City getting new electric switching station

The Waterloo City Council last week amended a power sales contract with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency and Ameren to extend an additional transmission delivery point to Waterloo.

A new Ameren switching station, located along HH Road, and construction of a new 34.5 kV line, will benefit the city by improving the overall reliability of the existing looped electric transmission system, Waterloo public works director Tim Birk explained.

At the completion of the project, Waterloo will be tied to a ring bust system in the Ameren switching station that will support three separate 34.5 kV lines. This will provide more dependable service for Waterloo, Birk said, thus reducing transmission outage exposure and improving delivery voltage.

The cost for constructing 1.5 miles of the 34.5 kV line extension and connection equipment at the switching station is just more than $1 million.

Birk said that, weather permitting, the city’s electric department hopes to start the project before the end of this year and complete it within six months, or early next spring.

In other city council news, alderman Steve Notheisen reported that an appeals process initiated by Waterloo and five other cities in the bi-state area was successful, resulting in future savings on natural gas costs.

Mississippi River Transport is the pipeline that transports gas to the city. MRT had requested a 147 percent increase by raising rates and reclassifying small customer transports such as Waterloo, Notheisen explained.

A group of municipalities protested this increase to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Notheisen said.

“Even though MRT was able to raise their rates (37 percent), we were able to avoid the huge increase we were facing,” Notheisen said.

By appealing the rate increase, Waterloo was able to save its customers about $168,000 in additional gas costs.

The 37 percent increase will cost Waterloo customers about one or two dollars per month, depending on usage, Notheisen said.

City finance director Shawn Kennedy reported that video gambling revenue to the city was $764 in August.

“The city started out receiving about $500 a month, and it has slowly been rising,” she said.

Waterloo receives 5 percent of the net wagering activity, and the establishment gets 35 percent, the owner of the machines gets 35 percent, and the state gets 25 percent.

The city council also approved the re-appointment of Robert Buettner to the planning commission, and the appointment of Stan Darter to the property maintenance board of appeals.

During Monday night’s meeting, Birk said the city is replacing its street lights with new LED lights, which should result in energy savings.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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