At the April Board of Water, Electric and Communications Trustee’s meeting, Muscatine Power
and Water (MPW) senior leadership presented first quarter results from MPW’s updated 2024-
2026 strategic plan and provided information about the Utility’s recent award for safety metrics.

The strategic plan, updated in the fall of 2023, reflects MPW’s adaptability and commitment to
staying best-in-class in an increasingly dynamic environment. Gage Huston, general manager,
commented that the updated strategic plan “charts MPW’s course towards a sustainable and
resilient future for the Muscatine community. As a trusted provider of critical utility services,
MPW has always been committed to delivering reliable energy, water and communication
services to customers.”

Research and analysis for the Powering the Future initiative is progressing as MPW staff
continue to evaluate the design and configuration of a natural gas-fueled combined heat and
power (CHP) unit. The CHP unit, or Unit 10, will supplement MPW’s existing generation units
and could provide steam energy to a local customer at a higher efficiency and with lower
emissions than MPW’s coal-fired units.

Work on the Utility’s first solar array, Muscatine Solar 1, continues despite delays in the
Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) transmission interconnection process. A
revised power purchase agreement and land lease have been completed to accommodate the
delays. Planning continues while awaiting the conclusion of the MISO process. The array is
scheduled to be in service in 2026.

Other updates include the Utility’s response to feedback provided by a customer survey
completed in November 2023. While response to the feedback is ongoing, some adjustments
have already been implemented – changing the bi-monthly customer newsletter to a monthly
publication and lowering the rate for the Utility’s managed WiFi@Home service from $7.99 to
$5.00 per month. Customers will see the reduced rate for WiFi@Home service reflected in their
May bills.

Huston commented, “As a municipal utility, MPW values its customers’ opinions to help shape
and improve services – putting customers in the position of advisors in our continuous
improvement journey. Utility leadership is continuing to analyze detailed results of the survey
and will continue to evaluate changes that will make our customer experience even better.”

The Utility earned the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Safety Award of Excellence
for safe operating practices in 2023. MPW earned the top-level, Diamond Award in the category
for utilities with 250,000 to 999,999 worker-hours of annual exposure. MPW staff worked nearly
500,000 hours in 2023 without a lost-time injury.

This is the second consecutive year MPW has been recognized for its safety record. Huston
added, “MPW is committed to a culture of safety, where safety is everyone’s responsibility, with
a belief that all accidents are preventable.”

Trustees approved a $215,500 project summary form (PSF) for the West Hill Sewer Separation
Project – Phase 6C, to replace water mains, hydrants, and valves for the Utility’s water
distribution infrastructure. Historically, MPW has coordinated and partnered with the City of
Muscatine to do upgrades and replacements while the streets are excavated. This coordination
saves money and reduces traffic disruptions as the streets are only excavated once – both of
which benefit all residents.

Mark Roberts, director of finance and administrative services reported the Utility recently
received a “clean opinion” for the annual audit of MPW’s three utilities’ financial reports. Roberts
noted, ”the 2023 audit results reflect MPW’s dedication to best practices, ethical conduct and
reporting a reader of the financial statements can trust.”

Roberts also presented the financial results for March 2024, noting March was the first month
anyone at MPW can remember or can find records that its coal-fired generation units did not
operate. Mild temperatures and low natural gas prices made it more economical to buy electric
energy from MISO, resulting in savings for MPW customers. Not running the coal units did not
hurt MPW’s financial results given the market conditions. The Electric Utility’s net income was
$43,000, $581,000 better than budget. In addition, both the Water Utility and the
Communications Utility performed better than budget, respectively with $189,000 and $153,000
of net income.

In other Board action, the Trustees:

  • Approved the recommendation to continue engagement of Eide Bailly, LLP for Water, Electric, and Communications Utilities as MPW’s auditors.
  • Accepted as complete the 2023 AO Window Replacement Project with a contract change order #1 for $6,301 and final price of $306,301.