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Rochelle Municipal Utilities

RMU News (177)

RP3SafetyAwards2015 365Rochelle Municipal Utilities is one of 191 of the nation’s more than 2,000 public power utilities to earn the Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3®) designation from the American Public Power Association for providing consumers with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service. Kenneth Stone, energy services and accounting manager at Braintree Electric Light Department of Braintree, Mass., and executive committee member of APPA’s RP3 Review Panel, presented the designees on May 18 during the association’s annual Engineering & Operations Technical Conference held in Sacramento, CA.

The RP3 designation recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement. Criteria within each category are based on sound business practices and represent a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity. The RP3 designation now lasts for three years (up from two), so the 97 utilities that earned the designation this year join the 94 that received it last year for a total of 191.

“Utilities that have earned APPA’s RP3 designation are implementing best practices for the industry, and are a testament to public power’s commitment to serving their community,” said Stone.

“We’re honored to receive the RP3 designation,” said David Plyman, City Manager. “Our utility staff puts in a lot of hard work to serve this community. RP3 represents a much appreciated recognition of this hard work.”

This is the tenth year that RP3 recognition has been offered. APPA is the national organization representing more than 2,000 not-for-profit, community- and state- owned electric utilities. It is located in Arlington, VA.

 

Scheduled Power Outage - April 28th

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A power outage is scheduled for Tuesday, 4/28/2015. The outage will begin at 9:00 am and will last for approximately 3 to 4 hours. The affected area will be from the north border of Bethel Road to the south border of Route 38. The west border is Brooklyn Road and the east border is Queens Road. Approximately 250 customers will be affected.

The power outage is due to relocating the overhead poles and wires associated with the road improvements at the intersection of Flagg Road and Center Road.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the RMU Customer Service office at 815-562-4155.

On Wednesday, April 8, 2015 weather permitting; RMU Water Operators will repair a water main break and customers in the 500, 600, and 700 blocks of North 11th Street will be affected.

In order to perform the work, the water will be turned off and a precautionary boil order will be issued. Water service will be interrupted from approximately 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

Customers in the affected area will be given notice when the boil order begins and when it is over. The customers affected by the shutdown should boil all water used for drinking and cooking for a minimum of five minutes before use.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the RMU Customer Service office at 815-562-4155.

Due to construction in the area, a boil order has been issued for the 300 & 400 blocks of South 3rd Street.  

For details, visit the WKMS website: News Story

Topic presentation:

"How electric vehicles and renewable energy will interact together through the grid"

Presenter:
Kevin B. Martin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Northern Illinois University
Department of Technology
Faculty Associate, Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability, and Energy

Where: RMU Technology Center - 910 Technology Parkway - Rochelle

Just north of Petro from 38. First right going north after Holiday inn.

Please RSVP to Dan Westin at 815-561-2050 or

Weekend Outage Update

Monday, 2 February 2015

On Saturday, 1/31/15 at 6:20 pm, a power outage occurred at part of the Caron Road Substation. The outage was due to a failed circuit switcher insulator. Approximately 3,874 customers were affected. By 6:49 pm, power was restored to 3,064 customers. The remaining customers had their power restored by 7:24 pm.

On Sunday, 2/1/2015 at 8:40 am, 7 customers along Mulford Road were without power due to a burnt phase. Power was restored by 11:15 am.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the RMU Customer Service office at 815-562-4155.

On January 5th 2015, a production well located by Flagg Road experienced equipment issues and was taken out of service. The well is now functioning. Customers may still experience a discoloration in the water. However the water discoloration will begin to decrease over time. The water is still safe for drinking and cooking.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call the RMU Customer Service Department at 815-562-4155.

Hot Chocolate and Cookies at Beacon on the Green January 27th 3:30 pm

According to Websters:
sus•tain•able


- able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed
- involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources
- able to last or continue for a long time

• Rochelle has made quite some effort to be renewable and progressive.  RMU just completed a 312 kW PhotoVoltaic Solar Plant west of the water treatment plant which is performing very well even in winter

• RMU has been encouraged recently by recognition of its actions on the business justification of its solar plant as well as its commitment to cogen methane reuse (Bio-Gas) reuse at the city's landfill.

• Rochelle businesses are engaged in sustainability efforts as presented at various service club events.

