Newspaper Archive of
The Ortonville Independent
Ortonville, Minnesota
April 2, 2002     The Ortonville Independent
PAGE 7     (7 of 18 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 7     (7 of 18 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
April 2, 2002

Newspaper Archive of The Ortonville Independent produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

ter Monitor firm answers uently asked questions Monitor, inc., a firm with the manufacture and remote electric and water its operation to in of 2001. Soon purchased the for- Bank Building on Mainstreet and entered the city for its 100 of the city's electric part of the pilot program, has outfitted these a remote read technology, their staff. Usage is then Water Monitor, bills sent individual, and payments the firm as well ts a test to demonstrate the savings in both their company can report was given to Council last month,. report is due next is a summary of com- nestaons that have been citizens, particu- ',the firm's Open House in the pilot to me. October of 2001, Water to the City Council a one hundred electric to demonstrate the feasi- automated meter reading system is used with ietary Internet based customer relationship and billing program. The for the installation of the meters in November of began gathering cod- electric meters month of December and to gather consumption automated basis through to maintain the billing the December were sent, as in the early February. The bills will be sent or very. early in the February con- will be sent in late Participants in lue tO manual- water meters as well as meters, reporting those water and dual heat in manner they have Dual heat meter readings and water meter readings are then combined with the automated meter readings for the electric consumption and WMI sends the combined bills. Payments continue to be made in the same man- ner that residents have become accus- tomed to. At the conclusion of the three month pilot, WMI will make a formal proposal to the City Council for a full fledged rollout of the replacement of all electric and water meters in the City and the outsourcing of the reading, billing and collection functions to WMI, at this point all electric, water and dual meters would be automated. We continue to applaud and be appreciative of the willingness of the City Council to participate in this type of pilot. The participation allows both parties an opportunity to determine the functionality, the value and the overall cost effectiveness of a third- party provider handling one of the critical functions of any municipal utility. WMI is in discussion with more than sixty other municipal utili- ties in a seven state area that have expressed an interest in a similar out- sourced meteng and billing program. The pilot will allow WMI to effective- ly build a case study that will be used in future municipal presentations. 2. How are you going to hire 25 to 30 people in Ortonville and still plan to reduce the cost of billing for the municipal utility? Answer: This may be one of the most common miscon- ceptions or questions we've heard. The primary business focus of WMI is the sales and installation of metering tech- nologies to the Multiple Dwelling Unit (MDU) market. MDUs are apart- taunts, condos and townhomes; there are 35 million of these types of units in the United States alone. Over the past four years we've embarked on the research and development of metering technologies to effectively meter the consumption of water and the applica- ble sewer costs in order to monitor leaks in those units and to equitably and fairly transfer the costs of water and sewer consumption from a proper- ty owner's operating statement to the resident. Not only is there an economic ben- efit gained by the transfer of the costs to the actual consumer but there is also a positive environmental impact. Independent national studies have shown a reduction in consumption of water, in the range of 18% to 48%, when residents pay costs. Our projec- tions to hire 25 to 30 people during the first three years of operation in Ortonvitle are based on handling the explosive growth, not only in the National MDU market segment but also in the municipal metering and billing market segment towns. Projections for 2002 show that in December of this year the WMI Service Center in Ortonviile will be processing approximately 25,000 MDU bills per month and about 2,000 monthly municipal utility bills. Most of our people will be servic- ing the MDU market and another small municipal customer, the city utility of Ortonviile is expected be a small part of the overall 2002 goal for WMI. 3. How much are the new meters going to cost me? Answer: This is a great question and another area of misconception. In our original propos- al to the City Council in May of 2000 the total cost of an installed residential electric meter and water meter was stated as less than $400. Never was there any expectation that residents would be expected to bear the cost of the enhanced meter. 