BOC Level II Training begins September 5 in Rochester

SMMPA and its member utilities will host a monthly Building Operator Certification (BOC) Level II training series beginning Wednesday, September 5, 2018. Each of the six classes in the series is scheduled to be completed in one-day, except HVAC Troubleshooting & Maintenance, which is a two-day class. You can find more information here.


Participants who complete each class exam, along with the assigned projects, will have the opportunity to take the national certification exam to become BOC certified. Those who complete the class without taking the national certification exam will earn a Training Certificate of Completion.


Classes will be hosted at the Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) Service Center, 400 East River Road NE, Rochester, MN, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuition for the series is $1,200 and breakfast, lunch and refreshments will be provided.


Customers of Austin Utilities, Owatonna Public Utilities, Rochester Public Utilities, Otter Tail Power Company, Missouri River Energy Services or Minnesota Energy Resources may be eligible for a rebate upon successful completion of the training. Additionally, there is a $200 discount for veterans that register for the series. Email Alyssa Payleitner at for the discount code.


Registration is available online by visiting, by phone at (312) 784-7243, or by emailing Alyssa Payleitner at

Rochester Public Utilities Former Director of Power Resources and Customer Relations Receives Individual Achievement Award

Walter "Wally" Schlink, former Director of Power Resources and Customer Relations at Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) in Minnesota, received the James D. Donovan Individual Achievement Award at the American Public Power Association's national conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. This Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the electric utility industry and to public power.

Wally began his public power career working on the front lines as a journeyman maintenance technician. He became Director of Power Resources and Customer Relations at RPU. Wally's roots allowed him to relate to employees at all levels while instilling a sense of pride and commitment to customer service. He was active with the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) and served on many working groups. He also served on the American Public Power Association's board of directors and chaired the Association's DEED board and its Engineering and Operations section.

"We congratulate Wally on this well-deserved recognition of his contribution to the broader public power community and also thank him for his significant contribution to SMMPA," said David P. Geschwind, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of SMMPA.

Wally retired from RPU in March of 2018, leaving a legacy of mentorship and collaboration.

Say hello to "Current"

SMMPA has combined its former newsletter FACTS with its quarterly financial report to create a new publication called Current.  This edition highlights the beginning of commercial operation of SMMPA’s new Owatonna Generating Station, an update on the SolarChoice Community Solar program and some perspective on cyber security.  Current is available here and in the Financials section of the website.


If you would like to be put on the mailing list to receive Current directly (either by mail or electronically via email) please click here and provide your name and mailing or email address.

SMMPA makes significant progress in reducing its carbon footprint

The issue of climate change is increasingly in the news and SMMPA is asked what it has done to reduce its carbon footprint.  In cooperation with its eighteen member utilities, the answer is quite a bit - as in 5.5 million tons of CO2 reductions since 2005.  Learn more about SMMPA’s specific actions in a new brochure titled:

Our Commitment to Sustainability – Reducing our Carbon Footprint

SMMPA and its Members Partner With ENERGY STAR’s Flip Your Fridge Campaign


Now’s the Time to Flip Your Fridge and Save!  Recycle that old energy wasting refrigerator and replace it with a new ENERGY STAR® certified model.  You’ll save energy and you can save even more with a utility rebate!


SMMPA member utilities offer rebates of $25 on the purchase of new ENERGY STAR Refrigerators, plus an additional rebate to pay for recycling your old working refrigerator.


Rebate forms are available by clicking here and selecting your utility.


Refrigerators that are 15 years or older use twice as much energy as a new ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator.  Replacing that old energy-wasting refrigerator with a new ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator could save you more than $270 in energy costs over the next five years.  Learn more and get guidance choosing the right refrigerator for your home here:


Flip Your Fridge to ENERGY STAR, the simple choice for energy efficiency!

Rating Agencies Affirm Their Ratings on SMMPA Bonds

The three major credit rating agencies, Moody's Investor Services, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), and Fitch Ratings, have affirmed their ratings and outlook on the Agency’s debt.   

  • Moody’s: A1, Stable outlook
  • S&P: A+, Stable outlook
  •  Fitch: A+, Stable outlook

In each case, those ratings are the highest single “A” rating available from the various rating agencies. 


The A1 rating by Moody’s reflects “the sound security provisions provided under all requirements, take-and-pay power purchase agreements with credit worthy participants, the weighted average credit quality of the participants in the A rating category, SMMPA's essentiality to municipal electric utilities, and high levels of liquidity,” Moody’s said in its report.


If you would like to read more about what the rating agencies have to say, visit the Financials section of our site.

Agency Signs 100 MW Wind Contract

Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) recently signed a power purchase agreement with EDF Renewable Energy (EDF RE) to buy 100 megawatts (MW) of wind energy from the Stoneray Wind Project in Minnesota beginning in 2020.


Thanks in part to recent transmission upgrades throughout in rural areas of Minnesota, this project, located in Southwestern Minnesota was propelled forward. Construction is expected to commence in early 2018 on the nearly 50 wind turbine project, with hopes of having the facility commercial operational by December 2018.


The project should boost the local economy by bringing an expected 150+ construction jobs and 10 long-term, full-time positions in addition to the millions of dollars in economic benefits to the local area.


“Stoneray Wind is a big addition to SMMPA’s diverse renewable energy portfolio,” said SMMPA Executive Director and CEO Dave Geschwind, . “We’re glad to be working further with EDF RE to provide more Minnesota wind energy to our Members and economic benefits to southern Minnesota through this important project.”

Former Owatonna Mayor receives APPA honor

Thomas Kuntz, mayor of Owatonna, Minnesota, received the Spence Vanderlinden Public Official Award at the American Public Power Association’s national conference in Orlando, Florida. This award recognizes elected or appointed local officials who have contributed to the goals of the American Public Power Association.

Mr. Kuntz spent 31 years with Owatonna Public Utilities in Minnesota before retiring in 2003. That same year, he was elected mayor of Owatonna. Having already been an active participant in American Public Power Association events, he redoubled his efforts from the perspective of a local policymaker. Mr. Kuntz joined the Association’s Policymakers Council in 2006 and served as chair in 2015 and an ex-officio member of the Association’s board of directors. He also served on the board of directors for PowerPAC—the Association’s political action committee. Regionally, Mr. Kuntz is active with the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, serving on its board from 1997 to 1999 and as its president from 1999 to 2001.