Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Archive for October, 2011

New Neighborhood Energy Challenge dates just announced!

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Three dates for Neightborhood Energy Challenege workshops in 2012 have just been announced.

January 9, 2012
Jefferson Elementary

February 7, 2012
Bamber Valley Elementary

March 5, 2012
Gibbs Elementary

Click here for more information or to sign up

Celebrate this season with rebates on LED holiday lighting!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Make sure to buy LED holiday lighting this season! LED holiday lighting uses 75% less energy than standard light strings, which can save you up to $21 per month (depending on usage). Plus get a rebate of up to $12 per string from RPU!

Click to download LED rebate form

No rate increase proposed for electric utility for the third straight year and fifth straight year for the water utility

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) staff will present the 2012 budget proposal, this afternoon, to the RPU Board with a recommendation of no rate increase for the electric or water utility. This marks the third straight year without a rate increase for the electric utility and fifth straight year without a general rate increase for the water utility. The RPU Board will hear the budget proposal at the October board meeting and will take action on the budget at a special board meeting on November 15.


“Plain and simple, a zero percent rate increase during these tough economic times is the right thing for our customers. Holding the budgets at 2011 levels is only possible because of the dedication of our employees. We will 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.


In order to sustain the reductions from the 2010 and 2011 budgets, RPU staff has worked diligently to ensure that reductions were made in places that will not compromise core components of RPU’s business. Some of the significant business drivers for the electric utility in 2012 include:


·         Commitment to community to have no electric rate increase for the third year during continuing tough economic times while supporting our mission statement and strategic initiatives;

·         Continue holding approved staff positions open to evaluate need while adding two positions  to support the customer and system growth;

·         SMMPA’s Board approved rates with no increase for 2012, SMMPA, continues to be a significant operating expense at approximately $89 million or about 68% of our operating costs;

·         Lack of demand and low prices in MISO market has made the Silver Lake Plant uncompetitive this past year, and RPU is projecting few wholesale sales from this facility in 2012;

·         Achieving our energy conservation goals through continued work with residential and commercial customers;

·         Continuing our participation in CAPX 2020 initiative to expand the electric transmission grid to ensure reliable and affordable service; and

·         Continuing to implement Smart Grid education and possible pilot projects.


Significant business drivers for the water utility include:


·         Continued water conservation programs and education;

·         Slowdown in new development;

·         New reservoir to be constructed in 2013 and 2014; and

·         Addition of one water operator to support water system growth.



The RPU Board will act on the proposed electric and water budgets at a special November Board Meeting on Tuesday, November 15 at 4 p.m. at the RPU Service Center. Final budget approval will come from the Rochester City Council on November 21 at 7 p.m.


For more information on RPU or the proposed 2012 budget, please contact Tony Benson at 507-280-1534 or email 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 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.





Reminder: Lake Zumbro drawdown starts today

Monday, October 17th, 2011

The Lake Zumbro drawdown starts today and is scheduled to be complete by October 30. The completed drawdown level of 913.5 (920 is the nornal pool level) will be maintained until November 6. At that time, the lake level will be drawn back up to the normal winter pool level of 918.5. This will be maintained until Spring.

The reasons for the increased drawdown are for maintenance on the hydro dam, timing for a LiDAR flight scheduled, and in response to homeowner requests to access lakeshore property.

The drawdown timing may change depending on weather conditions.

Additional Neighborhood Energy Challenge dates announced

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Additional dates for the Neighborhood Energy Challenge have been announced. There will be a workshop held on November 15 and December 5.

The Neighborhood Energy Challenge is a new full-service residential energy audit program for Rochester residents.

Click for more information and to sign-up

Space is limited.