City Council. The approval from the city was received shortly thereafter. Then, in July 1950, based on a recommendation from the City Council, it was agreed to separate the bookkeeping of the Utility Commission from the city. One person was to be employed to keep the books and furnish the city with the appropriate statements and reports.
A wonderful example of the local control of public power occurred in late 1950. Although they were aware of electric system maintenance needs and plans were already in place, the Utility Commission had 26 customers from the Charlesburg area present at its October meeting to discuss their concerns of low voltage with their electric service. The Utility Commission explained that changes would be forthcoming. At the November 1950 Utility Commission meeting it was reported that three booster transformers and two capacitor banks were installed in the West Rural System and a new distribution line was being constructed to transfer load to the STH 57 line.
Price increase battles begin
Electric Superintendent Harold Loeser resigned on Jan. 3, 1951 and was replaced by Mills Keithley on April 1, 1951. Mr. Keithley managed at the Utility until he turned in a letter of resignation on Oct. 21, 1954. During his tenure, Superintendent Keithley battled Wisconsin Public Service Corporation petitions to raise wholesale prices by over 20 percent.
With Superintendent Keithley’s departure, George H. Kane was hired as electric superintendent on Dec. 16, 1954. Mr. Kane spent a fair amount of his first years working on power supply issues with Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPSC). In October 1955, an Electric Energy Agreement was accepted between New Holstein Utilities and WPSC. Then, in early 1956, WPSC informed New Holstein of plans to change to a 12,400 volt delivery system from 2,400 volts and offered a new proposal to supply electric service directly to New Holstein customers (specifically Tecumseh Products). On Feb. 15, 1956, the Utility Commission quickly acted to contact engineering firms to study the Tecumseh Products site and the Utility’s distribution system.
On March 15, 1956, a motion was passed to accept the recommendation from Carl Crane Inc. Consulting Engineers to change the electric distribution system from 2,400 volts to 12,400 volts three-phase. With that approval, a flurry of investment into the electric distribution system was started. Within one month, a bid was accepted from the Federal Pacific Electric Company for $85,125 to purchase a 3750 KVA transformer, metal clad switchgear, switches, instrument transformers, meters and relays. Contractors were hired to help make the system improvements. By the fall of 1956, Tecumseh Products was provided with electric service at the higher voltage. Additional investment continued into 1957 so the rural lines could be upgraded as well.
As most of the work was completed in the city, a large windstorm struck the area in July 1957. Some of the infrastructure was damaged and 45 streetlights had to be replaced. The storm produced over 20 outage calls. Because of the large financial commitment, city offi-cials requested the Utility to cut back on spending for the remainder of the year after the storm damage was repaired. By late 1961, the total electric distribution system conversion to the higher voltage was completed.
The decision to increase the electric system voltage proved to be a wise one as there was very good growth in the community starting in the late 1950s. Large transformers were purchased for the K&R Restaurant, Salvatorian Printery, and Arps Corporation. In August 1958, the Utility Commission adopted a change in the rate schedule to include a Primary Discount provision when a customer takes the entire electric service at the supply line voltage at one point. During the period of growth, the Utility established new high electric demands, and annual Kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption increased by double-digit percentages.