Energy Alert Information

Potential risk of electric service interruptions this summer across our region

As summer approaches, regional operators of the electric grid are projecting an elevated risk of electricity shortages in our area. These projections are due to:

  • Warmer than normal forecasted temperatures.
  • Greater amounts of intermittent renewable generation, such as wind and solar, in the current power supply mix that may not be available when needed.
  • Retirements of fossil-fueled power plants that can fill the gap when the wind doesn’t blow, or the sun doesn’t shine.
  • Public policy driving the pace of change to clean energy faster than new technologies can be developed to fill the gap.

Electricity is a unique product in the fact that the generation of electricity must be kept in balance with the usage of electricity at all times. Under normal conditions, regional grid operators ramp generators up or down to match the demand for electricity. If the demand for electricity outpaces available generation, then grid operators issue Energy Alerts or even Energy Emergency alerts to balance the electric system to avoid catastrophic failure of the grid.

If Energy Alert or Energy Emergency conditions occur this summer, regional utilities will run all types of available generation to prevent electrical outages. Should such an event occur, Willmar Municipal Utilities is prepared to run our local generators, and we may call upon local businesses that have generators to do the same. Other steps include operating our load management system, which cycles air conditioners and water heaters off and on for brief periods.

During an ENERGY ALERT, WMU will ask you, our customers, to reduce your energy use as much as possible to help us avoid outages. Some of the ways you can help are turning up your thermostat a few degrees, close your drapes or blinds to keep the sun out, shut off all unnecessary lights and equipment, and delay using large appliances like ovens, washing machines and dishwashers until later in the evening.

If these and other measures are not successful, the regional grid operator will issue an ENERGY EMERGENCY.

This will require that utilities initiate a series of controlled temporary outages, or rolling blackouts, to maintain the stability of the electric grid. In that situation, Willmar Municipal Utilities will methodically shut off electrical circuits in the community, one after the other, with outages expected not to last more than 2 hours.

If you rely on life support equipment in your home, please let us know as soon as possible at 320-235-4422.

Although we can’t control energy emergencies, Willmar Municipal Utilities and our power supplier, Missouri River Energy Services, are prepared to do everything possible to keep the lights on and keep homes and businesses running.

Please listen for radio announcements on local radio stations, KWLM 1340 AM, KQIC 102.5 FM, KOLV 100.1 FM, and KLFN 106.5 FM, and follow us on Facebook for updates and information.

WMU would like to extend a sincere THANK YOU in advance for doing your part.

Coloring Fun!

2024 Scholarship Opportunities

Energy Alert August 24, 2023

WMU declares an ENERGY ALERT to conserve energy until 9:00pm Thursday, August 24, 2023.

This request comes from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which operates the energy market and controls electrical reliability for our region. MISO has issued a Level 2 Energy Emergency.

Reduce your energy use as much as possible to help us avoid outages. You can help by turning up your thermostat a few degrees, close your drapes or blinds to keep the sun out, shut off all unnecessary lights and equipment, and delay using large appliances like ovens, washing machines and dishwashers until later in the evening.

If these and other measures are not successful, the regional grid operator will issue an ENERGY EMERGENCY.

This will require that utilities initiate a series of controlled temporary outages, or rolling blackouts, to maintain the stability of the electric grid. In that situation, Willmar Municipal Utilities will methodically shut off electrical circuits in the community, one after the other, with outages expected not to last more than 2 hours.

If you rely on life support equipment in your home, please let us know as soon as possible at 320-235-4422.

Although we can’t control energy emergencies, Willmar Municipal Utilities and our power supplier, Missouri River Energy Services, are prepared to do everything possible to keep the lights on and keep homes and businesses running.

Please listen for radio announcements on local radio stations, KWLM 1340 AM, KQIC 102.5 FM, KOLV 100.1 FM, and KLFN 106.5 FM, and follow us on Facebook for updates and information.

WMU would like to extend a sincere THANK YOU in advance for doing your part.

WILLMAR MUNICIPAL UTILITES RECOGNIZED AS A RELIABLE PUBLIC POWER PROVIDER

[Willmar, MN, May 3, 2023]— Willmar Municipal Utilities has once again earned a Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3)® designation from the American Public Power Association for providing reliable and safe electric service.

The RP3 designation, which lasts for three years, recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement. Criteria include sound business practices and a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity. Willmar Municipal Utilities joins 271 public power utilities nationwide that hold the RP3 designation.

“Receiving an RP3 designation is a great honor signifying a utility has demonstrated commitment to industry best practices,” says Troy Adams, Chair of APPA’s RP3 Review Panel and General Manager at Manitowoc Public Utilities, Wisconsin. “And ultimately, the culture developed from this pursuit of excellence and continued improvement through the RP3 program results in measurable value delivered to the local community.”

“We couldn’t be prouder to be honored with this designation, this is the 3rd award, covering 9 years of recognition.” said John Harren, General Manager of Willmar Municipal Utilities. “This is the culmination of a lot of work from a lot of people who really care about powering our community, but this designation is not a final destination. We are committed to continuing to look for ways to improve our operations and services to our customers.”

The American Public Power Association has offered the RP3 designation for 18 years now. APPA is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 49 million people in 2,000 towns and cities nationwide. APPA advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends, training, and operations.

