Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Things to note if you are planning to visit the RPU Service Center

We are continuing to recommend that all possible customer interaction with RPU be electronic or over the phone at this time. If you must visit the RPU Service Center, please be aware of our lobby changes and in-person requirements.

The RPU Service Center lobby hours are now Monday-Friday 8am-4p. RPU Customer Relations staff are available on the phone (507.280.1500) Monday-Friday 8a-5p to help customers with their RPU needs.

RPU staff are working safely at the Service Center and from home, depending on their job and remote capabilities. This time has certainly been a test of creative teamwork and how to maximize resources remotely. The great thing is that RPU employees want to embrace new ways to work as a team to ensure that we are meeting and exceeding the expectations of our customers.   

Please pay attention to our social distancing measures in place.
Please note the window signage with safety messaging before entering the RPU Service Center.
The RPU Service Center lobby has been updated to ensure safety for RPU employees and visitors.

Posted: Jul 30, 2020 by Tony B | Comments (0)

2021 Lake Zumbro Dam Fall Drawdown

The fall drawdown of Lake Zumbro is scheduled to begin on October 31st. The drawdown is necessary for planned maintenance and shoreline restoration work.  The public should be aware that the drawdown planned for this fall will be substantially greater than normal.  A typical fall drawdown is less than two feet; whereas this year a four foot drawdown will be attempted.  These plans are subject to change depending on rainfall and resulting runoff.  RPU’s drawdown plan is as follows:

The drawdown plan is subject to change depending on weather conditions.

During the months of November through March, Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) will attempt to maintain the lake level at the winter pool of 913.0 MSL.

Real-time lake level information, along with Lake Zumbro hydro updates are available on the RPU web site (www.rpu.org). For additional information regarding the Zumbro Hydroelectric Facility please contact Tony Benson at (507) 280-1534.

Tips for lake ice safety:

Be extremely careful during winter activities that involve Lake Zumbro such as ice fishing, snowmobiling or just walking out on the frozen lake.

Watch the weather and river flow conditions.

Ice thickness and condition can vary greatly. Be very cautious.

Look out for ice heaves and exposed logs and snags.

Be cautious in the vicinity of the dam. De-icing equipment has been installed along the upstream face of the dam resulting in open water and/or thin ice.

Do not proceed past the warning signs and buoys.

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 47,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 36,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 56,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 40,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include photovoltaic offerings, wind energy, energy and water efficient equipment, and electric vehicle charging.

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Posted: Oct 06, 2021 by Tony B | Comments (0)

RPU Celebrates Public Power Week October 3-9

Rochester Public Utilities is celebrating Public Power Week, Oct. 3-9, along with more than 2,000 other community-powered, not-for-profit electric utilities that collectively provide electricity to 49 million Americans.

“This year, we especially celebrate the employees of RPU, the people behind public power,”said Mark Kotschevar, RPU General Manager.  “These folks work tirelessly to keep ourcommunity up and running 24 hours a day seven days a week,” said Kotschevar. “Our dedicated teammates work in many departments including customer care, safety, accounting and finance, communications, field supervision, energy services, and engineering and operations; and pull together with a common goal: keeping Rochester powered.”

“The people behind public power take pride in serving our friends and neighbors with safe, reliable electricity and water services, our most essential needs,” said Kotschevar. “RPU is proud to have served Rochester for over 120 years.”

RPU invites community members to participate in celebrating Public Power Week by visiting the RPU Service Center where kids will receive an RPU Halloween bag with candy and fun activities associated with safety and public power (while supplies last).

About The Public Power Association

Public Power Week is an annual national observance coordinated by the American Public Power
Association. The American Public Power Association is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. The Association represents public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million people that public power utilities serve, and the 93,000 people they employ. It advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations. Its members strengthen their communities by providing superior service, engaging citizens, and instilling pride in community-owned power. More at www.PublicPower.org

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 56,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 40,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include photovoltaic offerings, wind energy, energy and water efficient equipment, and electric vehicle charging.

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Posted: Oct 04, 2021 by Tony B | Comments (0)

RPU Proposed Rate Increase for 2022

On August 31 2021, the RPU Utility Board directed staff to give public notice of the proposed increase to general electric rates and general water rates for 2022 by 2.5% (3.5% for residential electric customers) in the paper of record. 

Changes in the electric rates will result in an average monthly increase of $2.29 for the average residential customer.

Changes in the water rates will result in an increase of $0.57 for the average residential water customer. 

Public comment on the proposed rates will be taken at the September 28, 2021, and October 26, 2021 RPU Board Meetings prior to the Board voting on the proposed budget and rate increase. If approved, the Board will recommend approval by the City Council which is currently scheduled on December 6, 2021.

Please contact Tony Benson at 507-280-1534 or email at tbenson@rpu.org.

See full notification below:

Posted: Sep 01, 2021 by Tony B | Comments (0)

RPU to host virtual public meeting on proposed electric utility substation

ROCHESTER, MN – Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) will be hosting a virtual public meeting on a proposed electric utility substation on Wednesday, September 1 at 5:30pm.

The virtual public meeting will lay out details of the proposed substation along Marion Road SE and will provide an opportunity for community members to ask questions or to voice comments on the proposed project.

The proposed substation will enhance RPU’s ability to provide quality electric power to neighborhoods and businesses in central and southeast Rochester. The area of service will generally span from 11th Avenue southeast to 50th Avenue, and from 4th Street SE to Hwy. 52. Businesses and Mayo facilities in downtown Rochester will also be served from the new substation.

The meeting link and call-in phone number will be made available on the RPU home page on the blue callout banner, as well as on the RPU blog listing.

Click here for link to meeting

Full link display- https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_NjkxN2IzNzQtYjRhOC00OTY3LWJkNTQtYzJiMDM1NjhmOTI3%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22cb27df39-77b0-4068-b566-20ba44fa9279%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22bdb3919c-585b-4c09-918f-6b92d8d70937%22%7d

Phone number to meeting- (audio only) 1 347-352-4853 Phone Conference ID: 676 160 928#

Additional communication was sent directly to residents and businesses in the immediate vicinity of the proposed substation location.

For more information, please contact Tony Benson at 507-280-1534 or email at tbenson@rpu.org.

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 110 years, RPU provides high-quality and reliable electricity to over 56,000 customers.  Water customers number more than 40,000.  RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive.  Current initiatives include photovoltaic offerings, wind energy, energy and water efficient equipment, and electric vehicle charging.

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Posted: Aug 25, 2021 by Tony B | Comments (0)

Masks required in City-operated buildings effective August 6, 2021

Effective tomorrow, Friday, August 6, 2021, all City of Rochester teammates and visitors will be required to wear facial coverings in city-operated facilities, regardless of their vaccination status. This requirement is going into effect because Olmsted County is classified as a county with substantial community transmission of COVID-19. Once counties reach that threshold, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Minnesota Department of Health, and Olmsted County Public Health recommend that face coverings be worn in indoor, public settings by all individuals – vaccinated or not.

The requirement to mask in City facilities will be in place until further notice. The City of Rochester will continue to work with community partners as we monitor and adjust our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City of Rochester highly recommends all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor, public settings in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Vaccines that protect against COVID-19 are widely available through medical providers and pharmacies. Individuals 12 and older can find vaccine availability at https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine/locations/index.jsp. The vaccine is still highly effective against COVID-19 and dramatically reduces hospitalizations and death. However, the Delta variant spreads very easily, and in rare cases, vaccinated people can transmit the virus even if they do not have symptoms.

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Posted: Aug 06, 2021 by Tony B | Comments (0)