4. How much more is my electric and water/sewer bill going to be? Answer: The pilot program uses pub- iisbed rates and there is no impact to current rates because of a transition to a WMI metering and billing solution. Only those residents who have been consuming more utilities than their meter has been recording might see an increase in monthly costs. 5. How does the automted metering technology work? Answer: This is probably a question better han- dled by our engineering group but I will make an effort to explain the automated technology on a highlevel basis. As stated in the answer to a pre- vious question, WMI's approach is to replace all existing electric and exist- ing water meters with Pew highly accurate meters. Contained in the replacement meters is a communica- tion device that uses PLC (Power Line Carrier) technology, using existing electric power lines to commumcate consumption data from individual meters on a regular basis to gathering instruments that are located in the util- ity substation. From the utility substation the con- sumption data is communicated via a traditional phone line connection or via an Internet connection to the WMI Data Center. That data is then com- piled and analyzed in our MeterReach TM program for further processing. 6. What will my bill look like and will I receive more than one bill? Answer: The 8.5"x 1 !" bill format is copsiderably different than the current format, as the pilot participants can attest to. The trend in utility billing across the country is to provide cur- rent and relevant historical consump- tion data to ratepayers. The WMI for- mat for the City of Ortonville address- es the need for effective comparison of data through the use of graphs, showing current monthly consump- tion as well as previous year and pre- vious months for comparison of clue- tile and water consumption. As in the past there will only be a single bill sent to Ortonville ratepayers, combin- ing the electric, water/sewer and trash charges. 7. Where will I pay my utility bill? Answer: Wherever you've been accustomed to paying your bill should continue or as a pilot participant you can also pay at the WMI Service Center, the only exception is for those who wish to pay with cash; by agree- ment between WMI and the Council those payments are to he paid at City Hall. 8. ! noticed on your software pro- gram a "Senior Rate", what is that? Answer: This applies to trash charges only, with a monthly billing rate of $10 plus any applicable taxes. 9. When does the pilot begin and when will everyone in town be on the new billing system? Answer: The pilot program began with the installa- tion of the !00 electric meters in November of 2001. Meter readings began in December of last year, con- tinued in to January, will continue through February and in to March, with the appropriate billings being sent to pilot participants by WMI in the months of January, February March and very early April. After the completion of the pilot program, WMI will make a formal presentation for a complete implementation of the metering solution and new billing sys- tem to the City Council who will decide if they want to implement our system citywide. 10. Will jol be diminated at City Hall? Answer: In many indus- tries and government operations out- sourced suppliers have continued to grow in popularity because of techno- logical advances and overall cost effectiveness. From the early days of discussions between WMI and the City Council we've committed to the hiring of any displaced workers and we're very cognizant of the fact that pensions and other employee benefits are valuable to long-term and loyal employees and our commitment has been and continues to be that we will work in a very fair and equitable man- ner, so as to not disrupt those benefits. 11. How many other towns have the WMI system? Answer: Numerous rural electric coops and small municipalities employ technolo- gies very similar to what WMI has installed for the pilot and will propose to install for the full-scale implemen- ration. 