Power Lines Blog

EmPowering the next generation

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As a municipal, multi-service utility, GRU takes pride in the fact that we are owned by the people we serve. Our Community Relations department is committed to advancing the values of GRU and actively participating in the betterment of our community. Camp EmPower is a free, weeklong camp for Alachua County middle-schoolers that introduces them to the fields of conservation, energy supply, energy delivery, natural gas, water, wastewater and telecommunications through guided tours of GRU facilities.

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Powering strong communities by giving back

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The Association’s annual Day of Giving in Orlando, Florida on June 16 is now in its tenth year. This event showcases public power’s commitment to community service and gives our National Conference attendees the opportunity to volunteer with local service projects. We hope many of you can join us. If not, maybe there’s something you can do right in your local community. Share some pictures of your community service projects on social media on June 16.

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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 impact on 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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Why our electrical safety 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 ransomware: 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 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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