At the April Board of Water, Electric and Communications Trustee’s meeting, Muscatine Power and Water (MPW) leadership presented 2023 first quarter strategic plan updates and provided a summary of upcoming Utility events with current and future customers – a groundbreaking event for a fiber network expansion project and Get Smart…Hub Night – an interactive, educational open house.
Leadership presented a summary of the Utility’s progress in executing the objectives of the 2021-2023 strategic plan. The plan serves as a guide for the Utility during uncertain times and changing customer needs while ensuring sustained reliability and future growth.
Gage Huston, general manager, summarized the strategy update by stating, “Progress on MPW’s strategic plan is not just about meeting objectives, it’s about creating a reliable, sustainable and efficient system that benefits our customers. By focusing on employee development, infrastructure improvements, customer service initiatives and sustainable power generation, MPW will create a future for the community that is both economically and environmentally sound.”
To aid customer access to their specific account information, the first Get Smart…Hub Night is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2 from 4 to 6 p.m. “During our transition to fiber optic service, we had great success with Fiber Fun Nights, where customers visited with our staff about their services and available features,” said Erika Cox, director of customer and technology experience Cox, “and we hope that Get Smart…Hub Nights can provide the same up close and personal experience.”
SmartHub gives customers online access to their MPW account via their PC, or a mobile app accessible by smartphone or tablet. Launched in February, thousands of customers have already become registered users and MPW wants everyone to take advantage of this new, easy way to manage their utility accounts, pay bills, view usage history, receive and send messages, report outages and more.
Customer Service and HelpDesk representatives will be on hand to assist customers in the SmartHub registration process, answer questions and demonstrate the functionality of the application in a casual, open house setting. Customers interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP at 263-2631, option 2 or 3.
The Utility will also be hosting a Groundbreaking Event on Wednesday, May 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. for the expansion of MPW’s fiber footprint along Hwy 22 East. The expansion is another example of how MPW is investing to improve the lives of the people who live and work in the area. Cox shared, “This project will give more residents access to the fastest, most reliable internet connection available, as well as another option for TV and phone service. We are excited to serve these future customers!”
This expansion will target areas along Hwy 22 East from Geneva Hills Road to Skylane Road. Approximately 270 households will be able to access MPW’s premium fiber services. Construction is expected to start in the week following the Groundbreaking event, weather permitting.
The Utility’s 2022 audited financials were shared at Tuesday’s meeting. MPW’s auditor, Eide Bailly, reported the financial statements fairly present the financial position of the Utility. This audit was the first performed by Eide Bailly for MPW. “The results confirm MPW’s procedures are in line with industry best practices and support our commitment to transparency,” Huston shared. The audited financials will be made available on MPW’s website.
Mark Roberts, director of finance and administrative services, presented the March financial results to the Trustees. MPW’s change in net position for the month was a negative $403,000 (a net loss). That loss was $318,000 worse than was budgeted. Roberts noted, “continued low electric wholesale market prices reduced margins on the energy MPW sells into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator market.” Roberts also informed the Trustees, “the Energy Adjustment Clause would be just over half a cent per kilowatt hour, $0.00519/kWh, in May (based on net energy costs for the six months ended March 2023), which is a partial result of the reduced ability to produce margins on the energy MPW sells into the MISO market and generating unit outages.”
In other business, the Trustees:
- Accepted and placed on file the 2022 audit for the Water, Electric and Communications Utilities,
- Awarded a contract for Generation site roof repairs to T & K Roofing (Ely, IA) for a total of $185,200,
- Set Thursday, June 1, 2023, for receipt of bids, and Tuesday, June 27, 2023, for a public hearing for the West Substation Storage Building and West Hill Storage Building Projects.