The Board of Trustees and employees of Waverly Utilities are pleased to provide the reader with a glimpse of our 100+ years of service to the Waverly community. Few businesses have the pleasure of being a part in everyone's life. The service we provide is so integral today that almost no business can operate without it. Many thanks to our predecessors for saving some priceless photos and records. We hope that you will enjoy reflecting on our past.
Waverly Light and Power's history was typical of the U.S. electrical utility industry in taking advantage of economies of scale.
As that structure changed from small, local only generation, the price of electricity plummeted -- from $4.00 per kiloWatt-hour for U.S. consumers in 1892 to $.06 in 1930 and just $.07 in 1970. The 1993 Waverly Light and Power system average cost to customers was was $.066 per kilowatt-hour. Demand had soared. Thus, a relatively recent push for "conserving" to stem future escalating costs and to respond to an increasing awareness that we have a moral obligation to be good stewards of the resources that we employ. Interestingly small, local generation is a likely prospect for future resources. History repeats itself?
The history of the utility is not lacking in color, with many notable events and changes, some of which were not always welcomed. Some examples: a hanging, disasters from fire - both at our beginning and more recently - ice storms and floods from the river that spawned the energy business. Renewable energy generation was our start and is our most recent addition.
The utility is and has been a cornerstone in the development of this community. Waverly is a vibrant community and has always met challenges head-on. The operation of its electric utility reflects this spirit of innovation and determination. The City made a wise decision back in 1904 by spending $13,500 to own their electric utility. That choice has yielded millions of dollars in helping the community prosper while still owning an asset worth over $20 million.
Private Enterprise 1856 – 1904
The town of Waverly was built on water, or at least on the promise of its power. For nearly three decades, the wooden dam that William P. Harmon had created in 1852 provided Waverly with the power that enabled it to grow into a progressive community.
Among those who migrated to Waverly were two men named Stowell and Tondro. By 1880 they were operating a steam electric plant. Both the steam plant and the water works were privately owned and operated under contract with the city until 1890. Eventually Stowell and Tondro requested permission to build a new plant and combine the electric plant with the water department.
Municipal Ownership 1904 – 1908
Around the turn of the century, the Healy Electric Company purchased the franchise for the production of electricity. The debate over municipal ownership surfaced several times over the years. Healy convinced council members that the citizens of Waverly would best be served by private ownership.
Through bonds and grants, the City of Waverly became the owner and operator of the electric plant on December 1, 1904. In the spring of 1908, an auxiliary steam plant was installed to provide power during the periods when the Cedar River was low. Shortly after, a fire caused by a short circuit generator, caused major damage. City Council immediately began plans to rebuild the plant.
After the Fire 1909 – 1920
The fire provided Waverly to obtain the most up-to-date electric plant possible. A new plant was completed in 1911. By 1913 growth and modern methods were creating more and more demands for electricity. This lead to the replacing of the wooden dam, and a cement dam was built in 1915. This allowed Waverly to produce more power than it needed, and future needs seemed assured.
Years of Prosperity
1920 - 1938
Prosperity was the key word for the 1920s. With three new turbines installed and the additional power available from IPS, there was no longer a need for the steam engines.
The utility company was paying its own way. With a healthy balance on the books from profits, the tax levy was producing a small but certain bonus. The City Council decided that taxes were taxes and financed other needs by transferring a portion of the tax to the general fund. By 1926 the judicious management of the light plant had resulted in a large balance. Bonds were retired early and bonds in a Florida light plant were purchased as an investment.
Rural residents were anxious that electrical service be extended to them. In 1927, a franchise was granted and two lines were built to the northeast of the town. These were quickly followed by others until the wires stretched in all directions from Waverly. The same year an attempt was made to take over the local gas company. That issue was defeated by the voters. However, progress continued as West Bremer was lined with new electroliers, and a new contract that was even more beneficial to Waverly was negotiated with IPS. Plans were made and experts hired to raise the smokestack, but demolition methods in 1929 were no match for the reinforced bottom half of the chimney. The men were excused from their contract, and so the landmark stood on the riverbank for another thirty years, a cement symbol of prosperity.
While the Depression Years took their toll in other areas, Waverly's electric utility department flourished due to the ever increasing needs and desires for additional service. When street lights were added from the courthouse to the edge of town on East Bremer Avenue, Waverly was considered to be one of the best lighted towns in Iowa.
The continuing success of the electric utility did not deter talented and frugal members of the light crew from finding ways to save money. During the 1930s, they cast their own light poles for the downtown area and built a meter tester. Still, the sale of power enabled the utility to annually transfer funds to other city departments. In 1931, the rates charged to users actually went down. By careful management, the Waverly utility was also able to absorb the new federal and state tax levies in 1932 and 1934 without passing the cost on to their patrons. Prior to this time these services had not been taxed.
