ORLANDO – The history of OUC – The Reliable One recorded another memorable milestone as Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer gave special recognition to June 26, 2023, declaring it “OUC 100th Anniversary Day” in a City Hall ceremony.
“In Orlando we’re very fortunate to have a municipally owned utility that is truly part of our community. OUC has always been focused on serving residents and businesses and is an active participant in efforts to ensure that Orlando is a great place to live, work and visit,” Mayor Dyer said in his opening remarks. “I want to thank OUC’s employees, both past and present, for their commitment to serving the community and helping OUC become The Reliable One and The Sustainable One.”
Reading from a proclamation, Mayor Dyer, who is a member of OUC’s Board of Commissioners, mentioned significant highlights in the hometown utility’s legacy, including June 19, 2023, the date OUC was officially established, and the 2020 pledge to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Also recognized were OUC’s contributions to the community through employee volunteerism, customer assistance programs, conservation initiatives, neighborhood revitalization projects, and support for the arts and cultural events.
In declaring June 26, 2023, “OUC 100th Anniversary Day,” the proclamation stated: “The City of Orlando is proud to join in OUC’s centennial commemoration, celebrating its past and also turning our community’s attention to its future – another century as The Reliable One.”
Following the mayor’s announcement, OUC Board President Britta Gross remarked on OUC’s success in reaching a summit that few companies live to see.
“It’s so uncommon that there’s not a lot of data around it, but the prevailing theory is that about half a percent – that’s zero-point-five-percent – of companies last 100 years,” she said.
Gross shared some significant moments in OUC’s past, such as the utility’s gift of the Lake Eola Fountain and its decision to pump water from the Florida aquifer, both happening in 1957. In 1993, OUC tested an electric vehicle (EV) outfitted with solar panels, spurring the utility’s interest in transportation electrification. 1997 saw the opening of the first of seven chilled water plants, and in 2022 construction began on the first-net zero energy campus in Florida to be built for a utility, the St. Cloud Operations & Maintenance Center.
As a second-generation employee of OUC, Clint Bullock, General Manager & CEO, said he has a unique perspective of the utility’s transformation over the years.
“It’s somewhat surreal to be here today celebrating a century of reliability,” said Bullock. “While I have worked at OUC for 34 years, I am the son of a former OUC lineman, which means I have grown alongside the utility and our community for more than half of the 100 years we are recognizing.”
Bullock praised the relationship OUC and the City of Orlando have forged and called attention to a few key projects the partnership made possible. Projects highlighted include LYNX’s adoption of electric buses, the 2030 Solar Pledge offered to commercial customers, and the construction of an EV charging infrastructure that supports more than 400 chargers and the Robinson Recharge Mobility Hub.
“By working together, we have been able to improve the lives of those we serve today and those we will serve for generations to come,” said Bullock.