ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc.
Brenda C. Daniels
Manager, Economic Development
“It’s no coincidence that some of the state’s most dynamic growth has occurred in our public power communities. Advanced manufacturing, food processing, metal-working, plastics – any power-intensive industry is going to find significant advantages here.”
ElectriCities is a not-for-profit government service organization representing more than 70 public power communities throughout N.C., S.C., and Va. These cities, towns, and universities operate their own electric distribution systems, illuminating the homes and workplaces of more than 1.2 million customers.
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. “They find all the information they need in one place,” says Brenda Daniels, the organization’s economic development manager.
ElectriCities has further simplified economic development in N.C. by creating the Smart Sites® or S2 program. “Smart Sites is our shovel-ready site qualification program,” Daniels explains. “We go through a very rigorous engineering review on a piece of property before certifying it as a ‘Smart Site.’ Smart Sites are shovel ready for potential new tenants, which saves the company a lot of time and money.”
Thanks to a partnership with the state, an ElectriCities S2 certification rolls into North Carolina’s similar shovel-ready program. Each Smart Site has municipal electric service, water, and sewer access within 500 feet, and is within five miles of an Interstate or Interstate-quality highway. Faster construction, fewer uncertainties, and less risk for companies and site selectors alike. With 18 certified Smart Sites and more in process, Daniels says the team has high hopes for the program’s future.
In addition, ElectriCities offers a certified industrial park dubbed a “Prime Power Park,” which offers 12 MW of on-site backup power generation. Located in the city of Albemarle, the park has direct rail access from Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, qualifying it as a great rail intermodal site. “If a company has a critical operation that can’t risk a power outage, they have a backup available, without spending money to purchase a generator,” Daniels adds.
The Smart Sites and Prime Power Park, like the rate-lowering services to all ElectriCities’ customers, provide ongoing incentives for companies looking for an ideal logistics location.
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.
Companies 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.