Power Lines Blog

Tell us your story and help preserve tax-exempt municipal bonds

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With some Members of Congress talking about removing the tax exemption for municipal bonds as part of larger tax reform measures, the public power community must ensure that lawmakers understand all the benefits that flow from tax-exempt municipal bonds. In 2017, the American Public Power Association has ramped up advocacy efforts to maintain the tax exemption for municipal bonds.

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FY 2018 Budget Proposal Would Significantly Affect Public Power

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President Donald Trump sent Congress a budget for Fiscal Year 2018 that proposes cutting federal spending by $24 billion in 2018 and by $3.6 trillion over the next decade, while boosting federal revenues by $2.7 trillion over the same period, to bring the federal budget into balance by 2027. Overall, non-defense Department of Energy programs would be cut by $3 billion (17.5 percent) in 2018.  That average, though, masks massive cuts to specific DOE offices.

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Electrical Safety, Why Our Grades Are Improving

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Regardless of the safety statistic employed, over the last few decades, the number of accidents at electric utilities has decreased every year. Why? Because of a culture of safety, better understanding of costs, and improved manufacturing. So let’s celebrate safety, in May and every day. But, until we collectively reduce the overall death rate to zero, we still have to roll up our sleeves and admit we have a whole lotta work to do.

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WannaCry Ransomeware: What Every Utility Needs to Know

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There are many articles and official sources of information about WannaCry, the ransomware that was unleashed on Friday, May 12th, 2017 and quickly spread to 150 countries around the world. This post is intended to provide the basics to guide utility senior management in understanding what happened, what to do if WannaCry is detected on their network, and what to do going forward to prevent this type of risk to their networks.

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Taxing Muni Bonds: Excuses, Excuses, and More Excuses

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We’ve been fighting for several years now to explain the reasons why an unprecedented tax on municipal bonds would be bad. What we’ve spent less time discussing are the excuses – implicit and explicit – for imposing a new tax on municipal bonds. These include dire warnings of tidal waves of municipal bankruptcies, breathless tales of state and local financial struggles, hoary anecdotes implying endless abuses, and pat solutions that fail to address the problems.

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Energizing local leaders to promote public power

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More of the utility’s revenues stay in the community to support critical city operations. Unfortunately, this fact has become lost on the public, as communities have not done a good job of communicating that message. The OMPA board of directors decided it was time initiate a multi-year Value of Public Power campaign to educate the public and legislature on the value of having their local electric utility.

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Why we need mentoring and diversity in engineering

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Global Engineering Day is not just for the standard college-bred engineers. It is intended is to celebrate all scientists. The engineering field is wide open in today’s world. Many of us became engineers thanks to mentoring and encouragement from parents and teachers. On Global Engineering Day, we should ask ourselves what are we doing to introduce younger generations to the vast potential of careers in STEM.

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5 tips to leverage sponsorships in a public power community

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I know what you’re thinking: “Our utility doesn’t have money to throw at community sponsorships. And even if we did, we wouldn’t be able to support every worthy cause in town. And if we did spend money on sponsorships, our customers would overwhelm our call center asking why we are spending money rather than lowering their bills.”
These are all valid concerns. Community sponsorships are not something to be taken lightly or decided upon in a knee-jerk way. Instead, they should be a strategic decision based on careful consideration with a goal of measurable impact.

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