The purpose is to explore ideas and review the top related sustainability policies, programs and projects that have improved the economies of local governments.  The goal of Rochelle Municipal Sustainability Forum is to connect local government, constituents and utility customers to solutions for economic growth and a sustainable future. The meeting is meant to capture interest in this area.

Meeting will feature an introduction by Chester Kolodziej Freedom Field Energy of similar area and regional activities. Signup areas for interested parties will be available. Contact: Dan Westin (815) 561 2050

On January 5, 2015, a production well located by Flagg Road experienced equipment issues and was taken out of service.  Repairs are in process and the well is expected to be back in service on January 15, 2015.  Customers may experience a discoloration in the water, but it is safe for drinking and cooking.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please call the RMU Customer Service Department at 815-562-4155.

 

The City of Rochelle, in partnership with the Illinois Municipal Utilities Association (IMUA), is again offering a scholarship competition program for eligible high school seniors. Each eligible applicant is asked to submit an application and an essay of 500 words or less addressing their choice of one of five utility-related questions.

Applicants must be high school seniors whose parents or legal guardians are residential customers of Rochelle Municipal Utilities.

"Since its inception in 2000, IMUA's scholarship program has proven to be a very popular and successful program for IMUA, its members and the communities it serves," said Kevin M. Gaden, President & CEO of the IMUA. "Public power communities offer their customers a number of cost, service and other advantages compared to those served by other energy providers. IMUA's scholarship program is another example of how munipally-owned and operated utility systems can return value to their communities while at the same time, provide a measure of financial assistance and support to those students who wish to pursue a college education."

The deadline for submitting applications and essays is Friday March 6, 2015. A committee of municipal utility officials will select a total of four finalists, each of whom will receive a certificate and $500 scholarship award. Winners will be announced in April. Application materials are available at www.rmu.net.

pdf IMUA Scholarship Application (85 KB)

Rating Update: Moody's Affirms A3 rating on the City of Rochelle's (IL) Electric
System Revenue Bonds; Outlook Stable
Global Credit Research - 22 Dec 2014
$12.4 million of rated debt affected
ROCHELLE (CITY OF) IL ELECTRIC ENTERPRISE
Electric Distribution and Generation

NEW YORK, December 22, 2014 --Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the A3 rating on the City of Rochelle's (Rochelle Electric) $12.4 million outstanding Electric System Revenue Bonds. The outlook is stable.


RATING RATIONALE:
The A3 rating reflects the electric system's small and concentrated customer base with below average socioeconomic indicators and industrial/commercial load dominance. This concentration is balanced against a historical willingness to maintain strong and stable financial performance with steady rate increases. The rating further considers the utility's participation in Prairie State Project, which provides long-term favorable economics yet involves substantial off-balance sheet leverage ($133.3 million) given its take-or-pay contracts with the joint
action agency Northern Illinois Municipal Power Agency (A2/stable).

OUTLOOK:
The stable outlook reflects Moody's view that Rochelle Electric will continue to demonstrate its willingness to maintain a satisfactory liquidity profile and adequate financial margins to mitigate significant customer and power resource concentration.

What Could Change the Rating - UP:
The rating could be upgraded if there were notable diversification of the customer base, revenue mix, and power supply resources, while maintaining strong financial performance.

What Could Change the Rating - DOWN:
The rating could be downgraded if financial metrics deteriorate resulting in the fixed obligation charge coverage ratio remains below 1.15 times or if days cash on hand falls below 90 days on a sustained basis. The rating could also be impacted by the loss of a large customer that negatively impacts Rochelle Electric's energy load and revenue profile.

LEGAL SECURITY:

The bonds are secured by the net revenues of the city's electric system. The rate covenant requires net revenues to cover senior lien debt service by at least 1.2 times. The additional bonds test is 1.25 times annual debt service. There is a cash funded debt service reserve fund sized at maximum annual debt service (MADS) or $1.55 million. The flow of funds is an open loop structure with the annual revenue transfer to the city capped at 5% of total electric system revenue per bond ordinance.

