Ocala Electric Utility earns FEMA award
The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) recently recognized Ocala Electric Utility (OEU) with a Building Strong Communities award for offering the community additional services and programs beyond those normally supplied.
Winners are selected for programs that include environmental improvement, community education, public safety, charitable donations and sponsorships, and other special services, such as lighting ball fields and playgrounds, parade and festival participation, and building car and phone charging stations.
Efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic also were recognized. Public power utilities across the state suspended disconnects for unpaid bills, waived late and reconnection fees, and offered payment assistance plans to help customers financially impacted by the pandemic. To support customers who faced financial hardships due to COVID-19, the City of Ocala suspended service disconnection over the summer and OEU provided $75,000 to assist customers who were behind on the electric portion of the municipal services statement.
Florida’s 33 public power utilities are the third-largest electric provider in the state and serve 14 percent of Florida’s customers. OEU serves more than 55,000 customers. A city news release states that OEU invests in public education and outreach to communicate the benefits of public power, is driven by public service and is committed to building a strong and sustainable community by supporting essential services such as parks, public safety, roads and more.
OEU was announced as an award recipient Nov. 2 during the FMEA Energy Connections Virtual Conference and joined 21 other Florida public power communities in receiving the award.
“We commend Ocala Electric Utility for everything they have done to positively impact the lives of their families, friends and neighbors, especially in a year that has been everything but normal. We thank all the recipients for doing what they do best by putting the community they serve first,” said FMEA Executive Director Amy Zubaly.