ElectriCities named one of top utilities in the Unites States

Published 7:24 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2018

ElectriCities of North Carolina is one of the top utilities in the nation, according to Business Facilities magazine.

The magazine focuses on economic development and site-selection news. It publishes a list of leading utilities that excel in providing economic development support, low-cost energy and infrastructure.

ElectriCities is the umbrella organization that includes the 32-member N.C. Eastern Municipal Agency and 19-member N.C. Municipal Power Agency #1. For more than 50 years, ElectriCities has assisted North Carolina public-power communities in providing safe, reliable and affordable power to their customers. ElectriCities serves more than 1.2 million people in North Carolina public-power communities. Washington and Belhaven are NCEMPA members.

Councilman Doug Mercer has long represented Washington on the NCEMPA Board of Directors. Currently, he serves as secretary-treasurer. Mercer noted that in addition to providing economic-development support by way of grants, ElectriCities helps its members market themselves to potential industries seeking places to expand or looking for a start-up site. ElectriCities also negotiates with Duke Energy and Dominion Power for the best power wholesale rates for its members, he said.

“We have worked through them and had a number of people come and look at the industrial park as a potential site because of those contacts with ElectriCities,” Mercer said. “They also have that grant program, which is a small grant really — normally it’s been $4,000 or $5,000, but this year they upped it to $10,000 — that is available for industries coming in as an incentive to move to North Carolina.”

ElectriCities helps public-power communities secure economic development projects, including a project in Washington. That project would convert the former Bank of America building at the intersection of West Main and Respess streets into a distillery, restaurant and boutique hotel.

Hackney Distillery LLC, owners of the former bank building, plans to apply for a Smart Communities ElectriCities Economic Development Grant. Such grants require matching funds. Usually, eligible communities receive up to $4,000 in grant funds for projects, but this year they could receive up to $10,000. Washington plans to use a $10,000 grant from the N.C. Commerce Department as the local match required by the Smart Communities grant contract.

“Promoting economic development in public power communities has always been a top priority for ElectriCities, so we’re thrilled to be recognized for our success in that area,” said ElectriCities CEO Roy Jones. “Throughout this last year, the benefits of public power have helped our communities attract and retain businesses, adding a growing workforce throughout North Carolina.”

Through June 2017, public-power communities in the state added approximately 4,700 new jobs and attracted more than $2.18 billion in new investments, according to ElectriCities.



About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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