INTEREST RATE DERIVATIVES: None

STRENGTHS:
* Rate-setting authority lies ultimately with City Council and is not subject to review or appeal by any other
governmental authority
* Power cost adjustment mechanism allows for full power cost recovery without a base rate increase
* Low on balance sheet leverage

CHALLENGES:
* Customer concentration with the top 10 customers accounting for 50% of FY 2014 operating revenue and the
largest customer, CHS' ethanol plant, accounting for 16% of operating revenue
* Concentrated power supply profile with Prairie State accounting for 51% of energy and capacity needs
* Significant off balance sheet debt ($129.5 million) associated with Rochelle Electric's 30 MW of generation
ownership in the Prairie State Project through NIMPA

DETAILED CREDIT DISCUSSION
Rochelle Electric's service area is primarily residential (84% of customers) with below average socioeconomic indicators, while revenues are primarily from commercial and industrial customers (78% of revenues). The top ten customers are predominantly industrial and account for a considerable 50% of total revenues, with the top customer, CHS' ethanol plant, accounting for 16% of total revenues. This customer concentration is partially mitigated by the diversity of the top customers which span multiple industries. The system had load growth of 2.6% in FY 2014, and management expects growth of 2-3% in FYs 2015 to 2017, due to increased investment from several industrial customers which have either recently expanded or plan to expand their presence in Rochelle Electric's service territory.

The Prairie State plant is the system's primary base-load generation resource, providing 51% of the utility's energy needs. The remaining power supply needs are sourced from spot market purchases, a 6 MW 5x16 power contract
with Constellation Energy, and a 2 MW power contract with Rochelle Energy Center. Despite construction delays, construction cost overruns and a longer than standard shakedown period, Prairie State showed improvement in
operating performance in the latter half of 2014. Newly appointed Prairie State management and the uncovering of several performance issues could result in a better performance record and improvement to a capacity factor in the 80% range in 2015. Moody's believes that the value of Prairie State as a long term asset remains favorable as a source of long-term reliable power for the participants. Direct debt levels remain modest with a direct debt ratio of 15%, yet the system has significant off-balance sheet debt of $129.5 million through NIMPA. Moody's accounts for this off-balance sheet debt in calculating the fixed obligation charge coverage ratio, which subtracts the debt component of Rochelle Electric's annual payment to NIMPA from Rochelle Electric's operating expenses and adds it to debt service instead, thus yielding a lower coverage ratio. This adjustment provides for better comparability across of all municipal utilities, regardless of if generation assets are financed on-balance sheet or off-balance sheet through JPAs. Rochelle Electric's fixed obligation charge coverage ratio dropped to 1.45 times in FY 2012, as NIMPA's debt began to amortize. With full amortization in FY 2013 and FY 2014, the fixed obligation charge coverage ratio decreased again to 1.16 times and 1.10 times, respectively. For FY 2015, we anticipate that the fixed obligation charge coverage ratio may rise
slightly to 1.22 times. Going forward, Rochelle Electric's annual portion due of the NIMPA bonds will be level at $9 million and the fixed obligation charge coverage ratio will continue to be pressured if rates are not adequately adjusted. While the City Council historically has demonstrated a willingness to raise rates, Moody's notes the potential for continued weak coverage levels without sufficient rate increases, given the significant fixed obligations.

KEY INDICATORS
System: Transmission, distribution and generation
Generation ownership in Prairie State Project: 30 MW
Total System Sales, 2014: 316,364 MWh
Top 10 Largest Customers as a percentage of total revenue, 2014: 49.5%
Senior lien revenue bonds outstanding (as of 12/2014):
Series 2005 and Series 2008: $11.285 million (A3/Stable)
Series 2014: $6 million (NR)
Rochelle share of NIMPA debt outstanding (as of 12/31/2013 audit): $129.5 million (25% of $517.87 million)METHODOLOGY SCORECARD FACTORS
Factor 1 - Cost Recovery Framework Within Service Territory: A
Factor 2 - Willingness to Recover Costs with Sound Financial Metrics: A
Factor 3 - Management of Generation Risks: Baa
Factor 4 - Rate Competitiveness: Aa
Factor 5a - Adjusted Days Liquidity on Hand (3-Year Average): 121 days (A)
Factor 5b - Debt Ratio (3-Year Average): 18.4% (Aaa)
Factor 5c - Fixed Charge Obligation Coverage Ratio (3-Year Average): 1.24x (Baa)
Grid Indicated Rating: A2
Notching: -1.0 notch for customer concentration
Scorecard Indicated Rating: A3
Note: The grid is a reference tool that can be used to approximate credit profiles in the industry in most cases.
However, the grid is a summary that does not include every rating consideration. Please see U.S. Public Power
Electric Utilities with Generation Ownership Exposure for information about the limitations inherent to grids.

