By Clay Schuldt
NEW ULM - Sean Fingland was sworn in as the newest member of the Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday. Fingland replaces Norman Melville who vacated the position last month.
The PUC approved a lease agreement with Midwest Wireless, doing business as Verizon Wireless, to place 12 antennas on the airport water tower for cellular service. City Manager Brian Gramentz credited Kris Manderfeld for putting the lease together and working with the city attorney's office to ensure the contract met legal standards. The antennas will be installed after the water tower is painted. The annual rental rate for 12 antennas is approximately $34,000 or $2,833 per month.
Commissioners authorized a change order increasing the contract amount on the plant construction of the Back Pressure Steam Turbine Project. It increases the project by $7,869. This project involves installing the AirClean Technologies Back Pressure Steam Turbine (BPST) generator and control systems in the power plant.
In another development, the PUC learned that an appeal was filed regarding natural gas consumption at a residential property obtained through foreclosure. The natural gas meter had the seal mechanism removed and was allowing natural gas to be used. Prior to the foreclosure finalization, the meter had been sealed and neither the bank nor PUC approved the unsealing.
Upon receiving the first bill the bank requested the meter be resealed and made an appeal requesting the natural gas charges for March and April be dismissed.
However, Gramentz said city ordinances clear say that unless an error has been made in computation of the bill or a mistake in the meter reader, the charges cannot be adjusted. In light of this incident sealed meters will now continue to send monthly readings and Public Utilities will be able to detect future problems.