Most homeowners have a simple relationship with their local utility: a bill comes in the mail each month and they pay it. The lights come on and their appliances work.
But these everyday conveniences are predominately taken for granted. Utility customers rarely stop to think about the importance of reliable, affordable energy in their daily lives. Local electric and gas companies literally provide the fuel for much of what makes our lives what they are today – light at night, warmth in the winter, relief from summer heat, and the tools with which we stay closely connected with our families and friends, even if thousands of miles apart.
In our communities, utilities power our schools, move public transportation, and empower businesses – both new and old – to develop and grow their trade both locally and beyond. Local utilities are often heavily involved in their communities, sponsoring arts, culture and educational programs that we all benefit from.
Utilities also mean jobs. Jobs for their office staffs behind the scenes and the skilled men and women who show up on-site, in rain, snow, or shine, to fix utility infrastructure in the rare instances where service is interrupted. These jobs also support everything from the vehicle and equipment manufacturers and dealers, to the coffee shop and diner proprietors that ensure that feed them when they are on the job. Utilities support every layer of local economic development, pure and simple.
America benefits immensely from our utility providers, who are investing every day in new and better technology to improve their service delivery and environmental footprint. They are the backbone of our economy and we literally can’t live without them.
Marty Durbin is president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute (GEI).