About Us


The Electric Light Department has served the Town of Ipswich for over 120 years.  The first power plant was originally built to pump water into town from Bull Brook.  Not long after, however, the Town voted to establish an electric light system to illuminate the streets. 

Visit our History page to learn more.

Ipswich Power Plant in circa 1900


​The Electric Light Department is governed by the Town’s Select Board acting as Electric Light Commissioners.  The Department is also served by the Electric Subcommittee which is an advisory group that meets nearly every month to discuss topics such as budgets, operations, rate design, and policy.

Visit our Governance page to learn more.
2023 Select Board Members

Benefits of Public Power

As a Public Power Provider the ELD's business model is based on public ownership and local control, a not-for-profit motive, and focus on its customers. 

Public Ownership
Public power utilities are owned by and operated for the
citizens they serve and therefore are accountable to their
local owners.

Local Control
Local, independent regulation and governance gives
utility policymakers greater agility in decision-making
and protects the long-term viability of the utility, while
permitting customer involvement in the process. This
ensures decisions reflect the values of the community.

Nonprofit Operations
Community-owned electric utilities serve only the interest
of their customers, avoiding conflicts between the interests
of shareholders and customers because they are one and
the same. Excess revenues stay in the local community
and are invested in system improvements and utility
reserves, shared with the local government, or returned
to the customer in the form of lower rates. They are not
distributed among outside shareholders, as they are in the
case of for-profit utilities.

Low-Cost Structure
Public power utilities have access to lower cost tax-exempt
financing and generally have stronger credit ratings than
privately owned utilities. Publicly owned utilities may have
more efficient operations and access to less expensive
federal hydro power.

Customer Focused
Community-owned electric utilities are dedicated to
the singular mission of delivering the highest level of
service and value to their customer-owners for the long
term. Public power utilities focus on the specific needs of
customers, including high reliability and lower rates, as well
as local priorities, which may include new technologies,
environmental concerns or advanced communications.