ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc.
“We help bring projects to the counties that participate in the Research Triangle Region. Our focus is on keeping cities viable. Job creation and business investment are the way to accomplish that."
- Brenda Daniels, manager of economic development at ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc.
ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc: Power in Numbers
Businesses and residents of 10 communities in the Research Triangle Region count on reliable and affordable electricity from their municipal utility provider. Local governments from Apex to Wilson, in turn, rely on ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc., for customer service and safety training, emergency and technical assistance, communications, government affairs, legal services and more. Through ElectriCities, towns and cities can join together to deliver power on a quality and scale of a large, investor-owned utility.
“We’re a support arm for public power communities,” explains Brenda Daniels, manager of economic development at ElectriCities, a membership organization that assists municipalities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. It also provides management services to North Carolina’s two municipal power agencies: North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1 and North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency.
ElectriCities offers its members the best of both worlds: cutting-edge energy delivery with a community touch. “We bring that local commitment,” says Daniels. Consolidating services also improves administrative efficiency, which yields significant savings that can be passed along to businesses and residents. Working together also means greater convenience and reliability. ElectriCities, for example, operates an Emergency Assistance Program (EAP) that enables municipal power agencies to restore service quickly on those occasions when ice storms, tornadoes and hurricanes knock out electricity, Daniels explains. EAP dispatches repair crews to heavily impacted communities from areas that did not suffer service disruption, speeding recovery from weather-related damage.
ElectriCities, a not-for-profit organization created in the mid-1960s, also offers its member communities a platform for advocacy on legislative and regulatory issues that affect costs, safety and other important considerations. As important, the organization supports job growth and business development in the communities it serves. “In addition to industrial recruitment, we also do retail and commercial recruitment,” says Daniels, who is in her 28th year at ElectriCities.
Given the diversity across its member communities, economic development support from ElectriCities can take any number of forms. It could entail a strategic plan or demographic study, trade show attendance and consultant calls, or help with direct marketing. Daniels and her colleagues tailor their assistance around the specific needs and opportunities each community faces. “A town like Benson, for example, because it’s located at I-40 and I-95, may want to focus on distribution and logistics,” Daniels says. “In Apex, we’re looking at how to encourage more Class A office space.”
Through ElectriCities, municipalities can build more visibility with global location advisors and industrial realtors. “We make sure we have all the consultants up to date on available properties and assets in our communities,” Daniels says. In addition to being in close touch with business recruiters at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, ElectriCities collaborates with the Research Triangle Regional Partnership and its member counties at trade shows, consultant outreach missions and marketing events. “We help bring projects to the counties that participate in the Research Triangle Region,” she says. The organization publishes a quarterly newsletter called Developments, which is distributed to county, regional and state allies, as well as about 500 consultants. Its newly redesigned economic development website went live earlier this year.
Daniels is on the board of directors of the North Carolina Economic Developers Association (NCEDA) and is active in the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) and the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC), on whose marketing committee she serves. In helping members attract and retain companies and industries, ElectriCities invests in job growth and the long-term fiscal health of the communities it serves. “Our focus is on keeping cities viable,” Daniels says. “Job creation and business investment are the way to accomplish that.”