PSC draft decision affirms district’s power to choose electric supplierThree years have passed since New Richmond Utilities and St. Croix Electric locked horns over the question of who should supply power to the new high school campus in New Richmond.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
Three years have passed since New Richmond Utilities and St. Croix Electric locked horns over the question of who should supply power to the new high school campus in New Richmond.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has finally issued a preliminary finding in the matter, suggesting that it’s up to the School District of New Richmond to decide who the electric supplier should be.
Prior to construction of the high school, district officials decided to select St. Croix Electric over the city-owned utility due to cost considerations. The district contended that, because the high school property was adjacent to St. Croix Electric’s service area, it could hook up with them.
City officials, however, claimed that because the high school building was within the city limits, New Richmond Utilities should have first crack at providing electricity to the campus.
The recent decision by the PSC sides with the district. At present, the decision is a draft document and comments are accepted prior to its final approval.
City Administrator and Utilities Manager Dennis Horner said the city is formulating a response, but he doesn’t expect the decision to be altered.
“Of course, we’re disappointed,” Horner said. “Plus it took more than two and a half years (for a decision to be made). That was frustrating too.”
School Superintendent Morrie Veilleux said the district always believed it had the right to choose and the decision confirms that belief.
If the draft decision stands, Veilleux said, it’s a relief to have the matter decided.
“It’s another thing off the pending to-do list,” he said. “It will be good to put it behind us.”