Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for September, 2008

Rain and sprinklers don’t mix

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Originally Posted:  Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An easy way to save some money through the summer months is to monitor sprinklers and irrigation systems when it rains. Unnecessary watering during rainfalls contributes significantly to reducing our municipal water supply during the summer months. Please turn sprinklers off or set your irrigation system to monitor for precipitation if it looks like it might rain.

RPU water continues to be one of the least expensive water systems in the region, but we are still working hard to preserve our natural resources and to be efficient when we need them.

For more information on water conservation, click on the link below.

water conservation tips

Correction to previous news reports on theft of RPU wire

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Originally Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2008

The underground wire that was reported stolen in NW Rochester was previously reported at a value of $10,000, but the cost of the wire is estimated at $100 while the repair cost will be in the ballpark of $10,000.

The loss of wire infrastructure is a concern, but a larger concern is the danger that is posed when unqualified people are near and in contact with potentially energized services. If you see people near exposed wires and you aren’t sure if they are RPU employees, please call RPU at 507-280-1500.

Below is the Post Bulletin story from 7-31-08 stating the correction.

Theft of wire at RPU caused $10,000 in damage
7/31/2008 10:20:01 AM

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

A theft of electrical wire this week in northwest Rochester cost $10,000 in replacement and repair costs, but only $100 worth of wire was stolen, not $10,000 as originally reported, Rochester Public Utilities spokesman Tony Benson said Thursday.

RPU workers noticed the theft Monday at Kenosha Drive and 35th Street Northwest and reported it Tuesday. The aluminum and copper wire was pulled from the ground.

The theft occurred at a work site at Kenosha Drive and 35th Street Northwest.

As days get hotter, remember these tips for staying cool and being efficient with your water and electricity

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Originally Posted:  Monday, July 21, 2008

July 21, 2008
CONTACT: Tony Benson
Communications Coordinator

ROCHESTER, MN— As the summer days get hotter, RPU wants to remind customers that staying cool and comfortable can still include efficient use of water and electricity.

In an effort to reduce the peak demand greatly due to high air conditioning usage, RPU has energy saving tips to help customers reduce their energy usage and to help reduce strain on infrastructure during hot days this summer.

Electricity saving tips:
– Set your thermostat at 78º F or higher- Avoid using large appliances between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
– Turn off all unnecessary electric equipment including computers, home electronics, and small appliances
– Minimize the use of unneeded lighting and use natural light instead- Businesses can turn off all unneeded processes, office equipment, and reduce lighting

Water usage is also higher during warm days, but by using water wisely we can better ensure that water will be available for all customers through hot summer days.

Wise water usage tips:

– Water your lawn only when it needs it. If it springs back up when you step on it, it does not need any water. If it stays flat, turn on the sprinkler.
– When you do water your lawn, deep soak it. Water long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots. A light sprinkling tends to evaporate quickly and can encourage shallow root systems.
– If you have an established lawn, minimize watering. If you have new sod, continue to water, but do so in the early morning hours.
– Water during the cool parts of the day. Early morning waterings are generally better than dusk since they help prevent the growth of fungus.
– Position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas or in your gutters. Also, try not to water when it’s windy.

For more information on electricity or water conservation, visit the RPU web site at

New RPU Blog “Behind the Meter”

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Originally Posted: Monday, July 07, 2008

RPU will again move to the forefront of utilities this summer by becoming one the first utilities in the nation to leverage the social media phenomenon of recent by redesigning and adding functionality to the RPU blog.

RPU has had a blog since late 2004, but the true value of a blog wasn’t realized until the past year. As the utility industries, both water and electric, change we must continue to find ways to keep our key stakeholders (our customers) in the loop and appraised on what we are doing. As our business changes, we are well aware that our customers lives are as well. A mailed letter or a phone call just doesn’t cut it in today’s technologically advanced world, as a satisfactory means of customer communication.

The new RPU blog, set to launch later this month, will be a state-of-the-art blog including features that are found in blogs of company’s operating on a much larger scale than RPU. Full video applications will allow for customers to view video clips on subjects such as emission reduction progress, energy conservation ideas, and water quality testing. In addition, the blog will offer a one stop location for everything new at RPU. No more searching for news or reading a full news release for the information that’s important to you.

Most importantly though, is that the blog will give you the opportunity to provide unlimited feedback to us about what’s important to you and what your thoughts are on what we’re doing. Whether you agree with certain articles we post or if you completely disagree, we want to hear it all. We’ll be able to learn from all of the feedback that you provide us.

As the blog becomes a larger part of the communication process for us, I hope to soon invite other RPU employees and even members of the Utility Board to post articles from other parts of RPU.

Work on Steam Line to Begin June 9

Thursday, September 4th, 2008
Originally Posted:  Thursday, June 05, 2008

ROCHESTER, MN— Work on the steam line from Silver Lake Plant to the Mayo Clinic Prospect Plant is scheduled to begin on June 9. 6th Street NW will be closed to allow for excavation to access the vault located near 6th Street NW and North Broadway.

The excavation on vault #3 located at 6th Street NW and North Broadway is necessary to increase the space of the vault and to change the expansion joint. During the street closing, RPU will be posting signage directing traffic to available parking for the local businesses affected and will have continuous updates in the newspaper and on the RPU web site. 6th Street NW is scheduled to be reopened during the week of September 18.

Other steam line vaults will need to be accessed during this time, but are not projected to require excavation of the road. In addition to vault #3, expansion joints in vaults # 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are scheduled to be replaced.

Vaults #1 and #10 are located on RPU property, along with the Water Treatment Plant (WTP). Vaults #2 and #5 have already been addressed and repaired.

The steam line is scheduled to be in service by the week of October 6.

For updates on the steam line project, please visit the RPU web site at

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 45,000 customers. Water customers number more than 34,000. 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.