Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for October, 2008

RPU celebrates Public Power Week with the Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity

Friday, October 10th, 2008

This year we celebrated Public Power Week a little bit different than in past years. Over 15 RPU employees and RPU board members worked at a Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity (RAHH) home site, putting in over 40 volunteer hours. This was the first year of a new annual tradition to partner with RAHH each year during Public Power Week.


RAHH is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to build simple, decent, affordable housing for people in the community who are economically challenged.  Funding for the agency comes primarily from local, individual, church, and business contributions, and through the United Way.


Public Power Week is a week for communities to celebrate the benefits of having a public power provider. As a public power provider, RPU is very active in helping the local community through organizations such as the RAHH.


Along with providing labor to help build the house, RPU has also made a commitment to provide energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s) to the RAHH for all homes built 2009. CFL’s use ¼ of the energy that a standard bulb uses and lasts up to 10 times longer.


For more information on Public Power Week visit the APPA web site at or for more information on how you can volunteer with the RAHH visit



Server Maintenance Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

We will be doing server maintenance on Tuesday, October 7 at 3 p.m. The work is scheduled to take approximately 30 minutes. During this time you will not be able to access your account or make payments online. We apologize for the inconvenience.

RPU Co-sponsoring Solar Class in November

Monday, October 6th, 2008

RPU will be co-sponsoring a class entitled, “Solar Systems: Options, Economics, and Rebates” on Saturday, November 1, 2008 from 10am to 12pm at the Northrop Community Center.  The class will provide an overview of different heating and electric solar systems, their costs and expected energy savings.  Find out what to look for when purchasing equipment, selecting contractors and dealing with code issues.  The MN state rebate, utility contacts and the 30 percent Federal tax credit will also explained.  The instructor, from Best Power International, has over 25 years of experience in the solar industry in Minnesota and will be able to answer all of your questions. 



The cost of the class is $9.00 and to sign up please go to the community education website:

How many people does it take to wash a water tower?

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

John Adams Water Tower

 Well the answer’s not what I thought it would be either, but the answer is two! I got the chance to go out to see how we wash our water towers and it was a very educational experience.

The John Adams water tower hold up to 500,000 gallons of water, which may seem like a lot but is far from being our largest water storage facility.

The washing of a water tower actually begins with hoisting up the 1,000 pound sprayer contraption to the top of the tower. Once that it’s in place, ropes are used to keep it level, but it’s actually controlled manually by a remote. The two sprayers can spray well over 2,000 psi, but in order to reduce the chances of removing paint from the tower, they are operated at around 1,400 psi. The sprayers are also kept a couple feet away from the tower to reduce the chances of paint removal.

Usual time to wash a complete water tower is about a day, pending weather conditions and the amount of dirt on the outside. If winds get above 20 mph, washing isn’t done due to safety concerns.  Each tower is washed every three to four years.

So, now to the last question that many of you probably have. Why do we wash a water tower? The answer is pretty simple. To keep our community looking nice!

I’ve never noticed a water tower and thought it was dirty, but the next time you’re around one, check and see if you can notice if it’s just been cleaned.  

remote used to control the sprayers

remote used to control the sprayers