Cities find success with water heater programs

Howard and Volga offer Marathons at discounted price

When a water heater fails, the purchase of a new one typically happens quickly. Not a lot of time is available to research the best model if you want to avoid cold showers.

Some public power communities are making the decision of which heater to buy a little easier, and the purchase more convenient. The cities of Volga and Howard, SD offer Rheem Marathon water heaters for sale at the local utility.

Marathons feature 2.5” of polyurethane insulation, reducing heat loss for greater energy efficiency. They also feature a seamless, blow-molded plastic inner tank, so they won’t rust or corrode. Multiple layers of filament wound fiberglass give the tank unmatched strength and advanced circuitry ensures the heating elements only turn on when surrounded by water, prolonging their life.

They also offer a lifetime warranty, making it the last water heater a homeowner will have to buy. The purchaser simply has to register the heater on the Rheem website to qualify.

Rebates available

water heater

Heartland began offering rebates to residential and commercial customers in 2015 for installing electric water heaters with a lifetime warranty. Marathon water heaters are the most popular brand fitting that description.

The program was developed because it was seen as a win-win: the customer had an efficient water heater with a lifetime warranty and the utility saw an increased electric load. They are also a great fit for a load management system.

Currently, Heartland offers a $200 rebate for the purchase of a water heater 50 to 79 gallons. For water heaters 80 gallons and larger, a $400 rebate is available.

Since Heartland began offering rebates on water heaters, customers in both Volga and Howard have qualified for a proportionately large number of rebates.

Heartland provided rebates for the installation of 291 water heaters from 2015 through 2021. Of those heaters installed, 89 were in Howard and 76 in Volga. The installations in those communities represent 56% of total installations, with 30% in Howard and 26% in Volga.

drone shot of Volga, South Dakota
Courtesy City of Volga website


The city of Volga has been selling Marathon water heaters as far back as 2010.

The city offers both 50- and 85-gallon models, offering discounts to the customer on both. Fifty-gallon water heaters are offered at a price of $768.50, a discount of $368.50 from the city’s cost to purchase. With the $200 rebate from Heartland, the customer pays $568.50. The 85-gallon water heaters are sold for $1,165.50, which includes a discount of $365.50. After the rebate, the final cost to the customer is $765.50.

The city attributes the success of the program mostly to word-of-mouth. While the information is available on the city’s website, they don’t actively promote it.

“The developers in town are aware of the program and they usually tell the homeowners,” Deputy Finance Officer Brooke Johnson said. “The local plumbers also promote it and tell customers to come to the city when they need a new water heater.”

To make it as convenient as possible, the city will deliver the water heater at no extra cost.

To get the discounted pricing, the customer must have the water heater hooked up to the city’s load management system. This helps keep the city’s peak demand down, which keeps the city’s costs down.

City Electric Superintendent Chad Collins says the program is worth continuing because minimal time is taken by city staff to run it. The city orders water heaters as needed, more when they know a new development is in the works. Because the tanks are so efficient, they don’t get complaints about them being controlled through load management.

“The majority of people in town get them because it’s convenient as we can deliver them the same day,” Collins said. “With the rebate and city’s discount, they are cheaper than buying one in the store, and they will most likely never run out of hot water with a Marathon.”

Exterior of a municipal building and library in howard south dakota


Howard has also been selling Marathon water heaters for over ten years. The city originally started the program with the idea that it was a good customer service – since customers purchase both water and electricity from the city, efficient water heaters seemed like a good product to sell at a discount.

Like Volga, the city of Howard doesn’t advertise the Marathon program. Word-of-mouth is the main advertising tool. Local plumbers are aware of the program so when they get a call from someone needing a new water heater, they refer them to the city.

“We stock both 50- and 85-gallon heaters at the city shop,” said City Administrator Tyler Genzlinger. “The 50-gallon models are more popular. Once our stock gets low, we just put in another order.”

Typically, the installing plumber picks the water heater up. The convenience of having them available for same-day delivery is a big selling point, as well as the price.

Including the rebates offered by Heartland, Howard sells the water heaters for about half price. A 50-gallon heater costs the purchaser $487.77 after rebate while an 85-gallon model costs $576.

In order to qualify for the discounted pricing, the water heater must be hooked up to the city’s load management system.

“There’s not a lot of work on the city’s part,” Genzlinger added. “The main thing is ordering them and having a place to store them. It’s a great customer service to offer.”

water heater

CEO’s Report: Offering programs designed to add value to your community

Heartland offers an array of customer service programs to promote growth, encourage the efficient use of electricity and protect utilities from cybercrime.

