Decorah Power is kicking off a feasibility study to investigate the opportunities and potential challenges of a Decorah Municipal Electric Utility (MEU).
NewGen Strategies and Solutions, LLC, is a management and consulting firm serving the utility industry across the country. Their project team includes experts from four states, and they also will be partnering with Dave Berg Consulting of Minneapolis, Minn. to conduct the study.
“We are thrilled to have such a highly qualified, nationally-respected team to help us analyze our options for investing in the future of our community”, said Larry Grimstad, president of Decorah Power. “We are confident they will be able to give us sound information upon which we can base future decisions.”
Decorah Power brought the idea of investigating a MEU to the Decorah City Council in March. The Council voted unanimously to approve Decorah Power conducting the feasibility study if it could do so with privately raised funds. The Council appointed Councilmember Steve Luse as liaison to Decorah Power during the process.
“The rest of this year will be an important learning process for all of us,” said Decorah Power representative Tabita Green.
“We believe the economic development and stewardship opportunities of a municipal electric utility are powerful, but we also realize there could be very significant challenges. The study and a parallel series of invited speakers and workshops should help to clarify those opportunities and potential challenges. We welcome input from all members of the community.”
A request for proposals was issued in March, and six proposals were received from firms around the country. Decorah Power has retained Bob Haug, former director of the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, for technical help through the study process.
“Bob Haug's expertise is critical as is the support of our local and Des Moines legal counsel. Having their assistance during this process will ensure the study is done right, and done well,” said Decorah Power representative Joel Zook
“We are excited about what a municipal electric utility could bring to Decorah. This study is the first step to quantify those benefits and also outline the cost of obtaining and maintaining a power supply system. It is our hope that the study will show a municipal utility is a viable option. Decorah could join 136 other Iowa communities—including New Hampton, Waverly, Cedar Falls, and Ames—served by a municipal electric utility.”