Utilities

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The City of Palo Alto is proud to offer residents and businesses a full suite of City-owned and operated utility services including electricity, natural gas, water, sanitary sewer, and commercial fiber optic services. Director Dean Batchelor welcomes you on behalf of all City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) employees. We have been providing quality services to the citizens and businesses of Palo Alto since 1896.

Our mission statement is to provide safe, reliable, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective services. Staff are available to answer your service questions and look forward to assisting you with all your utility needs.

View Utilities Workshops and Meetings

 

Utilities Director Dean Batchelor welcomes you on behalf of all City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) employees. Palo Alto is the only city in California that owns and operates a full suite of municipal utility services, including electric, fiber optics, natural gas, water and wastewater. We have been providing quality services to the citizens and businesses of Palo Alto since 1896.

We work hard to provide you with services that are competitively priced, highly reliable, safely delivered and sustainably produced. As a public utility customer, you can take pride in knowing that you benefit from local policy control, fair and competitive rates, well-maintained infrastructure and caring customer service. CPAU is owned by the people we serve — you! Important decisions are made locally, by your elected officials.

Our mission statement:  to provide safe, reliable, environmentally sustainable and cost effective services.

Learn more about CPAU's Strategic Direction, Values and Priority focus areas:

The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) history began over one hundred years ago, in 1896, when the water supply system was first installed.  Two years later, the wastewater or sewer collection system came on line in 1898.  In 1900, the municipal electric power system began operation, followed in 1917 by a natural gas distribution system.  Palo Alto is the only city in California to own and operate six essential utility services, including refuse and storm drain (operated out of Public Works). In 1996, Palo Alto ventured into a new endeavor with the construction of its dark fiber loop.

Early Beginnings

A Walk Through Time

Looking Forward

Origins 

It was the forward thinking of two Stanford University professors, Charles "Daddy" Marx and Charles Benjamin Wing, who were largely responsible for the emergence of the municipally owned utility service in Palo Alto.  Marx and Wing argued that the City could provide utility service at rates significantly below those charged by private companies.  One of the founding principles of those early pioneers was that the utilities must show a financial return to the community.  This has continued to be a priority.  In the most recent fiscal year, the electric and gas utilities provided millions in financial support to community services such as libraries, parks, police and fire protection.  These contributions to the community do not occur in areas served by private power companies.  This makes Palo Alto a unique place to live and work.

 

Date

Organization Giving Award or Recognition

Person/Program Receiving Award or Recognition

Title and Description of Award or Recognition

 2021 American Public Power Association (APPA) City of Palo Alto Utilities Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) for industry-recognized leading practices in reliability & safety
2019 American Public Power Association (APPA) City of Palo Alto Utilities Smart Energy Provider Award
2019
American Public Power Association (APPA) City of Palo Alto Utilities Energy Innovator Award for the Home Efficiency Genie

 

2019

American Public Power Association (APPA)

City of Palo Alto Utilities

Reliable Public Power Provider -Utility designation for providing reliable and safe service
2019

Arbor Day Foundation

City of Palo Alto

Tree Line USA Utility - In recognition of quality tree care, annual worker training, tree planting, and public education

 

2018
National Research Center and International City/County Management Association (ICMA)

City of Palo Alto

Voice of the People Award for Excellence in Natural Environment

2018 American Public Power Association (APPA) City of Palo Alto Utilities Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) “Diamond” level – the highest honor - for proficiency, sound business practices, and a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity, system improvement, energy efficiency and workforce development.
2018 Arbor Day Foundation City of Palo Alto Utilities Tree Line USA Utility – In recognition of quality tree care, annual worker training, tree planting and public education.

2017

Institute for Local Government

City of Palo Alto

2017 Platinum Level Beacon Award Winner

2017 Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) City of Palo Alto Utilities First place for Watts-per-Customer installed in 2016. Fourth time on Top Ten list of utilities integrating the most solar onto the grid.

2016

Moody's

City of Palo Alto Water Enterprise

Moody's upgraded the City's Water Enterprise bond rating from Aa2 to Aa1, a rare event for water operations.

2016

Solar Electric Power Association

City of Palo Alto Utilities

Top Ten list of utilities that integrated the most solar into the grid. #3 on the Watts-per-Customer list for 2015.

2016

Arbor Day Foundation

City of Palo Alto Utilities

Tree Line USA Utility - In recognition of quality tree care, annual worker training, tree planting, and public education

2015

Arbor Day Foundation

City of Palo Alto Utilities

Tree Line USA Utility - In recognition of quality tree care, annual worker training, tree planting, and public education

2015

Acterra

City of Palo Alto

Sustainability Award