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NUPUC OKs water tower change orders

November 27, 2013
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer (fbusch@nujournal.com) , The Journal

NEW ULM - The New Ulm Public Utilities Commission (NUPUC) unanimously approved three change orders Tuesday to the Nehls Park elevated storage tank contract.

Design modifications in the amount of $33,247 included $16,255.25 to upgrade the roof handrail system to higher strength; $5,284.25 to modify the access tub cover with industry standard four-inch telecom conduit sleeves; and $11,707.50 to increase proposed electric service to the water tower to 800 amps.

Changes came from telecommunications operator requests, according to NUPUC Engineer Pat Wrase. Funds for the recommended changes are available within the bond proceeds developed for the project and other water department projects at the June 4, 2013 $2,950,000 bond sale, according to the NUPUC.

In addition to adding an 800 amp unit, the change order would add two interior meter centers with four sockets each. One meter would be used for the City's use for the tower. Up to seven of the other sockets could be used by cellphone or radio customers.

The PUC approved resolutions:

Commending employees James Hulke for more than 41 years service, Daryl Stevensen for more than 40 years and Holly Postel for more than 33 years.

For the 2014 PUC Schedule of Fees and Charges effective Jan. 1, 2014. Changes include a new $5,000 per lot commercial/industrial subdivision fee due at application for service. Wrase said such a fee was typical for large industrial lots.

Several commissioners questioned the fees and what incentives developers may be able to use.

"It's not unusual. Xcel Energy bills for this at other locations," said New Ulm City Administrator Brian Gramentz. "It (fee) could be part of development negotiations that may include TIF (Tax-Increment Financing) and revolving loan funds. It (fee) could be paid by someone else."

Commission President Bill Steinke said he didn't think the fee would keep new businesses out.

"We need to cover costs we've been eating for a long time," Gramentz said. "Let the negotiation process determine who pays it."

For a $106,881 imputed equity settlement between the Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (CMMPA) and NUPUC.

Electrical markets and costs became very volatile in 2003 to 2004 causing significant wholesale energy cost fluctuations to NUPUC, causing it to authorize staff to issue wholesale electric energy Requests for Proposals (RFPs). The NUPUC approved a contract with Northern States Power/Xcel Energy to provide NUPUC electrical power on June 1, 2006.

As a CMMPA member, NUPUC earned equity based on the share of business done with it. The NUPUC adopted a resolution withdrawing from CMMPA at its June 27, 2006 meeting.

The proposed settlement represents a 50-50 compromise to get the matter resolved and the money to NUPUC, which estimated it had equity of $213,762 on June 30, 2006. Wrase said CMMPA retired 50 percent of two of its former member's equity in the past.

 
 

 

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