12. ! know tl is going to cost us more, it always does! Answer: The projected overall economic impact to the City of Ortonville and its residents is an improvement to the bottom line of their utility in the neighborhood of $200,000 to $250,000 per year. As stated before, the upgraded metering technology costs would not be passed along to the ratepayers. A transfer of the reading, billing and collection process to Water Monitor would not impact utility rates. The only manner through which an individual would actually pay more in monthly utilities is if their current meters are reading inaccurately, meaning the actual kilo- watt-hours or gallons consumed are not being recorded. Metering studies have shown that meters in excess of five years in age will actually misread consumption data, allowing for the use of electrici- ty or water without the appropriate charges being applied. Due to the age of meters in certain locations m Ortonville, the taxpayers are bearing the cost of the consumption of those residents currently being metered with ineffective or inaccurate meters. The amount of electricity purchased from a power provider or water pumped and treated is essentially a fixed cost to the Ononville utility, any inaccurate meter reading information is detri- mental to the population as a whole because some residents are actually consuming considerably more kilo- watt hours or gallons than they are currently being charged for. Accurate and reliable metering technology does not impact the overall rates being charged but does fairly charge ratepayers for actual utilities con- sumed. 13. Why do you need meter read- ings every day? Answer: The real value of daily meter readings is to allow WMI's proprietary MeterReacb TM program to detect excessive consumption. This is partic- ularly beneficial in circumstances where an individual may be out of town for an extended period of time or has an appliance or some other electric current consuming device that may be using considerably more electricity due to a malfunction. The WMI "Excessive Consumption Reports" would immediately alert Service Center staffof any spikes in consump- tion. Trouble tickets are generated by the Service Cenfir for appropriate res- olution depending on the severity of the situation. 14. Why did you choose Ortonville for your Service Center location? Answer: This is a question I truly love to answer because it's very simple and the answer has not changed since initial discussions with local business people regarding the possibility of WMI locating a Service Center in Ortonville. The answer is very basic. Ortonville has a very ample supply of individuals with high work standards, an enviable work ethic, with reasonable wage scales when compared to major metropolitan areas. We've been fortunate to acquire a high-quality building at a very rea- sonable cost. The overall economic development efforts being undertaken by local groups lends itself very well to the continued growth of our nationwide call and customer service center and other ancillary businesses in Ortonville, We intend to work with local economic development groups and state economic agencies as well as other non-profit foundations to stimu- late local growth by bringing more jobs and economic vitality to the local area. 15. Will there be visual readouts on the replacement meters? Answer: Absolutely a visual readout is present, through a series of numbers on dials, similar to current meters, that are clearly visible to anyone desiring to view or track consumption data as a manual read. 16. When are you going to hire more people? Answer: As workloads increase we will continue to hire tal- ented individuals to stay ahead of the growth curve. We currently have three full-time employees in the Ortonville Service Center, with Drew Hagquist our CFO spending about 60% of his time here, another six employees are located in the Minneapolis office and another team member who is dedicat- ed to the municipal market is located in Chicago. Projections are for the addition of two local staff members during each of the remaining calendar year quarters in 2002. 17. What is the $7.25 service charge? Answer: This is the City's base charge for residential electric ser- vice, similar to the $14 commercial electric service charge. On the current "green post card" billing format these charges are combined with kwH charges and not specifically identified. (adv.) p.m.) and Amble meeting (9:30 p.m.)