In some cases, programs are offered to our customer utilities. In others, we partner with our customers to provide incentives to their retail customers.

Our programs are not new. However, many of you are. As we continue to see new faces in many of our customer communities, it is important for us to provide reminders of how you can utilize these programs for the betterment of your community.

Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to give you the 101 on our programs and how we can partner to help your community thrive.

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Heartland offers a variety of incentives to encourage new businesses as well as assist with business retention and expansion.


The HELP Fund, or Heartland Economic development Loan Program, utilizes money from USDA’s Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) to promote growth and development in Heartland customer communities.

The HELP Fund can be used by businesses in customer communities to help with expansion, job creation or other entrepreneurial activities. Heartland customers and their local development corporations can apply for funding to finance infrastructure improvements or prepare for growth.

The program also promotes local lending institutions by requiring participants to partner with them for financing. This provides risk distribution and allows Heartland to better utilize the local banks’ expertise and resources.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of the HELP Fund is the fact that it’s revolving. Every dollar lent through the program returns a profit for Heartland in interest. Every dollar we make is put right back to work in our customer communities.

Growth Incentives

Heartland customers can apply on behalf of their retail customers for electric rebates on new and expanding loads.

Qualifying businesses are eligible for up to a 50% rebate on their electricity bill in the first year of operation, 35% in the second year and 20% in the third. The rebates end up equating to about one year’s worth of free power after the three-year period.

While certain minimum qualifications apply, Heartland knows that starting a new business can be tough, and the idea is to help reduce electricity expenses during those first few startup years, allowing businesses to focus on operations.

Energy ONE Incentive

The Energy ONE Incentive is designed to entice large loads to operate in a Heartland community. The program offers an energy-only rate for new or expanding retail loads with a demand of one megawatt or larger.

Heavy users of electricity typically pay a separate demand charge to have energy capacity available to them at all times. Since it can be difficult for a new business to estimate what its monthly demand will be, the Energy ONE Incentive eliminates this concern for the first few years of operation.

In customer communities with a population of 3,000 or less, new loads of 500 kW or larger may be considered for the incentive rate.


Heartland customer communities and their local economic development corporations can apply for economic development grant to spark growth and development. A community project that promotes economic prosperity, supports new business opportunities or improves the social and economic well-being of local residents may qualify for the grant program.

Grants have been awarded to assist with infrastructure improvements, community signage, city building upgrades and daycare facilities, to name a few.

Should you have questions on Heartland’s economic development program, reach out to Director of Economic Development Casey Crabtree.

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Power Forward

Heartland created a rebate program to entice retail customers to make energy efficient purchases. While the program has evolved over the years, the goal of helping use electricity more efficiently has remained the same.

Rebates are currently offered for purchasing efficient lighting, water heaters, electric heating and cooling systems and commercial refrigeration systems and components.

Heartland manages the rebate program by approving applications and distributing funding to customer utilities once per quarter. Customers are ultimately responsible for distributing those funds to their customers.

Applications for the various rebates are available on Heartland’s website.


Similar to economic development, Heartland offers grants to customers for making efficiency improvements at city facilities. Grants have been awarded in the past to assist with street lighting upgrades, lighting at city facilities or other efficiency improvements at city-owned buildings.

Questions on Heartland’s energy efficiency programs can be directed to Chief Communications Officer Ann Hyland.

cybersecurity graphic

A lot of utilities are under the misconception that if they don’t offer online bill pay, they aren’t at risk of being hacked. Or they think they are too small of an operation to be a target. Some might think having an anti-virus software is good enough or that their IT company has it handled.

The truth is, if you have a connection to the internet, you are at risk.

Heartland takes the cybersecurity of our municipal utilities seriously and works with industry partners to provide professional services to ensure your utility is secure.

Questions on Heartland’s cybersecurity program can also be directed to Ann Hyland.

Other Offered Services

In addition to these programs, Heartland offers assistance to customers in a variety of other ways. Customer Relations Manager Kelly Dybdahl is often out and about visiting customers and providing needed help.

We also host meetings throughout the year to offer education on topics relevant to our industry. We keep an eye on legislative issues both at the state and national levels and work with qualified lobbyists to ensure our customers’ interests are protected.

We continually evaluate all of our programs and services offered and look for new ways to serve you better. As always, if you have suggestions or questions, we encourage you to reach out.

We strive to be a valued partner to you, our customers, and look forward to continually adding value to your communities.