WMU Recognized for Reliable Electric Service to the Community

WILLMAR, MINNESOTA – April 10, 2023 — Willmar Municipal Utilities (WMU) has received national recognition for achieving exceptional electric reliability in 2022. The recognition comes from the American Public Power Association (APPA), a trade group that represents more than 2,000 not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities. WMU is a member of Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) and one of sixteen of their public power utility members to have earned this national recognition for 2022.

“It’s encouraging to see year after year that public power’s track record for providing highly reliable service is backed up by data,” said APPA Director of Research and Development Paul Zummo. “These utilities are the best of the best when it comes to keeping the lights on. And these communities should be proud of their local power providers and appreciate the hard work that goes into earning this recognition.”

“Customers place a high value on reliable electric service, and it’s also a top priority for MRES and every member,” said Tom Heller, President and Chief Executive Officer of MRES. “Our members take great pride in receiving this recognition. It is a testament to the hard work of all their lineworkers and utility staff in each of these communities to ensure that they keep their local community powered.”

Electric reliability is measured using four different metrics. The 2022 results for these MRES member utilities were significantly better than those of other types of utilities in the region in every category. According to the APPA, the average U.S. electric utility customer experiences 140 minutes of interrupted electrical service per year without any major Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers IEEE events. For WMU, this number is just 24.3 minutes per year. Nationwide, the average public power customer has their lights out for less than half the amount of time that customers of other types of utilities do. This shows the great value that municipal utilities provide to their community.

“Reliability is part of the mission statement of WMU, and staff are dedicated to this mission. Recognition from the APPA highlights the benefit that municipal utilities provide to their community.” said John Harren, General Manager at Willmar Municipal Utilities.

Welcome to the New WMU

Scholarship Opportunities

Please see the below information regarding scholarship opportunities for high school seniors.

Willmar Municipal Utilities has increased its scholarship amount for 2023 to award three (3) $1000 scholarships to essay contestant winners. This is a great opportunity for your students as it is a LOCAL scholarship. This opportunity is open to high school seniors whose parents or legal guardian(s) are current customers of Willmar Municipal Utilities. One of the essay’s will be chosen and submitted to the Minnesota Municipal Utility Association’s Tom Bovitz Memorial Scholarship for a chance at additional scholarship dollars.

Submission deadline: March 20th, 2023

View WMU Scholarship Details/Application

Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), our power supplier, has an opportunity for five (5) $1000 scholarships which may be renewed for up to three additional years. This scholarship is open to high school seniors of any MRES member utility (Willmar Municipal Utilities customer) that plan to pursue careers related to the electric industry.

Submission Deadline: March 15th, 2023

View MRES Electric Industry Scholarship Flyer

Click Here For More Information On the MRES Website

Missouri River Energy Services has another opportunity for up to seven (7) $2000 scholarships to any student enrolling in an electrical lineworker or powerline program at eligible technical colleges (Students do not need to be a Willmar Municipal Utilities customer).

Submission Deadline: March 15th, 2023

View MRES Linework/Powerline Scholarship Flyer

Click Here For More Information On the MRES Website

2022 Customer Newsletter

Minnesota Crews Return Home

Minnesota crews returning from mutual aid efforts in Bartow, Florida

On Friday, September 30, crews of municipal utility lineworkers and support staff assembled by the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) arrived in Bartow, Florida to assist in restoring power to customers and repairing damage caused by Hurricane Ian. The crews initially headed to Kissimmee, Florida, but the storm diverted from its projected path, leaving the city’s power systems with less damage than predicted. The MMUA-led crews were then requested by officials on the ground to assist in Bartow.

Each of the four crews included a seasoned journeyman lead, which made crew dispatch more efficient in tackling the diverse challenges they encountered. The damage in Bartow was widespread with mature oak trees blocking roadways, broken poles, wire on the ground, and power outages for thousands of utility customers. Over the weekend, 117 municipal utility workers from across the country, including the 40 members of the Minnesota crews, worked to restore power to citizens. On Wednesday morning, October 5, the Minnesota crews began their trip home after being released by the city of Bartow. MMUA thanks the utilities and communities of Alexandria, Anoka, Austin, Brainerd, Buffalo, Elk River, Marshall, Missouri River Energy Services, Moorhead, New Ulm, Owatonna, Rochester, Shakopee, and Willmar for answering the call to assist hometown power in Florida.

WMU SAFTEY AWARD FROM APPA

WILLMAR MUNICIPAL UTILITIES HONORED WITH NATIONAL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING SAFETY PRACTICES WASHINGTON, D.C., March 29, 2022

– Willmar Municipal Utilities has earned the American Public Power Association’s Safety Award of Excellence for safe operating practices in 2021. The utility earned First Place award in the category for utilities with 30,000-59,999 worker-hours of annual worker exposure.

“In our industry, safety is the top priority,” said Bob Scudder, Chair of APPA’s Safety Committee and Industrial Hygiene and Corporate Risk Manager at Grand River Dam Authority. “This is a commitment that needs to come from the top down and permeate every aspect of operations. These awarded utilities have embraced this priority, and they deserve to be celebrated.”

318 utilities from across the country entered the annual Safety Awards. Entrants were placed in categories according to their number of worker-hours and ranked based on the most incident-free records during 2021. The incidence rate, used to judge entries, is based on the number of work-related reportable injuries or illnesses and the number of worker-hours during 2021, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“Willmar Municipal Utilities values employee safety above all else,” said John Harren, General Manager of Willmar Municipal Utilities. “We all recognize the importance of going home to our families each day; this is what drives our dedication to safety.”

The Safety Awards have been held annually for more than 65 years. APPA is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide.