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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Electric vehicles are the future


October 3, 2019

Courtesy Moose Lake Power

The Moose Lake Water and Light Commission has a new logo and will be known as Moose Lake Power. The logo was designed by Jon Lower of Image Designs of Moose Lake.

Seven electric cars have been charged with the Moose Lake Water and Light Commission's new electric chargers, reported Superintendent Harlan Schmeling at the meeting of the commission on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The chargers were operational on August 14.

He also reported that the final cost of the chargers and installation was $79,455.07.

"We did go over the estimate of $75,000 by $4,455.07," he said.

Capital Improvement Funds would be used to fund the project, he added.

Commissioner Curt Yort said that he had learned at a recent conference that 25 percent of the vehicles will be electric by 2025. Chevrolet will be introducing several electric models soon and Ford will be coming out with an electric F-150 pickup.

"Power companies have to prepare because people are going to be installing electric connections in their garages for charging the electric vehicles," he said. "There may also be cards with minutes for the chargers that people can buy. They asked how we are going to deal with this in our communities."

Schmeling replied that there would have to be more lines and heavier lines to carry electricity if there is more demand.

Yort also said that the state is looking at moving to electric vehicles because the cost of electric vehicles is comparable to the vehicles that are being used currently.

"The comparison is 46 cents a mile for gas compared to 2 cents a mile for electric," he said. "Gas taxes pay for road maintenance. Electric vehicles will not be paying for road maintenance. There will probably be a way that they will be made to pay later.

"By 2050, the goal is that all vehicles will use clean energy on the state and national level. Big changes will have to be implemented. I think that we got a jump on it with our chargers."

There was discussion about City Administrator Tim Peterson's proposal to increase the surcharge on the electrical rates to raise funds to pay for street improvement projects.

Peterson was present at the meeting and said that 90 percent of the revenue from the fee would come from the large users: the MSOP, DOC, and Mercy Hospital.

"When we did the gas franchise fee, it was a way to treat everyone right, not just certain people, on their property taxes," he added.

None of the commissioners spoke against the increased surcharge.

Manny Day, the engineer from NV5, was present for the bid opening during the meeting; the bids are for replacing regulators at the south sub-station.. Two bids were received. Day said that he would take the bids and review them before he makes a recommendation to the commission about which bid to accept.

"The project is on schedule," Day told the commissioners. "The actual construction will take place the first week of May. The town will be served by the electrical generators for two to four days to prepare for the project. The project will be completed in less than a week. That will increase reliability and flexibility and create more capacity."

Schmeling added that the power load can be split between the north and south sub-stations after the regulators have been installed.

The new Moose Lake Power logo has been installed on the commission's trucks and the sign on the building.

"We are no longer getting questions about sewer and water," said Sally LaPatka Iund, the Office Manager.

Iund also said that the new website is being designed. It will be released within three weeks.

There was discussion about the proposal of combining some of the duties between the city's and the commission's offices. Three meetings have been held to look at the different aspects of the duties and how they could be combined for efficiency.

"This creates a back-up plan for staffing on holidays and so forth and where we saw duplication," said Commission Keith Carlson. "A chart shows how responsibilities could move up or down."

Peterson said that another meeting will be held in a week to discuss wages.

Carlson stated that the proposals from the meetings will be brought back to the city and the commission for a final decision at a later date.

The meter installation project has been delayed until late October or in November, it was said.

There was one bid received for replacing the front door and a side door on the power commission's building. The commissioners instructed Schmeling to call for more bids.

The next meeting of the Moose Lake Power commission was set for Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 3 p.m. at the power plant.


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