Sunshine Foods recognized as champion of energy efficiency

Sunshine Foods owner Dan Roemen
Sunshine Foods owner Dan Roemen has invested thousands of dollars in energy efficiency upgrades over the past decade.

Grocery stores are an important amenity in any community. Convenient access to quality food and fresh ingredients are vital to a town’s success.

Sunshine Foods is a pillar of the Madison, SD community. The family-owned grocery store has served the area since 1998 and employs 70 full and part-time staff.

Several years ago, owner Dan Roemen started looking at his electricity bills and wondered what he could do to reduce costs.

“Anytime we can lower overhead, it benefits the customer,” he said.

The process of making upgrades to the store began, which has resulted in a 27% reduction in the store’s electricity usage.

The city’s power supplier, Heartland Consumers Power District, recently presented Sunshine with the Excellence in Energy Efficiency Award for their efforts.

“Heartland has long promoted energy efficient measures,” said Heartland Chief Communications Officer Ann Hyland. “Using electricity more efficiently requires up-front costs, but benefits the customer in the end. We are proud to recognize Sunshine of Madison and their efforts.”

Upgrades lead to savings

Once he decided to start making changes, Roemen recalled someone telling him about LED lights and their potential for savings.

“The price of LEDs had been coming down, which made it more affordable to install them,” he noted.

Grocery store checkout lanes

The lights are on at Sunshine about 18 hours a day, seven days a week, making it a major portion of the electric bill and a simple way to reduce costs.

He began replacing some of the store’s overhead fluorescent lights with LED bulbs. When replacing lights, they also noticed they could take out a bulb in each fixture and still get the same amount of light as the old fixtures.

“We made the switch, and I could see the savings almost immediately,” he said. “From there, it almost became a little bit addictive to make a change and watch the bills shrink. It’s kind of fun.”

Today, nearly every bulb in the store is LED as well as in the outdoor signage. They were also able to take advantage of rebates offered through the city and Heartland to help defray the costs.

From there, Roemen also began upgrading coolers, fridges, and freezers, installing units with doors in the produce section to contain the cool air. The doors have anti-sweat controllers to ensure the doors don’t fog up, otherwise blocking the view to what’s inside. A controller to run the refrigeration system more efficiently was also installed.

While making efficiency upgrades, Roemen also installed new flooring, self-checkout stations and other amenities to create a more pleasant experience for shoppers.

Exterior of Sunshine Foods Grocery store
Nearly every light in and outside Sunshine Foods is now LED, including the parking lot lights.

Investment in the community

Since beginning improvements in 2013, Roemen has seen a savings of about 420,000 kWh on his electric bill each year. That has resulted in $30,000 in savings annually, a reduction of about 27%

“Reducing operational expenses helps with overall cost control,” Roemen said. “We strive to keep prices affordable, and this is one way we can achieve that.”

Sunshine is one of the top ten highest consumers of electricity in Madison, according to Utility Superintendent Brad Lawrence.

“If they can lower their consumption, it helps reduce the city’s peak, which helps keep our costs down as well,” Lawrence said.

Heartland presented Sunshine the award in conjunction with Public Power Week, celebrated October 3-9. Both Heartland and the city of Madison are public power utilities. The week is designed to celebrate the advantages of locally owned, non-profit utilities.

“We want to see businesses in our customer communities thrive,” added Hyland. “Investments like the Roemens made in Sunshine help ensure the business continues to operate and serve the community for years to come.”

Heartland is based in Madison and provides wholesale power and energy to municipal electric systems throughout South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. In addition to reliable power supply, Heartland offers a suite of customer service programs to benefit locally owned public power utilities.

Featured image above: Officials from the city of Madison and Heartland recently presented the Excellence in Energy Efficiency award to Sunshine Foods owner Dan Roemen. Pictured, left to right: Roemen, Madison Utility Superintendent Brad Lawrence, Heartland Director of Economic Development Casey Crabtree, Heartland Chief Communications Officer Ann Hyland, Heartland Customer Relations Manager Kelly Dybdahl, and Madison Mayor Marshall Dennert.

refrigeration section of a grocery store
Roemen upgraded to high efficiency coolers throughout the store.

Heartland grants help projects move forward

Heartland awards nearly $50,000 in economic development and energy efficiency grants

Heartland customers have access to grant funding for qualifying projects in their communities. Targeting economic development and energy efficiency projects, Heartland grants often bridge the gap between project vision and reality.

