Hamilton is a city that is totally self-propelled.
IN THE STATE of Ohio, Hamilton is the only city that fully operates all four major utilities thanks to a long history of community leaders advocating for these services. Through our community-owned utilities, the City can invest in its future while simultaneously taking care of the needs of the citizens. From the world’s best-tasting water to our reliable electricity grid and everything in between, Hamilton is in a league of its own with utilities.
“It’s not just the fact your lights turn on,” said Bill Hudson, Hamilton’s Director of Utility Operations. “It’s our team's work that takes power from our power plants to the grid, and from the grid to your homes.”
It’s every step along the way, and Hamilton has it covered.
“We have more than 200 people who work to make sure that our infrastructure is running how it should be running,” said Hudson. “And they’re only focused on our 22 square mile footprint.”
Even further, it doesn’t just benefit the homes of citizens, it benefits the companies that choose to set up shop here.
“There are companies here in Hamilton that wouldn’t be in Hamilton if it wasn't for our utilities,” said Hudson. “And one reason for that is our stable rates and reliability across the board.”
Over a century ago Hamilton invested in its future when it first created the foundation for our utilities. It’s doing the same now, with its hydroelectric plants along the Ohio River.
“We are a majority partner alongside 47 other communities in the Meldahl and Greenup hydroelectric plants,” said Hudson. “Hydro offers a lot of production price stability. As public institutions, we aren’t going anywhere and hydro offers one of the best long term returns. Our energy rates will be much more stable now because all we have to do is maintain the facility. After all, the water is free.”
It’s not just the hydro power that benefits Hamilton residents and businesses alike. It’s how reliable our utilities have become. The Department of Infrastructure constantly stresses its ability to be reliable. It’s for these efforts that Hamilton was recognized by the American Public Power Association, as they were awarded the E.F. Scattergood System Achievement Award in 2022.
“We’re very reliable because we proactively invest in our infrastructure,” said Hudson. “We are trimming trees around power lines, putting linings in our sanity sewer, and updating our transmission equipment.”
Having reliable utilities is a humongous deal for residents, sure. But for industries, it’s even more so. For certain companies in Hamilton, if they lose power for just a second, it could take two hours to restart production, simply because a disruption could compound problems.
“We understand that reliable service is critical for our customers, we put the work in, we have seen the results, and for our efforts we have won a number of awards,” said Hudson. “That is something we can tout when someone is looking to open a business in Hamilton. We can’t promise the power will be on tomorrow, but generally speaking, the power is on 99.99 percent of the time for our customers.”
As the lone city in the buckeye state that provides all four major utilities to its citizens, Hamilton doesn’t rest on that fact. The City is constantly investing in the future, recognizing that the quality and reliability of the City’s infrastructure will benefit citizens and businesses for decades to come.
This story is a part of a collaboration between the Hamiltonian and City of Hamilton for their 2023 annual report. You can view the whole issue of this report here: