AMU report: No Electric Rate Increase, Slight increase in Water Rate

(Atlantic) Atlantic Municipal Utilities General Manager Steve Tjepkes appearing in front of the Atlantic City Council reported no electric rate increase next year. However, there will be a slight increase in water rates.

Tjepkes, presented AMU’s annual budget report to the City Council Wednesday night. Tjepkes says AMU’s main source of energy is the W/S#3 coal-fired plant in Council Bluffs which continues to be the utilities’ lowest cost option for power.  He pointed to a recent survey of all 182 electric companies showing only five utility companies with lower overall average electrical rates than AMU.

Tjepkes noted one large capital project currently underway is the closing of the inactive ponds at the plant. He says the project will take another three or four years to complete. AMU’s share of the remaining cost is estimated at $3 to $4 million paid out of cash reserves.

Tjepkes says the larger capital improvement projects in Atlantic over the next couple of years include; replacing (3) 45-year old 69 kV Circuit Breakers, with a cost estimate of  $400,000.00. The second major project is replacing the main distribution switchgear in the substation. He says two circuits, over 45-years old, will cost $1.1 million to replace.

Tjekes noted a personnel change within the company. He says Director of Electric Operations, Greg Smith is retiring at the end of the month after 42-years in the electric industry. Todd Friesleben has been named as the new Director. Todd is a trained lineworker and has been employed at AMU for the past 29-years.

In regards to water operations, AMU budgeted in a 3-percent water rate increase for next year. “The average residential water bill is $22.61 per month,” said Tjepkes. “The increase will amount to about 0.68 cents per month.”

Atlantic Municipal Utilities applied for a Community Development Block Grant to pay for a portion of three large water capital improvement projects planned for the next few years.

*Install water main below Nishnabotna River along 2nd Street near the wastewater plant.
*Rehab Clearwell at the water treatment plant.
*Replace filter media in six large filters at the water treatment plant.

The cost of these three projects totals $1.3 million. AMU’s CDBG grant is for around $500,000.00.

The Atlantic City Council approved the report by unanimous vote.