For over 50 years, we have provided the greater New Smyrna Beach area with quality utility services. We are very proud of our long history with the city and the quality of life that we help provide to its residents. Today, UCNSB offers electric, water, wastewater, and reuse water services to approximately 30,000 residential and commercial customers. As the city grows, we will continue to do so as well – just like we have over the past half-century – and honor our steadfast commitment to serving the community.
We Have Your Best Interests At Heart
While most cities in Florida provide their own water and wastewater service, most of them don’t run their own electric service. UCNSB is special because it is one of only 34 municipal electric utilities in the state, also known as a public power utility. This means that it is owned and run by the community, much like libraries or public schools. In addition, we are funded solely through utility revenues and are not a taxing authority. This allows us to be fully committed to serving our customers, not investors.
Investor-owned utilities receive criticism for such problems as lack of transparency, ever-rising rates, deferral of necessary repairs, and for lacking accountability. In these for-profit systems, decisions about how to generate and transmit energy are made by executives whose foremost concern is to make sure investors get a return on their money. They often achieve that by charging as much as they can for electricity while investing as little as possible in infrastructure upgrades and maintenance. In Short, these companies are less focused on providing safe and affordable public services and more on securing their shareholders’ profits.
When a utility company is municipalized like UCNSB, they are more people-focused. As a result, customers avoid most of these issues and are generally happier with the services they receive. In fact, “homes powered by public power utilities pay 12% less than homes powered by private utilities,” according to the American Public Power Association.
We’re Good Listeners
One of the many advantages of a locally-owned utility is that customers can directly participate in decision-making. UCNSB meetings are held on the 4th Monday of every month at 3 PM in the DeBerry Room, located on the 3rd floor at 200 Canal Street, in the heart of downtown. We welcome members of the community to voice concerns and stay informed of infrastructure plans or other developments. Community citizens also have the opportunity to have a voice in utility decisions, including the rates we charge and the sources from which we draw our electricity. Open communication is the key to successfully meeting everyone’s needs.
UCNSB is involved in several environmental programs and initiatives that promote the conservation and sustainability of our water and energy resources. We are proponents of renewable energy sources such as solar, water, and wind. We make it our mission to contribute to the knowledge of our youths and encourage them to learn more about these technologies through programs that we organize with local schools.
Additionally, we’ve even upgraded our bucket trucks by outfitting them with a JEMS (Jobsite Energy Management System). This device essentially turns the trucks into hybrids. It lets us turn the trucks off when stationed at a job site, resulting in no emissions while our workers make repairs.
According to the American Public Power Association, customers of public power utilities, such as UCNSB lose power less often. In addition, they share that cities that receive their electricity from municipal utilities suffer power outages less than half as much of the time as those using privately-owned electric utilities. This is largely due to reinvestment and upkeep of power lines and other equipment and organizing tree trimming throughout the community. This is a large part of the daily duties of our UCNSB employees, and we take it very seriously.
While Florida is prone to environmental factors that can damage our power grid, such as hurricanes or very heavy rain, UCNSB has always prioritized being as prepared as possible for weather events. Likewise, our response in the aftermath of these events has always been carefully orchestrated to restore power to our customers as quickly as possible. New Smyrna Beach residents and businesses can trust that we will continue to do everything in our power to keep the lights on!
Now that we’ve described all of UCNSB’s admirable qualities, we hope that you will consider us your Valentine this month and a supportive “partner” in your daily life. Those who live in NSB or own businesses here are why we do what we do. We look forward to nurturing our relationship with our community far into the future.