Public Power

As a resident of Owensboro you live in a public power community, which means you own your electric, water, and telecommunications utility. It means you benefit from affordable and reliable services, a customer-focused philosophy, and a utility that cares about the overall well-being and growth of your community.

Public power utilities are:

  • Not for profit
  • Community-owned
  • Locally-controlled

For more than 120 years, OMU has provided quality and reliable utility services to our community. Being local means we are always just a phone-call away.

The Advantages of Public Power

Local Decision Making

Decisions about your water, electric and telecommunications services are made by a local board appointed by the Mayor and City Commission. The Utility Commission is comprised of OMU customers representing you, and makes decisions in the interest of customers and our community. Utility Commission meetings are open to the public.

Locally Established Rates

Rates are set by the Utility Commission and the City Commission.
As a not-for-profit utility, OMU – like other public utilities across the nation – only charges for the actual cost of providing these services to you. We don’t make a profit or pay shareholders.

In 2019 OMU announced its plans to decrease rates each year over the next five years. As part of this plan, although it was a difficult decision, we closed our coal-fired power-generating plant, the Elmer Smith Station. This enabled OMU – along with debt restructuring and other financial measures – to stabilize rates, in the best interest of customers.

Customer Focused

As a customer-owned utility, OMU is customer-focused. We ask for input from our customers and use that information to consider and develop policies and practices. Monthly telephone surveys allow us to collect valuable data to help in that process. As a result, OMU received a 92% satisfaction rating from our community last year.

More Reliable

Public power utilities deliver more reliable electric service. For providing reliable and safe electric service, OMU received the Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) Diamond designation from the American Public Power Association. This designation is the highest RP3 honor bestowed.

Supporting our Local Economy

Nationally, public power utilities generate more than $58 billion in annual revenue and invest more than $2 billion annually directly back into the community. Public power utilities invest this revenue back into their communities through payments in lieu of taxes, providing hometown jobs, offering free or reduced cost electric services, and supporting local causes and charities.

OMU provides a dividend and services each year totaling around $9.9 million to the City of Owensboro. These services include, but are not limited to, street and traffic light maintenance, fire hydrant maintenance, and utility services for city-owned facilities.

Public power utilities employ people in hometown jobs. Owensboro Municipal Utilities is a major employer in Owensboro, providing 175 local jobs.

Invested in Community

Because we are your local utility and our employees live here, OMU is deeply involved in our community. We provide support to numerous local agencies and organizations, including United Way. As a result of our culture of serving our community, OMU employees generously donate their time, money and expertise to local churches, non-profits, youth sports teams, and other community groups.

Focused on Safety

The safety of our community and our employees is the number one priority at OMU. Most recently we celebrated safety milestones including:

  • In Calendar Year 2021, OMU employees experience NO lost time accidents.
  • In Fiscal Year 2021, OMU had the lowest safety metrics reported in over 15 years.
  • OMU employees earned the Governor’s Safety Award when it reached 577,992 hours worked without a lost time accident (between October 2018 and February 2020)
  • OMU has a better-than-industry average Workers Compensation Experience Modification factor