City Welcomes New Electric Director
John “Jack” Borsch, Electric Utilities Director for the City of Lake Worth, has only been with the City a month. But he has a clear vision for the department to have a friendly neighborhood mission. A neighborhood utilities department is one that provides personal customer service understanding the unique culture of Lake Worth, and meets not only needs of the residents, but the community as a whole.
“I hope to maintain the public government mentality of personal service, while also recognizing the value of the dollar,” said Borsch.
Understanding that the value of the dollar is important to residents is something that Borsch wants to address. According to Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Lake Worth has the fourth lowest cost of power in the State of Florida, better than larger cities like Orlando, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville.
Competitive? Yes, Lake Worth Electric IS competitive!
The City has come a long way in lowering the electric rates over the past four years. Rates have dropped almost 12% for residential customers.
But Did You Know???
… That there is only a slight difference in price in kilowatts (electric rate) between FPL & Lake Worth? FPL charges 10.9¢ per KwH and Lake Worth charges 11.4¢ per KwH. And interestingly, Lake Worth customers pay less now than they did in 1946 when the rate was 15¢ per KwH!
Meeting the goal of becoming a neighborhood utilities department will require Borsch to draw on his varied and extensive experience working with electric utilities. He has worked in the public and private sector, including municipal government agencies, independent power providers, and profit driven utilities. He hopes to combine the best of each to benefit Lake Worth Electric customers. “While we are competitive, we offer the hometown flavor and provide customer service far and above what a large company can do,” he said.
“I had a conversation with a lady last week. She said, ‘my cost is too high.’ I showed her the independent (FMEA) report, and she said, ‘that’s ok, but my cost is still too high,’” said Borsch.
This is where the “neighborhood” comes in. “Although Lake Worth’s rates are competitive, how can we show this very nice lady where she can lower her electric bill? By education. I offer services and resources to help customers lower their electric bill. I can work with a customer and say ‘You’re using a high number of kilowatts per month because your windows are bad, or your insulation is under-performing.’ Then it’s your choice to pay the higher bill, or to make improvements that will lower the bill.”
According to Borsch, one of the biggest challenges is the confusion created by the utility bill, itself. Although energy costs are competitive, residents often have a difficult time isolating which costs are for which services. Currently, residents receive one bill for electric, water, sewage, and trash collection. Borsch urges residents to take the time to closely examine their itemized bill to determine the source of each of the costs. If a resident wants to compare costs to those of another city, it’s important to isolate each of the line items for a true cost analysis.
That’s not the only improvement that Borsch intends to make. In the short term, residents can expect more ease in paying their bills and tracking their energy usage. There will be more opportunities for customers to pay online. Although digital payment opportunities will be improved, residents will never lose the opportunity to pay their bills in person.
Reliability and response times for electric services have improved over the past four years making Lake Worth Electric one of the best in the State. When a customer’s power does go out – as it will from time to time – neighborhood services take a whole different dimension. Teams are able to respond faster, solving customer problems with a personal touch. “We will continue improving, getting better and better, until we are number one in the State”, says Borsch.
Jack has already made an impression on Lake Worth – his skill sets have identified several hundred thousand dollars of savings for the Electric Utility. His demonstrated abilities in long range planning will serve the City well as the electric department moves forward into the next phase of improved power generation, transmission and delivery.
Jack comes in before the crews arrive and leaves late in the evening. “I am committed to developing a neighborhood oriented utilities. Lake Worth is a small and diverse town that has an exciting and dynamic future.”