In recent months, Heartland awarded eleven grants totaling $48,600. The money helped cities upgrade street and facility lighting to LED. It also supported community development projects plus infrastructure and equipment upgrades.

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Economic development and energy efficiency grants are part of Heartland’s suite of customer service programs. With these programs, Heartland provides municipalities with resources to help them promote growth and expansion as well as promote the more efficient use of electricity.

New ownership brings dramatic transformation to Plankinton Roadside Food and Fuel

Heartland incentives aid in facelift, growth

The South Dakota Mail contributed to this story

Great ideas can present themselves in unusual places. The key is to act upon them.

While Cory Tobin was working cattle in his pasture one day, an idea hit him.

He called John Neuheisel, long-time owner of the Roadside Station in Plankinton, SD, to see if he would consider selling the store. John invited him in to talk and the two made an important connection.

Tobin’s idea was about to become reality.  Neuheisel believed his station, where he spent most of his life, would be in good hands with Tobin and his wife Shannon.

On May 20th, 2019, the Tobins officially became the new owners of Roadside Station. That’s when the real work began.

Facelift offers added conveniences

The Tobins spent a lot of time with general contractors to form a new vision for the station. The design plans were finalized in November and left in the hands of a trusted friend, Matt Schultz Construction of Parker, SD.

The entire building was transformed into an open space, combining dine-in facilities with convenience store items, as well as a place to gas up and refresh. With the new look, a new name was given – Roadside Food and Fuel.

The gas station underwent a major transformation, pictured here before and after.

Renovation included a new kitchen with fryer, grill and broaster.  Everything in the station is new, except for a dependable 1969 walk in cooler.

Both hot and cold food items are now offered throughout the day, from early morning breakfast to fresh-made salads, sandwiches, appetizers, and broasted chicken. Lunch specials are offered during the week.

Pam Van Gorp whips up freshly-made deviled eggs in the building’s new kitchen. Photo courtesy The South Dakota Mail.

A new drive-up window was added on the west side of the building for customer convenience. This includes picking up to-go food orders, as well as convenience store items. Tobin says it will also be useful in a January blizzard when customers can simply drive up and ask for any in-store item without having to get out of their vehicle. 

Fully stocked shelves and coolers of snack items and refreshments fill the north portion of the building, as well as automotive items and household sundries. 

In the south portion of the building is a refreshment and coffee bar, cold case, casino and fully renovated restrooms. Two brightly umbrellaed bistro tables are featured in the front for outdoor dining. 

Rebates help with upgrades

All new LED lights were installed in the building to replace outdated halogen and fluorescent fixtures. The energy efficient, brighter lights qualified for rebates from Heartland’s energy efficiency program, Power Forward.

The station received over $700 from Heartland in commercial lighting rebates.

The station was also able to take advantage of Heartland’s growth incentive program. New and expanding businesses are eligible for rebates on their electric bills equating to one year’s worth of free power over a three-year period.

The station was able to start taking advantage of the incentive in the third quarter of 2020, after renovations were complete.

In the first two quarters since becoming eligible, they have received over $4,000 in growth incentives.

“The Tobins have done a remarkable job with Roadside Food and Fuel,” said Heartland Chief Communications Officer Ann Hyland. “They essentially created a new business with something to offer everyone in Plankinton as well as those passing by on the interstate. Heartland is excited to see their positive impact on the community.”

LED lights brighten up the interior. Photo courtesy The South Dakota Mail.
Family affair

Roadside Food and Fuel is a quick and easy stop off Interstate 90 with quality Sinclair petroleum in addition to the new food offerings.

Twelve full- and part-time workers were added to the 7 original Roadside employees who stayed on. 

Some members of the Roadside crew: Pia Pryor, owner Cory Tobin, and Beth Thomas. Photo courtesy The South Dakota Mail.

The entire Tobin family has been active in managing the store as their sons Hadley, Griffin, Cain and Will have all taken an active role at the business, whether it be working in the kitchen, stocking shelves, or sweeping floors.

Hints of Plankinton nostalgia can be seen and felt at the Roadside with dining tables crafted from flooring from a former local grocery store floor. The Tobins also hope to add signage from local Main Street businesses to the interior décor to continue the hometown feel.

Tobin credits the success of the business to their employees. He is also appreciative of his business mentor, former owner John Neuheisel, for working the past year at the station, offering institutional knowledge and guidance.

Tobin is proud to be from Plankinton and is looking forward to playing an active role in the future of the community. “We’re all stewards of these businesses,” he says.

