It was Election Day, June 20, 1912, and the following question was posed to the voters of the Village of New Holstein: “Shall the Village of New Holstein have electric lights.”
At the end of the day, 231 votes were cast with 152 (65.8 percent) voting “yes.” With those favorable votes, the history of New Holstein Utilities began.
During the remainder of 1912, money was raised and infrastructure was constructed to provide electricity to the community. On Monday, Dec. 23, 1912 at 4:45 p. m. the electric streetlights were turned on for the first time. On Jan. 3, 1913, the H. N. Edens residence was the first home to receive electric service. Shortly thereafter, Bach and Nett was the first business to have electricity.
In 2012 New Holstein Utilities (NHU) is proud to be celebrating its Centennial. The community-owned and operated utility now provides electric service to over 2,500 residential, agribusiness, commercial and industrial customers in the city of New Holstein and parts of five surrounding townships.
Save the date
New Holstein Utilities is planning to celebrate their Centennial with several events in 2012. The main event to commemorate the Centennial will be held on Friday, May 18. NHU is planning a picnic-style dinner at Civic Park in New Holstein for its customers. A short program will be held immediately after the dinner. A dance will be held following the program. In order to get an accurate count for the dinner, NHU customers are being asked to RSVP. More details will be communicated to customers in April and early May.
No major plans for 2012
Over the past several years, at least one of NHU’s departments had a major infrastructure project planned. That will not be the case in 2012. However, NHU staff will still be busy working to ensure customers have safe and reliable utility services.
The Electric Department spent quite a bit of time this past winter tree trimming; their efforts should help keep outages to a minimum during the upcoming storm season. The Electric Department will also continue working in the rural areas of the service territory this year in order to upgrade some of the distribution system that is aging.
The Water Department will continue to replace water meters and conduct cross-connection inspections. State regulations require that the cross-connection inspections be completed to ensure that possible contaminants caused by potential back-ups from customer-owned plumbing do not occur. Staff continues to install water softeners to new customers and maintain the 1,400-plus units that are installed throughout the service territory.
The Wastewater Department currently has an engineering firm conducting a facility study of the wastewater treatment plant. The wastewater plant’s blower infrastructure is aging and the facility study will provide options to replace the infrastructure. The facility study will also assist NHU to begin to plan for the possibility of having to implement methods to remove additional phosphorous from waste products received at the wastewater treatment plant if stricter mandates are passed by the State of Wisconsin.
Customer programs changed...
New Holstein Utilities continues to offer a wide variety of programs to its customers; however, in late 2011 and in 2012 some of the programs have seen some changes. New Holstein Utilities continues to be a participant in the Wisconsin Focus on Energy (FOE) program. In 2011, new administrators were selected for the FOE program and they began to implement changes to their energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Many of these changes offer more value to NHU customers. As an example, FOE now will be coordinating the recycling of refrigerators and freezers. The FOE contractor will be available for more days and hours to pick up the energy intensive units. For more information on the programs available through Focus on Energy, please visit www.focusonenergy.com.
After years of operating their own program, New Holstein Utilities also opted into the statewide energy assistance program in late 2011. In evaluating their own program in 2011, NHU staff felt that their customers could receive more value if NHU participated in the statewide program. And during the 2011-’12 winter heating season, NHU customers received more assistance through the statewide program than they could have received from a NHU run program.
Within the next couple of months, residential customers will be receiving a Home Energy Report. The personalized report will provide customers with utility use information, tips on how to use electricity and water more efficiently, and availability of financial incentives to increase a home’s energy efficiency. Through the use of the Home Energy Suite on the utility’s Web site, customers will be able to analyze their usage and determine where savings can be achieved.
…and some remain the same
New Holstein Utilities will continue to offer its familiar programs in 2012. For the residential customers, the Tree Power Program and Central Air Tune-up Program will be available shortly. The Energy Star® Partners Rebate Program is in full swing offering incentives for the purchase of qualified refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, televisions and programmable thermostats.
Incentives are also available for NHU’s agribusiness, commercial and industrial customers. These customers should contact NHU’s energy services representative if they have interest in improving their energy efficiency. Through a collaborative effort with FOE, NHU was able to assist Metko Inc. in receiving a $33,814 rebate earlier this year. NHU continues to offer its Shared Savings Program to qualifying business customers. These businesses may borrow from $2,500 to $50,000 at a very low interest rate and repay in monthly installments on their utility bill based on the projected energy savings.
Three $500 scholarships are currently being offered to graduating seniors by New Holstein Utilities and their wholesale electric provider, WPPI Energy. Applications are due on May 1, 2012 and are available on NHU’s Web site or at their office.
New Holstein Utilities continues to offer easy payment options to their customers through budget billing, automatic payment plan and an online payment program.
As a community-owned and operated utility, New Holstein Utilities encourages their customers to visit their Web site at www.nhutilities.org,stop by their office or call them for information on their programs and services, or any questions or concerns they might have. New Holstein Utilities is looking
forward to having their customers (the