Provo City Power hosts celebration of public power, community and sustainability

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Provo City Power hosted a celebration to engage the public and raise awareness of the resources and services provided by Provo’s public power department on Oct. 6.

Members of the Provo community participated in activities, demonstrations and rides in boom lifts. They also received a stamp on their “passports” for visiting each section.

Provo City Power assistant director Scott Bunker said the purpose of the event is for “people to walk away with a better understanding of our public power, what Provo power provides for them.”

While the Public Power Celebration has been a regular part of the community for many years, it has been paused for the last few years due to the rise of COVID-19. 

“We’ve had more people than we expected. We weren’t quite sure if people would even remember or want to come back, and it looks like they did,” Bunker said.

Members of the Provo Power team presented the demonstrations and activities and electrocuted hot dogs, assisted children in climbing models of electrical poles and supervised the rides in the boom lifts. 

Provo Power lineman Ryan Spencer said part of his job as a lineman is fixing power lines during outages in order to get people’s power back. “We want to make sure that we keep reliable power,” he said.

Provo city uses a public power model to provide electricity to the community rather than a privately-owned business model. Public power is the largest nonprofit, government-operated electric utility in the state, according to the city of Provo.

There are more than 2,000 communities in the U.S. that use public power, accounting for one in seven American electricity users, according to the American Public Power Association.

The key traits of public power according to the association are local control, nonprofit operation, low-cost structure, community focus and environmental responsibility.

The event incorporated many of these traits from engaging with the community to providing tips on how to be more sustainable in their energy usage.

One booth was centered on how to use electricity to further sustainability efforts. They taught ways to reduce gas emissions by replacing gas-powered tools, using a heat pump and participating in their solar sharing system. They also suggested planting trees on the south and west sides of a home to reduce air conditioning costs.

Provo-native Brian Beaumont said he attended the celebration because he loves to meet new people in the community and learn new things. As an arborist, part of his job is to keep trees pruned and away from lines, power companies play a role by cutting down branches if they are within 10 feet from a power line.

Provo Power posted on social media at the close of this year’s power week.

“As #publicpowerweek comes to a close, we can’t help but to say thank you to our employees that are the driving force of power reliability and service to the customers we serve,” the post said. “The next time you turn on your lights, remember that we are here to serve you.”

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