Heartland earns Award of Continued Excellence

Heartland and the City of Tallahassee Electric Utility in Florida have earned the 2021 Award of Continued Excellence (ACE) from the American Public Power Association’s Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) program.

Read the story from APPA here.

Featured image: Heartland staff with the APPA award. Pictured from left to right is Accountant Sharla Fedeler, Director of Human Resources Theresa Schaefer, Director of Market Operations McCord Stowater, Director of Economic Development Casey Crabtree, CEO Russell Olson, Chief Communications Officer Ann Hyland, Executive Assistant Katie Hahn, and Customer Relations Manager Kelly Dybdahl.

Auburn projects receive financial boost from Heartland

City’s power supplier awards grants for streetlights, landscaping

With beautiful parks and a charming main street, residents in Auburn, Iowa are proud of their community.

Local officials hope to maintain that appeal by tackling projects aimed at quality of life. Two long-term goals include upgrading street lights to LED and enhancing Main Street landscaping.

Both projects recently received a boost from the city’s electric power provider, Heartland Consumers Power District.

Heartland invests in its customer communities through energy efficiency grants to improve efficiencies at city facilities. Economic development grants are offered to help improve the quality of life in a community, support new business opportunities or promote economic prosperity.

Heartland awarded the city two grants totaling $6,635. The money will help the city make major strides towards completing both projects.

Streetlight upgrades

Auburn has a total of 73 street lights. The city began upgrading the lights from high pressure sodium to LED in 2016.

LED lights provide many benefits over the old fixtures. The bulbs last longer, use less energy and produce less heat. They also provide a brighter, whiter light.

Heartland awarded the city $1,635 to assist with upgrading the remaining lights. The last leg of the project will save the city over $3,200 per year. The project will pay for itself in savings in just over one year.

Landscaping project

Auburn completed a major street project in the business district in 2012. Though much-needed, the upgrade uprooted much of the city’s beautiful landscaping.

The city has budgeted money every year since then to restore the natural façade. Residents and community groups have also lent a hand by trimming trees, planting flowers and weeding.

Heartland provided the city a $5,000 economic development grant to buy trees, shrubs and landscaping supplies. The grant strengthens the city’s efforts while easing the burden on taxpayers. It also frees up funds for other important projects.

Partnering for progress

The Auburn city council approved a new contract with Heartland in December, making them a long-term customer which made them eligible for the company’s incentive programs.

“We are excited to partner with Auburn and help these projects reach completion,” said Heartland Chief Communications Officer Ann Hyland. “We are proud to invest in the communities we serve and look forward to more collaboration in the future.”

Heartland first began supplying Auburn with wholesale power and energy in 2015. The original contract had a ten-year term. The new contract provides savings over the existing, as well as stable pricing for the next 20 years.

Featured image: Heartland awarded the city of Auburn a $5,000 economic development grant and a $1,635 energy efficiency grant to support two local projects. Heartland Customer Relations Manager Kelly Dybdahl, far right, presented the grants to Auburn Clerk Tammy Nuckolls and Public Works Superintendent Robert Rath.

Utility partnership helps drive upgrades at Tony Downs Foods

Sustainability is key at Tony Downs Foods of Madelia, Minnesota. Investments are made regularly to reduce waste and drive positive change.

That includes investing in efficient equipment to conserve energy and create a healthy workplace.

Tony Downs produces several quality products you see regularly on your grocery store shelves. The company started over 70 years ago and today is a leader in fully cooked protein processing and co-packaging of frozen entrees.

The Madelia plant makes canned, pouched, and frozen chicken, and some beef, pork and turkey.

Expanding Operations

Tony Downs recently purchased another building in Madelia to expand operations.

Several measures were taken to conserve energy and increase efficiencies before production started at the new building.

All lighting was upgraded to LED from inefficient metal halide and fluorescent fixtures. LEDs use about half the energy of metal halides to deliver the same amount of light, and last about seven times longer. LEDs use about 20% less power than fluorescents.

They also installed an efficient process pump with variable speed control to replace 3 inefficient pumps. Pumping systems account for a large portion of energy use in industrial processes. A more efficient system decreases unnecessary power consumption.

A step-down transformer was also installed which lowers the voltage of electricity before it enters the facility. This provides reduced energy losses.

All told, Tony Downs expects to save around $58,000 on their electric bills annually by making the improvements.

Rebates help offset costs

To help offset some of the upfront costs of making the improvements, Tony Downs received rebates from both Madelia Municipal Light & Power (MMLP) and wholesale power supplier Heartland Consumers Power District.

