumers have a direct voice in expressing their goals and priorities for the community and its electric utility.
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First, look outside and see if the outage has included your neighbors. If it hasn't, the problem may be within your own home. Check your fuse box or circuit breaker panel to see if you can locate the problem. If the neighboring houses are dark too, look for trees or branches on the lines, downed wires, flashes of light, or any other signs of trouble. Do not touch or attempt to move any electric lines or trees or any other obstacles in contact with electric lines.
When an outage occurs please call the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) at 716-661-1640. During or after a major storm, calling will take a great deal of patience because many other people are also trying to call. It is natural to be tempted to ask how long the power will be out, but it is an almost impossible question to answer. Be assured we will get to you as soon as we can. There is no need to keep calling. However, if your power was restored and then failed again, or if you are in one of those small pockets of dark houses when the rest of the neighborhood has had its power restored, please call again.
Also, tune your battery operated radio to local stations, as we give updates to the public as to the status of repairs.
When an outage occurs or lasts for an extended period of time, a heavy burden is placed on the system at the moment the power is restored. This high demand can cause an overload on the system and you could lose power once again.
Read the following prompts to know what to do with your appliances while waiting for the power to turn back on:
When the one light you have left on glows, you will know that the power has been restored and you may gradually switch your appliances back on and return thermostats to their normal settings.
Public Power is the term used to describe not-for-profit publicly owned electric utilities that are operated by a municipality, county, state or other public body such as a public utility district. Public Power systems are directly accountable to the people they serve.
Private Power sells electricity to make a profit. Profits go to stockholders all over the country. Public power systems are not run to make a profit. All the benefits from public power stay at home in the form of lower rates, improved services, and other community contributions. Public ownership of a utility is like owning your own home. Private ownership is like renting it.
The following are benefits of Public Power:
Public power rates, on a national average, are much lower than rates of private power companies. Residential customers of a private utility pay 30% more than public customers and the average private commercial / industrial customer pays about 10% more than a public customer. This difference has been steady for about the past 50 years.
On a national average, public power systems pay proportionately more of their annual gross electric revenues to the communities in which they operate than do private companies. Payments may be in the form of taxes, tax equivalent or in-lieu-of-tax payments, direct transfers to general funds or contribution of services. Public power systems also play a major role in promoting overall community development. For example, low-cost electric service is an inducement to new business and industry, which broadens the tax base and crates more jobs and local income.
Public power competition gives state and federal regulation more muscle and provides a constant "yardstick" by which to compare private company rates and service. Time and again, private companies have lowered rates or granted concessions to customers when confronted with citizen or local government interest in the public power option.
Public power systems are regulated by their consumer-owners through locally elected or appointed officials. In a few states (such as New York), public power is regulated by state utility departments. Some city councils govern their utilities, others are governed by an independent elected or appointed utility board such as the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities. In any case, they are accountable to the citizens they serve.