Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

Rochester Public Utilities energy assistance efforts paying off

Friday, June 26th, 2020

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) communication efforts promoting local energy assistance helps to get over $20,000 in assistance for RPU and other utility customers.

RPU actively called customers and promoted the local energy assistance available through Three Rivers Community Action during the month of June. During one day alone, over 100 emails for energy assistance information were answered.

“Local energy assistance is a valuable and necessary program for many customers during this time. We recognized the importance of getting the word out and we took action by engaging many work areas within RPU to help with this effort. RPU employees from the marketing, customer relations, finance/accounting, and communications department all stepped up to reach out to our customers,” said Krista Boston, RPU Director of Customer Relations.

The deadline for applying is July 1. Customers that may benefit from local energy assistance can contact Three Rivers Community Action (www.threeriverscap.org), and for all other payment arrangement or billing questions contact Rochester Public Utilities (www.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 50,000 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 fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.

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City of Rochester Begins Reopening of City Facilities

Monday, June 1st, 2020

https://www.rochestermn.gov/Home/Components/News/News/7776/1121?backlist=%2f

Resources available to Residential customers

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

Households with any unpaid past due balances are eligible to request Crisis funds to pay their past due and current balances. Application requests and requirements can be found through eHEAT and on the Three Rivers website: https://www.threeriverscap.org/energy/energy-assistance.

Olmsted County HUD has been issued a $1,000,000.00 grant that can assist with rent payments.

Email request to: covidrenthelp@co.olmsted.mn.us

Olmsted County Human Services has additional cash, food, health, emergency grants available.  A second round of funds have been granted to assist with emergency needs.  Note: Even if you’ve utilized an emergency grant in the past 12 months, you may qualify for emergency funding again prior to the 12 month anniversary of the previous grant. Call:  507.328.6500

https://www.threeriverscap.org/energy/energy-assistance

Crisis maximum increased!

Starting April 7, 2020, Three Rivers is increasing the Crisis maximum to $1,200. This means, if a household was already notified that they reached the $600 Crisis maximum, they are now eligible to get an additional $600 to help with their past due utility bills.

The household MUST contact Three Rivers to request additional funds and verify your account status.

Seniors may request Crisis with a current bill.

Resources available to Commercial customers

New relief for small businesses NOW AVAILABLE!

1. To determine if business is Critical on by searching by their 4-digit NAICS industry code https://mn.gov/deed/assets/naics-critical-list_tcm1045-424829.pdf

a. find North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) on business tax filings paperwork OR https://www.naics.com/search/

2. The Rochester Area Chamber https://www.rochestermnchamber.com/ Ph# 507.288.1122 Email: chamber@rochestermnchamber.com

3. Rochester Area Economic Development (RAEDI) http://www.raedi.com/doing-business-here/covid-19-resources.php Ph# 507.288.0208, email info@raedi.com

4. City of Rochester / Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) COVID-19 Emergency Economic Development loans https://www.rochestermn.gov/departments/emergency-management/covid-19-emergency-economic-development-and-stability-information

5. SBA Olm County – Southeast Minnesota Small Business Development Center Check eligibility and loan application https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/ OR https://www.sba.gov/size-standards/

SBA Emergency Injury Disaster Loan video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr9e4O15wYk&t=50s

U.S. Small Business Administration Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resource https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) Ph# 507-285-7436 email: DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov

6. DEED: Minnesota small businesses should send questions about this emergency loan program to ELP@state.mn.us a. More info: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/business-exemptions/ b. More info: https://mn.gov/deed/business/financing-business/deed-programs/peacetime/

c. Businesses should apply directly through a certified lender

7. SMIF – Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation https://smifoundation.org/covid-19/

Diane Lewis, Lending Officer: dianel@smifoundation.org | 507-214-7014

Marcia Haley, SBA Lending Director: marciah@smifoundation.org | 507-214-7021

8. COVID-19 Information hotline: 651-201-3920 (Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

9. Updates on actions as directed by the Governor of Minnesota: Gov. Walz website https://mn.gov/governor/news/ 10. MN Chamber of Commerce Tool Kit https://www.mnchamber.com/blog/covid-19-business-toolkit

RPU Tree Trimming Locations

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) will spend nearly $1.4 million this year on proactive tree trimming and vegetation management.  In 2020, RPU plans to do proactive trimming along 17 different feeders.  Within the map, two types of trimming areas are shown, Planned and Proposed.  Planned areas, , will be trimmed in their entirety along the depicted areas.  Proposed areas, , will be trimmed at priority locations within the depicted areas.  

What Customers should know about tree trimming:

  • Safety and system reliability are the reasons for RPU tree trimming.
  • RPU will send a mailing,connect with you in person at your door, or leave a door hanger to affected neighborhoods in order to communicate what work is being done and when.
  • It is important to stay a safe distance away from the coned-off work zones while trimming is being done.
  • All tree trimming should be done by a licensed and certified tree trimming professional.

Follow the link below for a real-time map of RPU tree trimming locations scheduled or currently being trimmed.

RPU tree trimming map

An important message from RPU General Manager Mark Kotschevar

Friday, March 20th, 2020

RPU’s motto is “We Pledge, We Deliver” and our vision is to “Set the Standard for Service.”  As COVID-19 affects our community and as community leaders ramp up our response efforts, it is important for our customers to know that providing safe, reliable, and affordable electricity and water is and will continue to be RPU’s top priority. 

RPU is taking the following specific measures to help the Rochester community persevere through our current challenges:

  • As a department of the City of Rochester, RPU is reviewing and enacting its share of the City’s Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) in close consultation with other City departments and Olmsted County.  This, combined with RPU’s century-plus experience in responding to outages and other disruptions, positions us well to act quickly and efficiently to keep the lights on and the water flowing.
  • We will not disconnect any residential or commercial electric/water customers until further notice.  If you are having difficulty paying your bill, please contact Customer Service at 507-280-1500 and we will arrange a payment plan that works for you.
  • We are maintaining adequate staffing levels at RPU’s generation facilities as well as having electric and water crews available 24 hours a day to respond to immediate customer needs.
  • We are enforcing social distancing directives both inside RPU facilities and in the field.  For those employees who report to work, enhanced cleaning schedules have been enacted to ensure their and your safety.

Customers are encouraged to utilize the RPU Connect app and rpu.org to obtain answers to questions and conduct RPU business, so phone lines can be kept available for persons needing assistance.  In the meantime, we here at RPU will continue working around the clock to provide safe, reliable, and affordable electricity and water to help our community survive and thrive in this uncertain time.

Mark Kotschevar, General Manager

Rochester Public Utilities

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 50,000 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 fuel cell research, wind power, and photovoltaic offerings.

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