- O "''"" in Ortonville April 28-29 - 4-H Camp Counselor 1a'di at Camp Fnaddp " KwlIIs " '  Aprit30- Afterachool Cloverlds lucator 18 or 1-800-279-2518 3UIDELINES for a healthy ts just what we need to with food storage. If we food quality in mind, we a healthy tomorrow. illness is a distinct with the least of our not the best tasting ing information is an, Extension on the food, the prop to store items in the or refrigerator can The information that to help you it's at its best. in the cupboards are is at about 67 buying dry or canned SUre any dates on the not expired. Don't buy cans as they can have letting in bacteria as. store mtoned, dry ort.ginal packages anti products in airtight a few food items you now and their storage 1 year, Canned ; All-purpose flour 15 : ! year, Peanut butter six Lgerate in warm eight months, yearso Corn syrup I year. between l- best slow bacteria foods wrapped from d00ing odors to other be kept in the refrigerator and veggtles stored in the crisper. Keep your freezer at O degrees or lower. L.a! and date all foods that go into the freezer so it is easy to itify the packages and use them vifltn the recommended times. Here are a few example food items and their storage times: Fresh pieces of meat, refrigerate three to five days, freeze four to six months Ground meats, refrigerate one to two days, freeze three to four months Cooked meats, refrigerate one to two days, freeze two to three months Whole poultry, refrigerate one to two days. freeze one year Poultry pieces, refrigerate one to two days, freeze nine months Fish, refrigerate one to two days, freeze three to six months Eggs in the shell, refrigerate three weeks, can't freeze Hard cheese, refrigerate three to four months, freeze six months Butte/, margarine, refrigerate one month, freeze three to six months Remember, whenever you are looking at food you cooked or stored and it doesn't look or smell good, it is better to do as the saying goes, "When in doubt, throw it out!" Dates to Remember: April 18- District Extension Educators' meeting in Morris April 19-20 Shooting Sports Training at Mmris April 20- Horse Judges' Certif'Dtion at Crookston April 2 i-27 - Youth Service Week and National Volunteer Recognition Week April 22 - Livestock Committee Meeting at CMB (6:30 p.m.); followed by Federation Meeting (7:30 Body Shop Collision Repair & pamung il 00t00uon Clalms Guaranteed/ one mile ninth of Ogtonvllle oa llwy. 7 (next to Stoux Historic Pavtllon} in Clinton May 4 - County Sheep Weigh-ln Former resident officiator ashamed of calls-non-calls Waves take down Sioux Falls, end season at state tourney Big Stone Lake Area's Waves hockey team showed Sioux Falls High School what they were made of at a game early last month, where the locals came away with a big 5-3 win. "This was a pretty big day for us." says Hockey Association President and Wave parent Brad Sbeistad. "I'd say it was the best game we' ve played all year." Donna Julius-Raihle of Bloomer, Wl offers her comments today of the recent State cage touny: *It !gts* "Ortonville should be very proud of what the team and coaches attained this year in their season. Hold your heads up high and feel proud for taking second place in state tournaments." "Graduating and playing sports in Ortonville I have always enjoyed keeping track and asking how the teams are doing. 1 was really impressed by both the team and the fans who supported the Trojans. Living in Wisconsin, getting to any events is difficult but I was able to attend both games bringing my 6- year-old daughter with. It was a thrill to see how much orange and black there was and seeing many alumni and fans showing their support for the. boys." "The team itself was also impressive to watch, not only the talent they had but also the sportsmanship shown on the court and off. Ononville should be proud to have such a fine team as they were representing Ortonville Trojans." "Being an officiator for High School Basketball in Wisconsin I must say it was the poorest officiating I have ever seen." "Knowing the rules of the game and blowing the whistle when fouls, traveling, etc. need to be called, I found it VERY FRUSTRATING seeing calls not made and if they we &ll. do very improperly. As aa officiator I know myself I will miss some calls to be made but calls made on the game Saturday. were done in an unprofessional manner." "I wish success to each member of the team and for those players who are moving on and graduating, fee! proud knowing that you played excellent games.". ! "Also, you as parents of the p_t_aye. }hank you for supporting. ugm. tsemg there in their aches and pains, cheering them on in their success and failures, bringing ,up ome .very fine young men. ononvttte as a town should also:be proud and know you have a fine community." A fan In Wisconsin!" All team members saw ice time as Brian Sheistad scored two of the Waves' goals and added an assist. Nick Thymian, Josh Benck and Cole Arndt each contributed one goal. Goalie Zach Kafka topped 90 per- cent in saves, giving up just three goals from more than 30 shots on goal by Sioux Falls. "They all played their hearts out," Sheistad adds. March 14--16, the Waves headed to state competition where they first faced Pierre, SD, taking the loss. Watertown was next, who also defeat- ed the Waves to end their season. The team will be holding an awards night next Tuesday, April 9, honoring seniors and other award