Industry Challenges


Numerous challenges will confront public power in the coming years. Some of these challenges include:

  • For more than 100 years, access to tax-exempt financing has been a cornerstone of the public power business model.  APPA is working to protect this important resource.
  • The federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) provide millions of Americans served by public power and rural cooperative electric utilities with low-cost hydroelectric power produced at federal dams.  APPA is engaged at the federal level to maintain the PMA’s existing framework.
  • The electric utility industry if facing a host of clean air, water and waste regulations.  Individually, each of these is likely to cost the industry billions of dollars, but when they all converge over the next few years, public power utilities will be facing unprecedented costs and management challenges.  APPA is working to minimize the adverse impacts of these regulations on its members.
  • Advancements in communications and information technologies have provided the electric utility industry with an ever-increasing supply of tools to make the electric grid “smarter.” These technologies promise benefits such as improved response to power demand, more intelligent management of outages, storage of electricity, and better integration of renewable energy.  APPA is working to keep its members educated and informed on the benefits and challenges associated with new grid technologies.
  • Recent data suggests that the public power workforce may be threatened by a wave of retirements affecting both skilled and professional positions.  APPA is working to provide education and information resources to help utilities navigate this unprecedented workforce challenge.