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Erika Cox and Diana Broderson

Erika Cox, left, Muscatine Power and Water's director of employee and community relations, explains the utility's fiber-to-home initiative to Muscatine Mayor Diana Broderson in October 2017.

There's another delay in completing Muscatine Power and Water's Fiber to the Home Project.  The completion date has been extended another 30 days to Feb. 2, 2020, it was announced during Tuesday evening's meeting of the Board of Water, Electric, and Communications Trustees.

Only 38% of customers have been converted to the all fiber system, reported Erika Cox, director of customer and technology experience.  She said the project's contractor, Georgia-based Atlantic Engineering Group, has had difficulty in providing crews for the underground work because of the nationwide demand for such crews and the need to correct previous quality issues.  "As of now, the project is not adequately resourced," Cox told the board. "Underground drop crews are our biggest concern right now."

Cox said around 60 installations per week are being completed.  "My expectation is at the mid-September time frame we'll see a ramping up of installations," she said.

The board went into closed session to discuss potential litigation regarding the project.  Back in open session, no formal action was taken on the matter.

Seeing the light

The multi year project of converting Muscatine's streetlights to LED bulbs is completed, General Manager Gage Huston announced.  The project was supported by federal programs and grants, and savings in energy and maintenance costs are anticipated.

"It's a more attractive light," Huston commented.  "Good cost savings going forward for the community.  It improves our community without negative impact."

Financial report

All three utilities at Muscatine Power and Water outperformed their respective budgets for the first six months of 2019.

The Electric Utility was budgeted to lose $2,384,754 through June.  Instead, profit of $310,452 was posted with a closing balance of $64,913,000 and no debt.

Profit of $135,716 was budgeted for the Water Utility. Actual profit was $200,391 with a closing balance of $5,599,000 and debt of $14,525,000.

Profit of $835,886 was budgeted for the Communications Utility. Actual profit was $1,270,735 with a closing balance of $9,506,000 and debt of $15,237,000.

In other business

  • The board ratified June expenditures and transactions totaling $11,502,621.
  • The board accepted the Unit #9 Turbine Roof Replacement Project, estimated to cost $200,000, as complete at a final cost of $159,900.  The contractor was advance Builders Corp. of Cedar Rapids.
  • The board set bid opening for August 29 and public hearing for Sept. 24 for the 69 kV Duct Bank and Conduit Installation Property Contract, part of the Mississippi Drive Corridor Underground Phase 1 Project.

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