winners from this year's uad. 2002 noninsured crop disaster assistance deadline announced and paid the applicable application fees by close of business April 18, 2002 in order to-have coverage effec- tive for this crop year," Schneider stated. "In addition, all 2001 NAP crop yields must be reported to the FSA office by April 18, 2002 in order to count toward the NAP Actual Production History (APH). All 2002 APH yields must be dates I 2oo, r eported__orby tl. application closing coverage which vary by crop," Schneider added. Any person who wishes to obtain a copy of the proposed regulations may do so by accessing the Government Printing Office web site clicking on GPO Access; Federal Register; 2002; Tuesday, March 19, 2002; Commodity Credit Corporation; TEXT. A! 1 comments should be sub- mitted as directed in the proposed rules and must be received by April ! g, 2002 to be considered. Any producer with questions should eonract their local FSA Office. Scott Schneider, County Executive Director of the Big Stone County FSA Office announced today that the fed- eral regulations governing the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) have,been published effective March 19, 2002. AS a result of this publication, the deadline to apply for 2002 NAP coverage has been established as April 18, 2002. "All producers in Minnesota who raise NAP crops need to have filed an application for coverage in their coun- ty Farm Service Agency (FSA) office had strong performances by many, led by the seniors, at NDSCS last week. Jesse Clods had two firsts and a fourth in the high jump. He won both the 60 yard  with a record tyirtg performance of 6,55 in the finals and in the 220 yard dash with a 24,7, Jesse was one tenth of one second from tying the indoor record. He  high jumped without practice at 5 6 to placeehu'th. Blake Sclmaieg is starting  left off in Sub-Sections mrowmg me shot 44' 9 !/2" for first place. Hilary Libka placed third !n the 800 meter run, almost breaking the indoor record, and helped the young two mile relay team place third four seconds off their school's record. Lisa Spors, Megan Croatt and Ashley Nelson are also on that team. OHS had three in the finals of the 60 yard dash with Ryan Cloo.s. taking second behind his. brother wire a o. and Brian Vanorny in sixth with 7. !. Brian also placed in the 220 y,arddash. gyan Clods also was one nan inch off his personal best in the shot put with a 36'9" throw. With very few practices, the vaulters did well with " Eric Collins fourth and Nick Stolpman Ortonville Trojan track team opened season at N DSCS Ortonville's Trojan "thin clads" fifth in the pole vault at 9'6"-9'0". some outstanding starts, as well as some of the younger members from last year, Cody Ringsaker, a seventh grader, won his heat in the 60 and 220, Milva and Milka Valdez had their first indoor and did well, Ashley Nelson placed sixth in the 1600 meter run and Fain Peterson, a seventh grad- er, ran under seven minutes. Jesse Westermeyer is about 35 sec- onds ahead of last year when he ran at 5:44. Kirby Athey had a P.R. already in the 1600 meter and Dustin Beacbem, a seventh grader, also set a ER. in the 1600. Jason Pfleger threw the shot about a month ahead of last year and he also ran on the 3200 meter relay team that placed with Jason, Matt Thyne, Jesse Westermeyer and Smart Stone. Andy Domine and Bill Voecks also had a good meet and both will help team in individual and'relays, as well as field events, The team hopes to be at full strength by the end of next week, or at* least have everyone practicing, The next meet is an  at Lac  Parle, which should be possible if weather warms up a bit:. For the girls, Megan Croau had a 6"6". Nicole Henrich placed third in the high jump. Courtney Kriese, an eighth grader, placed third in the 60 yard intermediate hurdles. The boys are just learning and made it through the race for the first time which was Blayn Ronglion and Michael Stone. Amanda Croatt also placed in the triple jump at 27' plus. The mile relay teams both placed, and consisted of Matt Thyne, Biayn Ronglien, Henry Domine and Stuart Stone for the boys. The girls were an all eighth grade team of Kira Sherod, Megan Croatt, Courtney Kriese and Ashley Nelson. Kira and Megan both ran very good split times. The girls four lap sprint relay team also placed with Amanda Croatk Lisa Spots, Hilary Libka and Anna Sherod. Sarah LaVoi placed in the shot put with a 31'I" throw for third. But, Jessica Chase had a 28'Y', which is better than what she threw at confer- ence. Rebecca Hillman is about where she was in May last year as are the others. So. the team has a great nucleus again, both in the boys and girls, Some of the new members had 2, 2oo2 INDEPENDENT Page 7