Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Electric car chargers being installed near Moose Lake Municipal Liquor Store

 


The new energy efficient windows have been installed in the power plant and offices, it was said at the meeting of the Moose Lake Water and Light Commission on Tuesday, July 16.

The first quote for the project had been $150,000 but the quote from St. Germain’s Glass of Duluth came out to be $33,984. A cost of an additional $7,250 had been approved earlier for removing the asbestos from around the old window openings.

A trench was dug by Waldholm Construction across the parking lot of the liquor store for wiring to the new electric vehicle chargers that will be installed just off of Arrowhead Lane. Equipment for the chargers has been purchased. The project is expected to be completed shortly.

Signs will be installed on Interstate 35 to inform travelers about the new chargers for electric vehicles in Moose Lake. The cost of the chargers, which had been approved previously, was $68,879 for the fast charger that can charge a vehicle in 30 minutes and $18,258 for the smart charger that can charge a vehicle in two or three hours. Each charger will have the capacity to charge two vehicles at a time, it has been said in previous meetings.

The new meters for residences and businesses in the power company’s service area are continuing to arrive. The new meters will have a signal that will be picked up by antennas throughout the service area and the readings transferred to the power plant for billing. The new system will save time for lineworkers that normally drive throughout the service area and read the meters with a handheld device, it has been said. Consumers will be able to find information online and monitor electrical usage hour by hour, if desired.

Installation of the new meters, which is simply replacing the existing meter, is expected to take place in August. Users will be notified when meter installation is to take place in their neighborhood.

It was noted that the costs of purchasing power from the new power supplier, AEP, is much less than it had been a year ago when the power was purchased from Great River Energy.

Commissioner Ted Shaw asked if the electric rates for the consumers would be reduced because of the savings. Commissioner Curt Yort agreed.

“The consumer should realize something from the decrease,” said Yort.

Superintendent Harlan Schmeling added that the cost of purchasing power had dropped from $116.69 a megawatt last year to $53.34 a megawatt this year in the first six months under the new power supplier.

Schmeling added that it is recommended that the power company have 14 months of reserves.

“We are almost there now,” he said. “We have eight months of reserves. We are looking at roughly $1-1.5 million in savings in a year.”

It was said that the budget will be reviewed later in the year before there is any adjustment in the electrical rates for the consumers.

The city and power commission are exploring combining systems, it was said. Representatives of each entity meet every two weeks to discuss the various systems that could be combined to save time and labor costs.

“We met yesterday and discussed our concerns and fears,” said Commission Chair Keith Carlson. “We talked about accounting, administration, and human resources to see if combining those systems is doable.”

“We’ve contacted CW Technologies to see about merging the server, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), phones, etc.,” added Katie Bloom, the deputy city clerk.

“We are going to be looking at all aspects of our systems,” said Schmeling. “There are more to look at.”

“We are only exploring,” added Bloom. “The council and the commission will make the decision. We are taking baby steps.”

The commissioners approved a new logo for the water and light commission. Several designs had been submitted by Jon Lower of Image Design.

In other business, the commission approved the purchase of a used digger truck in the amount of $74,900, set the minimum charge of connecting a new electrical service at $150, and approved Community Improvement Funds to cover the cost of LED fixtures at Riverside Arena to replace the lights in the lobby, concessions area and two locker rooms.

The next meeting of the commission was tentatively set for Tuesday, August 13, at 3 p.m. at the power plant.

 

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