Over the past two years, several major projects have been completed at New Holstein Utilities (NHU), so the staff at the local utility is welcoming the opportunity to work on projects that are not quite so time consuming in 2016.
The Electric Department has been busy working on upgrades to the electric distribution system in the rural areas. Water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades were completed on Mason Street in 2014. Last year, a new blower/ pump building was constructed at the wastewater treatment plant.
The new building and process equipment at the wastewater treatment plant have been in operation since early November 2015. The upgrades have been well received by the NHU staff. As the project was completed late in the year, the landscaping must be completed. New Holstein Utilities is hoping for an early spring so the contractor can get the landscaping finished. Although $2.2 million was spent on the construction and upgrades, NHU received a principle forgiveness grant of over $300,000, plus energy efficiency incentives of over $67,000 for the project. An open house is being planned for Thursday afternoon, June 9 and Saturday morning, June 11. The NHU staff will be conducting tours of the facility to educate the public on the operation of the plant. More details on the event will be available later this spring.
The utility and the City of New Holstein continue to work together to identify joint infrastructure projects. In 2016, the water and sanitary sewer infrastructure will be replaced on a section of State Street, from Calumet Drive to Plymouth Street. The street will be resurfaced upon completion of the utility projects. At this time, it is anticipated that the utility work will begin immediately following the 4th of July holiday with completion by Friday, Aug. 5.
Electric work planned
The Electric Department will continue to work on projects that will improve the integrity of the electric distribution system. Work will be completed this spring that will provide NHU with options to better serve customers west of Irish Road and north of CTH H. Three projects are scheduled to be completed within New Holstein to replace aging underground infrastructure.
Customers of New Holstein Utilities continue to be active participants in energy efficiency programs that are available directly from the utility or through the statewide Focus on Energy programs. Residential customers of New Holstein Utilities continued to show interest in energy efficiency. Through Focus on Energy, customers took advantage of incentives to install energy efficient furnaces, thermostats, renewable energy systems and recycled old appliances. Others benefitted from in-store incentives on CFLs and LED light bulbs at local retailers. In total, New Holstein residential customers received incentives of almost $17,000 and will save an estimated 267,000 kWhs annually, or just over $30,000. In addition, through NHU’s own incentive program, customers purchased more than fifty Energy Star® rated appliances, purchased approximately 170 strings of LED holiday lights and received more than $2,700 in rebates.
New Holstein’s business community also continued to invest in energy efficiency. Based on installations of energy efficient lighting, HVAC equipment, variable speed drives, and other new technologies in 2015, NHU business customers could save almost 800,000 kWhs annually from those installations. Focus on Energy paid New Holstein business customers over $54,000 in incentives last year.
This year has the potential to be another good year for securing energy savings. Focus on Energy has announced a new Simple Energy Efficiency Program which provides a free kit to residential customers who live in a single family dwelling or a multi-family dwelling of three units or less. The kit includes LED light bulbs, efficient shower heads, and faucet aerators. If you did not participate in the Express Energy Efficiency program of two years ago and you meet the residency requirement as noted above, call 1-866-543-9303 to order your free energy savings kit. If you need more LED or CFL bulbs, you can visit your local retailer and look for the Focus on Energy logo to find products that offer instant discounts. With the ever improving LED technology, incandescent and even some CFL bulbs are seeing less and less shelf space. Look for the LED bulbs to take over the market within the next several years.
Incentives for various items
Focus on Energy also offers residential incentives for efficient furnaces, boilers and smart thermostats, renewable energy systems such as solar electric and geothermal (they also have a renewable energy loan program) and home improvements that include insulation and air sealing. For more information on Focus on Energy residential programs, call 800-762-7077 or visit https://focusonenergy.com/residential.
New Holstein Utilities continues to offer incentives for the purchase of Energy Star® rated appliances including clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers, televisions, and room air conditioners. Just look for the blue Energy Star logo when shopping for a new appliance—incentive applications can be found at the NHU office (located at the New Holstein City Hall) or online at www.nhutilities.org.Funding is limited for the incentive programs and the incentives will stop when funding is no longer available.
Over the past several years, another popular program for NHU customers has been the lighting and electronics recycling service. NHU sponsored just one event last year but it was highly successful. In one day we collected 136 televisions, over 800 light bulbs and lamps, 70 pounds of various batteries, and several thousand pounds of electronic goods.
The next recycling service day is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11 from 7:30 a. m. to 5 p. m. at the New Holstein Utilities garage located on Park Avenue. New pricing for 2016 will be $15 for a television and $10 for a CRT computer monitor. More information will be available as the event gets closer.
New Holstein Utilities continues to offer its customers easy payment options which include budget billing, automatic payment plan, and an online payment program (available through its Web site for a fee). Customers may also pay the NHU office using a VISA, Discover, or Master Card credit card. A user fee is charged for the use of the card as per a requirement by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.
Students graduating from high school this year are encouraged by New Holstein Utilities to apply for one of three $500 scholarships that will again be awarded this year. The scholarships are awarded by NHU and their wholesale power supplier, WPPI Energy of Sun Prairie. Applications are available at www.nhutilities.orgor at the NHU office. The deadline to return the applications is Monday, May 2.
Customers are encouraged to contact New Holstein Utilities with their questions, comments or concerns regarding any of the utility’s products and/or services. The telephone number is 898-5776. The NHU office is located at New Holstein City Hall and is open Mondays through Fridays from 7 a. m. until 4:30 p. m. Information also can be found on their Web site at www.nhutilities.org.