NEW ULM - New Ulm Public Utilities Engineer Pat Wrase will be among the six selected to be members of the new Customer Connections Committee being organized by the Heartland Consumers Power District.
The committee consists of representatives from communities with long-term power agreements with Heartland. The committee will serve in an advisory capacity to help promote and suggest actions to Heartland's Board of Directors to improve customer service.
"I'm honored. I think it's a worthwhile endeavor," said Wrase.
Wrase said the committee will likely emphasize Heartland getting more involved in economic development programs, energy efficiency programs, discussions on setting rates and service programs for its customers.
"It's very important that we get to have a voice with Heartland. Our power agreement with Heartland is the single biggest expense in the [New Ulm] Public Utilities," said Wrase, "Work with Heartland will go much further in helping the Public Utilities than work in other areas."
He also said that being on the committee was important because the South Dakota-based Heartland only had its board members elected from its home state, which meant Minnesota had minimal direct input.
The committee will not be fully implemented until early 2012, but proposed members are meeting occasionally to prepare the details.
The committee will hold quarterly meetings in Madison, S.D., or other agreed-upon locations. The members are intended to serve staggered three-year terms, but Wrase will start with a two-year term from 2012 to 2013. The board's activities will be reported in Heartland's newsletter, and committee members will be encouraged to attend the board of directors meetings.
Wrase said his next step will be to obtain authorization to participate from the Public Utilities Commission at its next meeting.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)