‘Conway, a public power community’

Bret Carroll, Conway Corp CEO.

by Bret Carroll

Conway Corp CEO

This month, Conway Corp was proud to host American Public Power Association President and CEO Sue Kelly. Named one of the most 100 powerful women in Washington D.C., Sue leads APPA’s efforts with more than 2,000 other community-owned, not-for-profit electric utilities across the country that collectively provide electricity to more than 49 million Americans. 

Sue spoke to a group of business leaders at the Women in Business Awards Luncheon hosted by the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and toured the city, including the Conway Corporation Center for Sciences at the University of Central Arkansas. 

Sue is a champion of public power and during her tenure at APPA has worked to help local public power providers put people first by keeping rates low, investing in local communities and providing hometown jobs.

As one of 15 public power providers in the state and one of 2,000 across the nation, Conway Corp is special. We have operated alongside our customers in Conway since 1929. We not only work for Conway, we are Conway. Knowing our community and its needs helps us keep homes, businesses and public places powered year-round. Our service is safe, reliable and affordable, and we take pride in serving our friends and neighbors. 

Conway benefits from public power, including affordable energy costs, superior service, local control and reinvestment in the community. Local needs are considered when decisions are made about rates and services, power generation and green alternatives. Plus, public power revenues are reinvested into community programs and projects that are for the common good. 

Reliability is among our highest priorities. Our crews work tirelessly to keep the power on and restore it quickly when outages occur. Through continued training and ongoing preventative maintenance, we are prepared to act quickly and safely to restore power to Conway. We are the only utility in the state to be designated a platinum-level Reliable Public Power Provider by the American Public Power Association for demonstrating high proficiency in reliability, safety, work force development and system improvement. Plus, our employees are dedicated and passionate about this community because it’s where they live too. 

As a public power provider, we also benefit from mutual aid agreements with other providers. Recently, our crews have helped restore power in North Little Rock and Florida. Should a large outage occur, similar crews would travel to Conway to help restore power for our customers. 

We focus on providing affordable electric rates, and on a national average, our rates are lower than industry competitors, saving money for citizens and businesses. We also consistently have the lowest residential rates in the state of Arkansas. Lower rates mean citizens have more available to spend on other goods and services which boosts the local economy. 

We aren’t motivated by profits to sell more power, so we also provide energy efficiency programs like energy audits and zero percent interest loans to benefit customers. Our revenues are reinvested into maintaining and upgrading our system’s substations, distribution lines and more so we’re able to safely deliver low-cost, reliable electricity. Keeping energy costs affordable serves our community’s long-term needs – and that’s what public power is all about.

Conway Corp exists to serve the residents of Conway. We provide friendly service to walk-in customers. Customers can also call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and be connected to a customer service representative who is a local member of the community. We are responsive to customers’ needs and concerns and make customer service a priority. 

In addition, recent data shows we keep the lights on 99.99 percent of the time, but when an outage does occur, we restore power quickly and efficiently because we’re located in the community we serve. On average, public power customers get electricity restored after an outage 74 minutes sooner than non-public power users. We live here and have a vested interest in getting service restored as quickly and safely as possible. We’re accountable to our friends, neighbors and families.

Conway Corp is dedicated to exceeding our customers’ expectations in producing and delivering safe, affordable, reliable, innovative and environmentally-sound utility and telecommunication services while enhancing the quality of life in our community. We believe in enhancing our city through community projects and educational opportunities. We were founded to support area education, and today we provide technology, scholarships and more to our local schools and colleges. We invest in the community because we are the community. 

We’re invested in Conway, and so are our employees. We employ more than 250 local individuals who serve on local boards, participate with local charities, coach local youth sports teams and more. Recently, Conway Corp employees collectively donated more than $35,000 to United Way. In addition, employees hold an annual food drive for a local charity each year and participate in the Angel Tree program. 

As a public power utility, our loyalty is to our customers and our community. Public power is an American tradition that works, and we thank you for your support and for allowing us to serve you since 1929. 

Conway Corp recently hosted Sue Kelly, president and chief executive officer of the American Public Power Association. Her tour of the city included a visit to Hendrix College, where she learned of the nearly nine decade relationship between the college and Conway Corp. On hand for the visit were Conway Corp Assistant to CEO Bill Bethea (from left), Conway Corp CEO Bret Carroll, APPA President and CEO Sue Kelly and Hendrix College President Bill Tsutsui.