MMUA Blogs

Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Nomination Hearing for Scott Pruitt, EPA (Jan. 18)   First, an update on possible nomination votes:   --Friday, Inauguration Day, the Senate will be in session for afternoon votes; they are expected to vote on—and...

You can often look at an electric generating project and peg its age by what needs it was designed to meet and the political sensitivities (if any) at the time it was built. Today, for example, there are several proposed U.S.-Canada transmission projects currently gaining regulatory...

Congress is back, but it's a very different world. And everyone is scrambling, for different reasons. Lame duck? Maybe the lamest. Get anything accomplished? Hardly. No need to, not now. TPP gonna pass, the president's Trans-Pacific Partnership landmark trade initiative,...

This month’s Resource newsletter carries an article on new mercury limits for wastewater discharges in the Lake Superior basin. The limits result from the Binational Program to Restore and Protect the Lake Superior basin, which was signed in 1991. The expense of meeting this...

I recently received two pieces of mail that gave me pause as a resident of an MMUA-member city. They also made me consider why it is increasingly difficult for different people to solve complex problems, and what I could possibly do about it. One letter, dated May 4, came from a Minnesota...

MMUA wouldn’t be much without its members. That point was driven home again Saturday, April 2, at the national Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo, held at Canterbury Park in Shakopee. Sure, Shakopee Public Utilities (SPU) and MMUA were hosts of this American Public Power Association...

MMUA and Shakopee Public Utilities salute the American lineworker . Can anybody tell me who the guy pictured here is? If you can, there is a major award (still to be determined) for you. You can watch lineworkers in action Saturday, April 2 at the APPA Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo....

Something curious about the reporting in the Star Tribune Sunday, March 20 on a large new wind ‘farm’ and, in a larger article, “Nuclear sticker shock” for potential upgrades at the Prairie Island nuclear facility. The wind development story mentioned the amount of...

In a phenomenon that reminds me of a modern youth sports ‘season,’ the political season is well upon us (did it ever really end?). Municipal utilities often seek to keep ‘politics’ out of the business--an ironic twist for utilities born of politics. The effort is...

I was recently surprised when I saw a small telco in Minnesota invoke the rural exemption. This is a set of rules that was created by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In those days the rural telephone industry had an effective presence in Congress and this was added to that legislation as a...

Municipal utilities and businesses that support them have a long and often mutually-beneficial relationship. Back in the mists of time, engine and generator manufacturers actually promoted municipal utilities. The sales pitch was that the city would get lower rates, more reliable service,...

The more I learn and observe, the more I am convinced that issues come and go but human nature stays the same. This thought follows the MMUA Technical and Operations (T&O) Conference, held earlier this week in St. Cloud. While MMUA does its best to present a program that will be of...

Had a chance this week to visit the Granite Falls Municipal Utilities. Driving home, I had a few thoughts. One was thankfulness for work that allows me to visit utilities like this and with the people who make them go. If you ever get a chance to visit a municipal power plant, especially a...

The US House of Representatives just passed S. 808, the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act. Passage came under the House suspension calendar, which needs a two-thirds vote from Members, so only those bills with broad support get on the calendar. Today's STB reform bill was no...

It occurred to me Nov. 23 as I was visiting Brent Brown, that this was the third Windom Municipal Utility manager that I had sat with in this particular office. The list starts with Dennis Purrington. Purrington was succeeded by Marv Grunig. Upon Grunig’s retirement, the Windom Commission...

I had the opportunity to attend the Blandin Foundation’s Border to Border Broadband Conference, held Nov. 18-20 in “the cities.” A number of statements at the conference struck me. Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin’s Director of Public Policy & Engagement, said that...

One of the great things about working for MMUA is the opportunity to get around the state a little bit and visit the different utilities and the people that operate them. One of the destinations Nov. 3 was Spring Valley Public Utilities.  The beauty of the day was exceeded only by the...

MMUA held a CIP Summit at its Plymouth offices Wednesday, Nov. 4. ‘CIP’ stands for Conservation Improvement Program and the acronym is pronounced ‘sip.’  The CIP statute has been around since 1980, and has been amended numerous times over the years. MMUA is...

Note from yesterday’s Washington Post : Google Fiber says it's in talks with Oklahoma City, Okla., and Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla., in what could lead to the next round of expansions for Fiber. Google Fiber is not in talks with local governments in Renville and Sibley...

It’s a feeling hard to put into words. I got it some 25 years ago, when I saw the trucks and linemen assembled at an MMUA Hotline School. Pride, but more than that—a palpable sense of something much stronger when joined together than when broken down into its individual parts....

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