SHREWSBURY – If you’ve attended an event in Shrewsbury recently, you’ve likely seen Shrewsbury Electric & Cable Operations (SELCO) there.
SELCO helped the Shrewsbury Cultural Council put art on electrical boxes, attended Spirit of Shrewsbury, offered scholarships, and educated fourth-grade students about electric safety. Moreover, SELCO was there for the Summer Festival, Trunk-or-Treat, and Touch-A-Truck events. In October, SELCO gave the community unprecedented access to the company’s Municipal Drive facility, offering people behind-the-scenes tours.
“We are a reflection of the community. The more we’re at these events, the more we engage with residents, the more our business practices reflect the community’s values. That inherent linkage to the community — it’s strong,” said SELCO General Manager Christopher Roy.
Yet, while SELCO is certainly an excellent “reflection of the community,” the organization’s connection to the community extends further. SELCO is Shrewsbury’s business, and Shrewsbury community members control the institution’s operations.
Whereas other companies seek to earn profit for shareholders, SELCO’s public-ownership model means that the organization can focus on service; revenue is reinvested in the community. Shrewsbury doesn’t need competition to control rates. The residents are in control.
“This model completely aligns the benefactors and investors,” Roy told the Community Advocate. “In the public-power model, the consumers of that energy are the ones that directly benefit from those investments. There’s an inherent accountability there… We answer to residents, not shareholders.”
And SELCO’s local roots allow for more savings and opportunities. SELCO’s money stays local, and the organization is “the single largest financial contributor to the general fund in Shrewsbury.”
SELCO’s cable business funds Shrewsbury Media Connection, giving residents easy access to government meetings, and SELCO itself works with municipal departments to help the government save more money.
With other organizations, customers may have to speak to out-of-town workers who don’t understand town infrastructure, deal with bureaucracy and wait an extended amount of time in emergencies. Not at SELCO. The institution’s localized workforce takes pride in servicing the community.
“There’s the more visible benefits: A localized workforce can respond quicker; they’re more familiar with the infrastructure, which aids in emergency restoration. When minutes count, you really see the difference. Then, that continues into the more difficult categories to quantify, which is the culture. The pride and accountability that a localized workforce has. When you work, live, and shop regularly in the same community, you inherently build that pride. You want to help your neighbor,” Roy said.
This sentiment materializes in a real way in data about SELCO’s reliability and performance.
But SELCO is even more than the warm-and-fuzzy feeling of supporting “local business” and superior reliability: SELCO provides real, substantial savings to the community.
When compared to National Grid or Charter households, typical SELCO households save roughly $1,900 annually ($159 per month). SELCO is less expensive, but it still has the cutting-edge technology consumers expect; the organization uses advanced metering infrastructure, has recently unveiled SmartHub (the new customer-facing portal) and keeps expanding the fiber network into new areas of the town.
“SELCO is an economic engine. The savings that we provide directly translate to everyone’s personal finances. That’s one of the areas where we add a lot of value. By efficiently managing our finances, it enables everyone to have more buying power. It enables general economic prosperity,” Roy said.
SELCO is located within Shrewsbury Town Hall (100 Maple Ave.) with technical
operations based at the institution’s Municipal Drive facility. For more information on
SELCO, feel free to visit https://selco.shrewsburyma.gov/ or call (508) 841-8500.
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