RMU Begins Cross-Connection Survey

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) requires that all water systems in the State of Illinois have an effective Cross Connection Control Program. Cross connections within the public water supply are a serious concern, as they can allow contaminants or pollutants to enter the public water system through what is called "backflow". Backflow occurs when a drop in water pressure causes your water to flow in the opposite direction. This can allow contaminated or polluted water to flow back into your drinking water. Given IEPA regulations and the dangers that exist from unprotected cross connections, it is necessary to establish and maintain an effective cross connection control program to protect both the integrity of the City of Rochelle's water supply as well as protect the water customers.

One necessary component in this program is a survey of the water system to determine where cross connections exist. A survey is being included with all of the RMU December utility bills. RMU is requesting customers complete and submit the survey to Rochelle Municipal Utilities.

Completed surveys can be returned by one of the methods listed:

• Save the form to your computer "DOWNLOAD" and submit via email to RMU

OR
• Return with utility payment
• Fax to 815-562-5861
• Drop off at one of the drop boxes located at RMU, 333 Lincoln Hwy, Rochelle, IL 61068
• Mail to: RMU, 333 Lincoln Hwy, PO Box 456, Rochelle, IL 61068

Rochelle Municipal Utilities is proud of the water we deliver every day. By working together and cooperating in this critical program, we can further protect our water from potential contamination. Should you have any questions, please contact the RMU Customer Service Department at 815-562-4155.

RMU is introducing a new interactive voice response system to better serve our customers. The system is an automated telephony system that interacts with callers, gathers information and routes calls to the appropriate recipient. During normal business hours, the RMU Customer Service Representatives will still be available to answer calls. However, after normal business hours, the customer will receive voice responses for appropriate situations and have access to relevant data. For example, during a power outage, customers can report an outage and/or receive a message about the location and expected duration of an outage.

The new interactive voice response system will provide customers with more information and help RMU continue to provide excellent customer service.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the RMU Customer Service office at 815-562-4155.

Breif Outage December 1

Monday, 1 December 2014

At approximately 12:18 pm today, a contractor performing maintenance testing on breakers in the Caron Road substation inadvertently opened a breaker that de-energized transformer number 5. This interrupted service to approximately 840 customers in the south and west service area. Service was restored at 12:27 pm.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the RMU Customer Service office at 815-562-4155.

IMG 0471Rochelle Municipal Utilities is pleased to announce the completion of the 312kW Photovoltaic Solar Plant, located at the Water Treatment Facility in Rochelle.

In the Spring of 2014, RMU was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to fund construction of the Solar Plant. ICECF provides grants for up to $2/watt or 60% of the system and its installation costs, whichever is less. As a result of the competitive bidding process, Eagle Point Solar was awarded the project.

"Rochelle's 312 kW Solar Photovoltaic plant is one of the larger Public Power Utility owned plants in Illinois. This plant will provide renewable energy to the water treatment plant" stated Business & Financial Analyst Dan Westin. "Treatment plants require a lot of energy to make clean water. Rochelle will continue to explore financially sound projects in the area of renewable energy."

As a result of this project, Rochelle Municipal Utilities has been selected as a recipient of this year's Northern Illinois Renewable Energy Summit & Expo's "Leadership by Example" award. This recognition is meant to highlight area individuals, businesses, organizations, and Municipalities that have implemented renewable energy projects and practices in Transportation, Utility Scale Generation, Building Integration and Controls Technologies, Green Roofs, Large and Small Scale Solar, PV and Solar Heating/Cooling, Wind, Manufacturing, Waste to Energy and Recycling or Repurposing and more.

Educational tours of the plant are available by calling RMU at 562-4155.

To view the plant's output click here.

RMU Donates Solar Demo to RTHS

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Rochelle Municipal Utilities is pleased to announce the donation of a Solar technology demonstration unit to the Rochelle Township high School (RTHS).

Rochelle Municipal Utility has had a long standing relationship with educational institutions and has provided safety seminars as well as energy savings seminars to the schools in its service area.

The demonstration unit is a standalone solar panel complete with battery storage and an inverter for immediate use for applications in science education.

The unit will be handed over at the Solar Plant Event at the Rochelle Treatment Plant November 7th after the event program at 11 am.

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