Hometown Connections Prepares for Next Phase of Service to Public Power, By Tim Blodgett, President & CEO, Hometown Connections, Inc.
Celebrating 20 years of service to public power, Hometown Connections has in place a new ownership structure providing the resources to expand into managed technology solutions and other new services. Hometown Connections is poised to help public power utilities tackle their most pressing technology, workforce, and management challenges far into the future. Back in 1998, the American Public Power Association created a subsidiary—Hometown Connections International LLC—to negotiate with industry vendors as a group and prepare community-owned utilities for retail customer competition. The retail market did not evolve as expected, but Hometown Connections continued to work with leading industry vendors to create pricing and programs designed to improve the performance of public power utilities. Along the way, Hometown developed an expanding set of utility management strategic planning and organizational consulting services delivered by staff members and industry partners.
During our first 20 years of service to public power, Hometown provided products and services to more than 900 public power organizations and saved public power more than $18 million collectively through group discount programs.
In June 2018, to create an organization with the ability to address today’s new and pressing industry challenges, Hometown Connections, International LLC became Hometown Connections, Inc. Formed jointly by five public power joint action agencies and no longer a subsidiary of the Association, the new Hometown Connections, Inc., is a national non-profit utility services organization offering public power utilities guidance and access to quality products/services from a trusted entity with public power’s best interests in mind. The new Hometown Connections will have the financial and personnel resources to expand into critical areas such as advanced metering as a managed solution for public power systems unable to invest in AMI individually.
Working for Public Power
The primary purpose of Hometown Connections remains unchanged—to help public power utilities obtain the products/services they need to survive and thrive in an ever-changing electric utility marketplace.
Hometown Connections believes in preserving the benefits of living and working in communities where local citizens control the pricing and operation of their electric, gas, water, and wastewater services. Hometown Connections is a resource to public power systems large and small, facilitating access to technology, services, and other solutions from industry-leading companies.
The products and services offered through Hometown Connections include a full range of advanced grid solutions, as well as consulting support in the areas of organization assessment, strategic planning, governance development, customer service, market research, and staffing. See our complete list of products and services. By working closely with 14 vendor companies and fostering cooperative relationships among them, Hometown develops integrated solutions for public power.
Hometown Connections communicates with public power utilities nationally with the continuing support of the American Public Power Association and regionally through a network of affiliated joint action agencies, state associations, and former public power executives. The Hometown network of relationships in 36 states reaches 85% of all public power utilities and 83% of public power retail customers.
Hometown Connections Network
- Alabama Municipal Electric Auth.
- American Municipal Power, Inc.
- Electric Cities of Georgia
- ElectriCities of North Carolina
- Energy Northwest
- Florida Municipal Electric Assoc.
- Illinois Municipal Electric Agency
- Indiana Municipal Electric Assoc.
- Indiana Municipal Power Agency
- Kentucky Municipal Utilities Assoc
- Michigan Municipal Electric Assoc.
- Minnesota Municipal Electric Assoc.
- Missouri Public Utility Alliance
- Missouri River Energy Services
- Mun. Electric Systems of Oklahoma
- Nebraska Municipal Power Pool
- Northern California Power Agency
- Oklahoma Municipal Power Auth.
- Piedmont Mun. Power Agency
- Southern Minn. Mun. Power Agency
- Tenn. Mun. Electric Power Assoc.
- Texas Public Power Association
- Vermont Public Power Supply Auth.#
- Phyllis E. Currie—California
- Thomas E. Nanney—Tennessee
- Paul H. Allen, P.E.—Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) Consultant
Full Speed Ahead
Each public power utility must tackle today’s industry challenges and make plans for a viable future. Change has never been more prevalent—regulatory, technological, financial, and workforce changes are putting great pressure on utilities. Staff is retiring faster than replacements can be hired. Technologies to boost reliability and efficiency are expensive to deploy. Customers expect instant access to account information and service status. Cyber and physical security threats loom. Too many public power systems risk being left behind. Hometown Connections is designing new services and programs to help public power utilities address their most pressing needs.
In the months ahead, we will share information about new and exciting services from Hometown Connections. We are focused on the benefits of joint action in public power, through which utilities band together to acquire the support they need.
As it has been for 20 years and will be far into the future, it’s an honor and privilege for Hometown Connections to be owned by and serve public power.
Tim Blodgett is President & CEO of Hometown Connections, Inc. He joined Hometown in 1998 and has worked with many public power utilities in the areas of strategic consulting and board development with an emphasis on continuous improvement. He is a frequent speaker at industry forums on trends in public power, the benefits of long-term planning, and effective utility governance.