ElectriCities of North Carolina announced this week that the City of Morganton won three 2020 Public Power Awards of Excellence. The City of Morganton earned awards for Wholesale Power Cost, Workforce Development, and the Value of Public Power. Morganton was one of 16 communities in North Carolina to be recognized for its excellence in public power.

“It’s exciting to see the many achievements in North Carolina public power communities each year,” said ElectriCities CEO Roy Jones. “I am always impressed by the ingenuity and true commitment of public power communities, particularly throughout 2020 when cities and towns were faced with challenges no one could have anticipated. We are proud of these public power communities and are grateful for their dedication.”

Morganton earned the Value of Public Power Award for its efforts in effectively communicating the value of power system ownership to its stakeholders and citizens. ElectriCities recognized the City for its communication efforts on social media about power outages to keep citizens updated during storms, weather events, or prolonged outages. The City makes efforts to keep customers updated about outages in real-time, including posting updates and replying to citizen concerns at all hours of the day and night.

ElectriCities also recognized the City for communicating the value of public power through its Public Power Week video series created and produced by City of Morganton Public Information Officer Ethan Smith and Production Specialist Chad Medford. The six-part video series highlighted each part of the City’s Electric Services department that is responsible for getting power to our customers, and communicated how public power service is the cornerstone of everything we enjoy in the modern era. The video series can be found on the City’s YouTube channel, here: http://bit.ly/PublicPowerWeekVideos.

ElectriCities awarded Morganton the Wholesale Power Cost Award for its energy reduction efforts, load management practices, and innovative rate structure for industrial customers. These practices all combine to ensure low rates for our customers, and make Morganton a competitive and reliable power provider.

The City was recognized with this award for adding an industrial rate in 2020 that better captures the actual kilowattage used by local industrial customers. This rate meets the industrial customers in the middle of two previous rate thresholds, ensuring they are getting the most value out of Morganton’s public power service.

This rate was created to better serve these customers during times of hardship created in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic. By being flexible and recognizing the strain the pandemic has placed on businesses, the City is better serving these industrial customers with this rate. It is projected to save these customers $5,000 to $10,000 per year. This new rate was created after rates were lowered for power customers by an average of three percent in 2019, showing the City is committed to providing quality service for reasonable rates each year.

The Workforce Development Award was given to Morganton for its efforts in recruiting and retaining linemen in its Electric Services Department, as well as the City’s efforts to develop the knowledge and skills of current employees so they may strive to advance their careers while continuing to work for the City of Morganton.

After significant turnover and difficulty recruiting skilled line techs in 2018 and 2019, the City of Morganton partnered with ElectriCities to begin offering career development training for Line Technicians in January 2020.  It was the City’s hope that by offering a clear path for career development, this would encourage staff to stay on and train to gain more skills in their field, which would lead to promotions.

The City’s career development training has provided entry-level linemen with access to high-quality training provided by ElectriCities, and gives them a clear path to promotion based on gaining knowledge and skills in their field. As a result, the City reduced its turnover rate for its linemen positions to zero percent by the end of 2020.

“We are very pleased that the men and women of our Electric Services Department continue to be recognized for their hard work in serving our public power customers,” said City Manager Sally Sandy. “These awards are a testament to the excellent work our employees do, and the innovative approach Morganton takes in being a public power provider.”

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