Spy Profile: Hugh Grunden and the Wonder of Easton Utilities

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Just imagine for a moment that Easton Utilities (EU) was a profit-driven corporation with a board of directors and shareholders demanding increasingly higher profit margins every quarter. Under this hypothetical scenario, it’s quite likely your bill for such things like electricity, cable and internet access would at least average or perhaps exceed national market prices to achieve that objective.

And if this formula were applied last year, those charges would have amounted to almost $10.5 million from the pockets of Talbot County customers. In more simple terms, that would be $10.5 million not going to cover family expenses, support local charities, or improve community services.

Thank goodness for local residents, Easton Utilities is not required play that particular game.

As an entity that was created out of the Town of Easton’s desire in 1914 to control utilities and their costs in their community, the only stakeholder that Easton Utilities needs to please is the municipality through the Easton Utilities Commission. And the way EU makes those folks happy is to make sure that their pricing is below average market value and that they apply whatever profit they do make into capital improvements and infrastructure maintenance.

And while Easton Utilities does not have the same requirements that a traditional business might have, it does not mean that EU is not run like a business. In fact, it is regarded by many as one of the most efficient and creatively-led corporations on the Eastern Shore.

It now manages seven companies that include electricity, cable, internet, phone, water, wastewater, and lastly, a new entrepreneurial division called IT Professional Services which monetizes the software EU has developed to manage their divisions by selling it to other utility corporations throughout the United States.

Behind the wheel of this extraordinary organization is CEO Hugh Grunden, who, with 35 years of experience with EU, has led the company to become one the most respected in the industry.

The Spy had the opportunity to chat with this Easton-native about the arch of change during his tenure and how the future looks for utilities a few weeks ago in Easton.

This video is approximately minutes in thirteen minutes in length. For more information about Easton Utilities please go here.

About Dave Wheelan

Letters to Editor

  1. Ann Hymes says:

    I’m sorry not to hear about sustainable sources of electricity and innovation in waste water treatment in the long term, strategic planning. Saving money is nice, but saving the environment is the demand of the moment and requires leadership.

    Thank you, Ann Hymes (St. Michaels)

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