Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for the ‘Budget’ Category

RPU staff to present 2011 budget proposal with no rate increase for electric and water utility for the second straight year

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) staff will present the 2011 budget proposal to the RPU Board with a recommendation of no rate increase for the electric or water utility for the second straight year. The RPU Board will hear the budget proposal at the October 26 board meeting and will take action on the budget at a special board meeting on November 9.

 

“We believe a zero percent rate increase during this continued difficult economic time is a clear message of our commitment to our customers. Because of the continued dedication of our employees, we will be able to maintain our current budget levels without compromising our core values of safety and reliability in our service,” said RPU general manager Larry Koshire.

 

RPU is committed to being fiscally sound during the continued tough economic times. However, keeping budget levels flat over the last two years has proven to be challenging due to increased operating costs. Some of the key items that will put pressure on the 2011 budget include:

 

       Purchased power costs continue to be the single largest expenditure. The purchased power expense will be approximately $90 million, which accounts for 68 percent of the total operating budget in 2011.

       Lack of demand in the Midwest Independent System Operators (MISO) energy market, where local generation from RPU could be sold

       Increase in costs for necessary items such as utility poles, wire, pipes, and equipment

 

In order to sustain the reductions from the 2009 and 2010 budgets, RPU staff has worked diligently to ensure that reductions were made in places that will not compromise certain core pieces of RPU’s business. Some of the areas that were addressed include:

 

       No FTE increases and unfilled positions will be evaluated and will be held open

       Reductions in facility maintenance and construction has been made

       Deferring capital projects where applicable

 

The RPU Board will act on the proposed electric and water budgets at a special November Board Meeting on Tuesday, November 9 at 4 p.m. at the RPU Service Center. Final budget approval will come from the Rochester City Council on November 15 at 7 p.m.

 

For more information on RPU, the proposed 2011 budget, 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 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.

 

 

 

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RPU Board to consider approval of the 2010 electric and water budget. No rate increases recommended

Friday, November 6th, 2009

ROCHESTER, MN— The Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) Board will consider approval of the 2010 electric and water budgets at the special November 10 meeting. The 2010 budget recommendations no rate increase for the electric or water utility.

 

The recommended electric budget for 2010 comes despite an increase from RPU’s wholesale power supplier, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) of four percent. This will increase RPU’s purchased power costs to over $91 million in 2010. Purchased power equates to roughly 68 percent of RPU’s total budget expense. In addition to absorbing the SMMPA increase, RPU plans to make internal reductions and cuts by continuing cost reductions made in 2009, not increasing workforce, and through employee furloughs.

 

Reductions and efficiencies made to keep the budget at 2009 levels will not compromise certain core pieces of RPU’s business. RPU will continue to invest in safety, training, and equipment for employees, work diligently to meet the state mandate for energy conservation of 1.5% of kilowatt- hour sales, maintain a high level of customer service, and improve reliability through expansion of transmission initiatives such as CapX2020.

 

“We are well aware of the tough economic times that our customers are experiencing and we chose to be proactive and develop a budget that doesn’t include a rate increase for 2010.  Thanks to the foresight of the Utility Board, RPU is in a strong financial position to meet the challenges that are ahead. We feel that this approach is in the best interest of everybody and will ultimately ease the financial burden for customers, as we all work to get through these tough times,” said Larry Koshire, RPU General Manager.

 

A change in water rate structure will be proposed in early 2010 to meet the state mandate for water utilities to implement a water conservation rate structure. The proposed rate structure will change the amount certain customer classes pay for water. The rate structure will be put in place to incent customers to conserve water and will charge higher usage customers for the increased use.

 

The RPU Board will act on the proposed electric and water budgets at a special November Board Meeting on Tuesday, November 10 at 4p.m. at the RPU Service Center. Final budget approval will come from the Rochester City Council on November 16 at 7 p.m.

 

For more information on RPU, the proposed 2010 budget, or the water conservation rates, 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 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.

 

 

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RPU to Study Water Conservation Rates

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 1, 2009

CONTACT:        Tony Benson

                        Communications Coordinator

                        507-280-1534

                        tbenson@rpu.org

 

RPU to Study Water Conservation Rates

 

 

ROCHESTER, MN— RPU is currently conducting a study to implement water conservation rates. Conservation rates are put into place to encourage people to use water wisely.  The focus of the study will be on residential customers and creating an equitable manner to provide water for purposes of sustaining health and welfare benefits, at the same time discouraging wasteful use of water. 

 

In addition to establishing the water conservation rates, the study will provide guidance on educational programs to help customers reduce water consumption and rebate programs to replace inefficient water appliances.  Recently, RPU has partnered with Olmsted County to provide a rain barrels to residents to be used for gardening and lawn applications.  Programs like this will be introduced for consideration for the future conservation program.

 

“Communities throughout Minnesota have been implementing water conservation rates due to the legislature requiring conservation rates,” said Jerry Williams, RPU Board President.  “RPU is implementing the water conservation rates not only because it is the law but because it aligns with one of RPU’s core values of stewardship.”

 

For a complete background on the new water conservation rates, please reference Minnesota Statutes section 103G.291 subd. 3 and 4.

 

The first presentation of the water conservation study and proposed rate structures will be held at the September 29, 2009, RPU Board Meeting.  The meetings are at 4:00 pm at the RPU Service Center and are open to the public.

           

 

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.

 

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A Message from Rochester Public Utilities’ General Manager

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

RPU 2010 Budget Schedule Established


RPU General Manager Larry Koshire

 

The RPU Board established the upcoming budget/operating plan and rate schedule at the August 25, 2009 meeting.  We recognize that 2010 will be challenging year for our customers and for us as the economy continues to be slow in recovery.  With the continued goal of no overall rate increases to our customers we have been challenged to reduce costs while maintaining safety, reliability and our long term strategic plans.

As always, throughout the budget and rate setting process, our customers and stakeholders will have opportunity to provide input to the RPU Board.  This year we will also be looking into establishing water conservation rates in order to be better stewards of one of our most precious commodities. 

The upcoming schedule to address the budget and rates is:

                Presentation on proposed water conservation rates                       September 29, 2009

                Presentation of the preliminary 2010 operating plan                      October 27, 2009

                Board approval of 2010 operating plan                                           November 10, 2009

                Adoption of the 2010 operating by Council                                     November 16, 2009

 

RPU is a community owned utility, which means our customers are also our owners.  By working with you to conserve both water and energy and looking for more ways to reduce costs, we will all benefit by holding down rate increases.

 

 Sincerely,

Larry Koshire
General Manager