MMLP provided the company a $25,000 rebate through their Conservation Improvement Program. The utility works with Frontier Energy to provide free consultations to commercial businesses on how to improve efficiencies, ultimately providing costs savings.

“Competitive businesses in Madelia like Tony Downs Foods are the livelihood of the area,” said Chris Trembley, manager of Madelia Municipal Light & Power. “We are proud to offer Frontier Energy’s expertise at no cost to the customer. Lowering energy use and demand is an excellent way for local businesses to strengthen their bottom lines.”

Tony Downs Foods utilized rebates to make energy efficiency upgrades at their facility in Madelia, MN. From left to right: Heartland Customer Relations Manager Kelly Dybdahl, Tony Downs Foods Plant Manager J.J. Kruchek, Madelia Municipal Light & Power Manager Chris Trembley, and Frontier Energy Engineer Margit Barot.

Heartland issued a rebate to Tony Downs for $7,500 as part of their energy efficiency program, Power Forward. Heartland offers incentives to commercial customers of municipal utilities who are Heartland customers.

Rebates are offered for improving lighting, refrigeration, heating and cooling systems, and water heaters.

“Increasing efficiencies is essential to productive operations and Heartland is proud to play a small role in helping companies like Tony Downs achieve their goals,” said Heartland Chief Communications Officer Ann Hyland.

Tony Downs is a family-owned company with 450 employees in Madelia and 1,000 in southern Minnesota.

Energy Emergency Alert update for February 16

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 3 starting this morning at 6:15 a.m. The emergency alert means electric generation in the region is not sufficient to meet the extreme and widespread demand for electricity. SPP began temporarily shutting down power, otherwise known as rolling blackouts, in order to reduce demand on the system. Several utilities throughout the region were affected.

SPP currently has enough generating capacity available to meet system-wide demand. As of 12:31 p.m. Central time SPP has downgraded the EEA to Level 1. This is declared when all available resources have been committed to meet obligations, and SPP is at risk of not meeting required operating reserves.

SPP previously declared a move from EEA Level 3 to EEA Level 2 at 11:30 a.m. Central time. 

SPP’s forecasts anticipate that due to high load and persistent cold weather, it is likely its system will fluctuate between EEA levels over the next 48 hours.

Additional blackouts may take place this evening into tomorrow to reduce stress on the system.

While unfortunate, these steps are taken to protect the grid and prevent outages due to system damage, which could take days or weeks to repair.

Heartland continues to ask customers to take necessary steps to conserve energy. Delay or discontinue use of appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. Turn your thermostat down. Shut off unnecessary lights and discontinue use of space heaters.

SPP is a regional transmission organization that oversees the bulk electric grid and wholesale power market in the central United States on behalf of a diverse group of utilities and transmission companies in 17 states.

Auburn renews contract with Heartland

The city of Auburn, Iowa looks forward to stable electricity prices for the next twenty years. The city is extending their power supply contract with Heartland Consumers Power District through 2040.

Heartland began supplying the city with wholesale power and energy in 2015. The original contract had a ten-year term. Heartland approached the city about extending to continue taking advantage of stable pricing.

“Heartland has taken several actions over the last few years to provide affordable power to customers for the foreseeable future,” said Heartland CEO Russell Olson. “We are excited to make Auburn a long-term customer and continue our relationship.”

The new contract provides savings over their existing contract, as well as consistent pricing for the next 20 years. The city council approved the new contract at their December 14 meeting.

“This contract will reduce risk in the long-term for our ratepayers,” said Mayor Richard Heim. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Heartland as a reliable, affordable power supplier.”

Auburn will now also be able to use Heartland’s full suite of services. Long-term customers have access to energy efficiency, economic development, and cybersecurity programs.

“Our programs provide economic benefit to customers,” Olson added. “We want to be a partner to our customers and provide tools to help recruit businesses, save energy and money and protect valuable data.”

Heartland’s energy efficiency program provides rebates for making energy efficient purchases. Upgrading lighting, water heaters and heating and cooling systems may qualify for incentives. Grants are also available to the city for making upgrades.

Heartland’s economic development program helps new and expanding businesses within customer communities. Growth incentives and utility rebates are available to qualifying businesses.

“As a power supplier, we want to see our communities grow,” said Olson.

Heartland also offers a cybersecurity program to ensure utilities are protected from cybercriminals.

Heartland will continue supplying Auburn’s wholesale power needs beyond the city’s federal Western Area Power Administration allocation.

Auburn is home to just over 300 people with a peak demand of 600 kilowatts.