The Board of Water, Electric and Communications Trustees met Tuesday to act on several agenda items, allowing Muscatine Power and Water (MPW) to move forward on infrastructure projects and equipment replacement.

The Utility’s senior leadership and Trustees went into closed session to discuss an electric retail service agreement and land lease agreement with a growing electric customer. The customer operates in the cryptocurrency mining industry is seeking to expand business operations in Muscatine, increasing the electrical load on MPW’s power infrastructure.

System upgrades required to handle the additional load will largely be paid for by the customer. The Utility will also have the ability to curtail a portion of the customer’s demand if an emergency load-shedding event would become necessary to maintain grid integrity. General Manager, Gage Huston commented, “While new business and industry is welcomed and supported, utility infrastructure must be evaluated to determine if it can withstand the significant increase in load. Staff developed agreement parameters to minimize the risk to utility infrastructure and electric customers.”

MPW financial results for June were presented to the Trustees. Mark Roberts, finance and administrative services director, reviewed financial results, noting at the midpoint of 2023, the Electric Utility had a $1.7 million loss, which was $1.8 million worse than the change in net financial position for the same period in 2022. Underlying results were reasonable in the face of weaker wholesale market conditions, with June actually outperforming budget.” The Water Utility’s first-half change in net financial position was $0.3 million below the previous year. And the Communications Utility’s results were $0.2 million below the prior year’s period.

In other Board business:

  • Awarded the contract for the 2023 AO Window Replacement Project to Carl A. Nelson Co., Inc., of Burlington, IA, for a total of $300,000.
  • Approved a revised project budget for the Grandview Substation replacement design for a total cost of $728,700. The new design is needed to support the Muscatine Solar 1 project. Construction costs associated with the upgrade will be budgeted separately.
  • Approved a revised budget for two projects associated with the removal/disposal and replacement of a Unit 9 sprinkler system for a total cost of $860,887.