Across the country, cities are showing a renewed interest in taking over the electricity business from private utilities, reflecting intensifying concerns about climate change, responses to power disruptions and a desire to pump more renewable energy into the grid.
... [G]overnment-owned utilities, most of them formed 50 to 100 years ago, are nonprofit entities that do not answer to shareholders. They have access to tax-exempt financing for their projects, they do not pay federal income tax and they tend to pay their executives salaries that are on par with government levels, rather than higher corporate rates.
That financial structure can help municipal utilities supply cheaper electricity.
Seattle City Light isn't perfect, but it provides residents and businesses with some of the lowest, most stable rates in the nation, with more than 96 percent of its power generated with zero greenhouse gas emissions. It's hard to overstate the huge economic advantage city-owned City Light has bestowed on Seattle: "Electrical power represents the main energy cost for most businesses," notes the pro-business Washington Roundtable.