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13069 Orono Parkway
P.O. Box 430
Elk River, MN 55330-0430
Phone: 763.441.2020
Fax: 763.441.8099
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History

100 Year Anniversary Video

Click Here to View of Copy of A History of Elk River Municipal Utilities


Fast Facts on the history of Elk River Municipal Utilities

•     June 1915, Fred Waterman secured the necessary money and incorporated the Elk River Power and Light Company.
•     On January 20, 1916, power was first provided by the Elk River Power and Light Company.
•     The original plant generated hydroelectricity with a single, 200-horsepower turbine engine and was located just upstream     from the Main Street Bridge, across from today’s existing power plant.
•     The original plant could supply power enough to light 97,500 sixteen candlepower incandescent lamps.
•     The cost to the customer was a maximum rate of twelve cents per kilowatt hour with a minimum charge of one dollar per month.
•     Within a month of initial operation, the initial part-time service was increased to 24 hours a day, except on Sundays from 8 a.m., to 4 p.m., and had a peak load of 70 kilowatts.
•     Within a year of initial operation, service was extended to Zimmerman, and within two years, a substation was constructed in Zimmerman and service extended to Princeton.
•     Plant operators worked twelve-hour days to earn $35 a month. In 1920, the municipal water system was established, supplied by a 310 foot deep well.
•     In 1945 City Council issued a $70,000 bond referendum to purchase the company for municipal ownership.
•     Officially, the “Elk River Public Utilities” was first created on July 11, 1947 when the Village of Elk River adopted a resolution creating a Water, Light, Power and Building Commission and appointed its first three members: V.B. Skellinger, Otis Nickerson, and C.F. Meyers.
•     The name was changed to Elk River Municipal Utilities in about 1949.
•     By the mid-1970s, new power plants had come on line in the region, and with it inexpensive power that could be purchased more cheaply than it cost to produce it.  Because of this, the power plant was maintained only for auxiliary purposes.
•     A Landfill gas-to-electric generating plant was constructed and began operation in October 2002, supplying power by recycling the methane gas produced from the decomposing garbage.
•     Currently, there are four engines at the power plant representing a capacity of 9,000 KW that are maintained for auxiliary purposes. All of the power is purchased from Connexus and then distributed to approximately 8500 customers.
•     The utility serves Elk River as well as parts of the communities of Dayton, Big Lake Township, and Otsego.
•     In 2013, Elk River Municipal Utilities provided approximately 273 million kilowatt hours of electricity (with a peak load of over 61 MW), and 709 million gallons of water.
•     Currently, there are seven wells that serve Elk River.
•     The Landfill contributes approximately 26 million kilowatt hours, or 10% of Elk River’s needs.
•     In May of 2004 Elk River Municipal Utilities moved its office from 322 King Avenue to 13069 Orono Parkway to share a campus with the city offices, police department, and fire department.