ElectriCities is a not-for-profit government service organization representing cities, towns, and universities that own electric distribution systems: more than 70 N.C. cities serve 500,000 customers, with 1 million customers served in N.C., S.C., and Va. ElectriCities provides customer service/safety training, emergency/technical assistance, economic development, communications, government affairs, and legal services.
One of ElectriCities’ roles is to represent member communities to expanding and relocating companies. We maintain comprehensive databases for all public power municipalities in North Carolina.
Prospects can order detailed reports on dozens of sites, from mountains to coast. Within 48 hours of a request, ElectriCities will send profiles of locations that precisely match the company’s specifications.
Using ElectriCities as an introduction to North Carolina, site search managers have a turnkey or “flip-switch” information source. “They find all the information they need in one place,” says Brenda Daniels, the organization’s economic development manager.
ElectriCities has developed two industrial parks it has dubbed “Prime Power Parks” in the cities of Albemarle, located in Piedmont’s lake country, and in Gastonia, 15 miles from Charlotte, just off I-85. The Albemarle park has direct rail access from Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, clearly qualifying the area as a great rail intermodal site.
Besides the flexible electric rate structure and pro-business climate the area offers, the location provides easy access to eastern U.S. markets. The Albermarle Prime Power Park is adjacent to the Stanly County Airport.
The industrial parks are North Carolina Certified Sites with 4 MW of on-site backup power generation, Daniels adds. “If a company has a critical operation that can’t risk a power outage, they have a backup available, and don’t have to spend the money to purchase a generator,” she says.
The backup, like the rate-lowering services to all ElectriCities’ customers, provides an ongoing incentive for companies looking for an ideal logistics location. It is not surprising that ElectriCities has generated increasing interest from companies seeking a great place to call home.
“We’ve seen a measurable uptick in interest and activity over the last year and a half,” says Daniels.
ElectriCities remains a partner through the entire site-selection process, helping companies with utility-related issues, arranging site visits, and facilitating contact with local, county and state officials. But the most important factor in the interest shown in the area is the availability, reliability and affordability of NC Public Power.
Companies based in ElectriCities member communities recognize the cost efficiencies and superior customer service public power provides. Municipal utilities don’t have to pay dividends to shareholders, and those savings can be passed on to the utilities’ customers. Both ElectriCities and the member utilities work closely with companies to help them manage their power usage and keep costs down.