The seawall near the plant had developed holes with seepage "so steady that a 6-inch tile was loaded to capacity to carry it off . . . [and] . . . a considerable amount of dirt was also carried away behind the old wall, weakening it." A coffer dam was built, and crews working in three shifts pouring concrete continuously until the new wall was completed. Within months, the wisdom of building the new seawall was proven. A flood converted the east bank into a midwest version of Venice, but the city sustained less damage than from previous floods. The flood waters did emphasize one problem to the city fathers. Because the wires serving southeast Waverly traveled along the bank and under the Bremer Avenue bridge, they often required repairs after high water. City Engineer Arthur Beyer was directed to bury the east side power lines.
Mayor Frank Osincup and the City Council proposed the purchase of diesel engines. They believed the increasing demand for power would pay for them. Diesel engines would provide Waverly with power at a price comparable to that being charged by Iowa Public Service during times of high usage or when the level of the Cedar River was low. But it was an election year, and Mayor Osincup lost the election to an opponent who strongly believed in immediately and drastically cutting the city budget. Seizing the opportunity, Iowa Public Service made an offer to continue to sell Waverly extra power at lower rates. The idea of switching to diesel power was shelved.
Newspaper article: Bremer County Independent, Nov./Dec. 1928
New Electroliers on West Side See First Use Saturday
Street lighting system which makes West Bremer avenue one of the best-lighted streets to be found in any town the size of Waverly was put into use for the first time Saturday evening . . .
The new lights, put in under the supervision of Wm. Roe, superintendent of the city's light and water plant, who designed the electroliers and saved Waverly tax payers about $3,000 by doing so, are placed seven to the block on each side of Bremer Avenue until Oak Street is reached, and from that point to the Illinois Central are five to the block. . .
Forty years ago, the town council of Waverly was passing a resolution that it would accept kerosene lights as a gift to the city from local persons -- today the city council can put its thumbs through its suspenders and swell out its chest while announcing that Waverly has the best lighting system of any town of its size in the United States.
Expansion 1938 – 1941
The subject of diesel engines came up again at council meetings in 1937 when Ed Doonan, City Engineer, pointed out that the load had nearly tripled since 1919. Councilmen were aware that no tax subsidy had been needed for the electric plant since 1925. In fact, even with the purchase of the diesels, the city would in all likelihood benefit from future profits. With the understanding that the costs were to be paid from the profits and not from the city coffers, bids were let for both diesel engines and a facility to house them. Worthington Pump & Machinery Co. Of Harrison, New Jersey, received the contract. They subcontracted the building of the brick addition to Stark Co. of Cedar Rapids. During construction, the contractors were pressured at one of their other job sites to unionize the Waverly project. Although it was one of the first times that local control was at issue, the city fathers did not press the matter as only a few men were actually affected. They did, however, strongly emphasize that they resented outside interference in what was exclusively a Waverly project.
Construction above ground began in January of 1938. While local citizens watched the progress with interest, plant crews kept a careful eye on the river level. It had to be maintained with a variance of only a few inches. Their concern was not related to the brick work, but to block work -- ice blocks. It was the season when crews were on the ice cutting a year's supply of blocks for the ice houses and the railroad. Many local men found seasonal work every winter cutting car loads of ice for the Chicago Great Western. If the river dropped six inches, the ice could crack. Hourly checks of the river level were made, and the turbines' operations adjusted accordingly to maintain the level within a two inch variance. Also benefiting from this care were the ice skaters who made good use of the river.
The two new EE 4 cycle 5 cylinder and one new D 4 cycle 5 cylinder diesels, the twenty- one miles of rural lines serving sixty-seven customers, and a plant staff of thirteen men were a source of great civic pride. The dedication of the new facility on August 25, 1938, was a cause to celebrate. The newspaper printed an entire edition lauding the new plant. An open house was held so that the citizenry could view both the plant and the high tech equipment. Local merchants set up displays of modern appliances, speeches were given, and the municipal band played from atop the water reservoir.
The June 1939 issue of Diesel Progress featured Waverly's new light plant. The article extolled its up-to-date status. Meanwhile, the City Council was debating the advisability of creating a trusteeship to oversee the utility's operation. The council favored the idea, and an election was called for January of 1940. The voters were not as enthusiastic and defeated the measure 433 to 345.
The War Years
1941 - 1955
As progressive as the Waverly electric utility was, officials could not foresee the speed with which customers continued to demand more and more power.
Homeowners and businessmen alike bought and installed electric appliances. Only three short years after the addition to the east plant, demand was again exceeding output. By June of 1941, the city was once again in the market for another diesel engine. The order was placed and an arrival date set. On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, the Japanese Air Force canceled the delivery order. Priority ratings for materials became the topic of the day. Placed way down on the list, Waverly sent a committee to Washington to plead its case. Armed with the facts that the canning factory was shipping food to the armed forces, and the sugar beet factory and packing plant would also provide essential services, the committee returned with an A-3 rating which assured delivery of a new diesel engine. By December of 1942 the engine was in operation.
Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, many communities hired guards to protect their municipal services. The Waverly City Council approved the hiring of guards two days after the attack. A local man, Glenn Winchell, was one of the men hired. He patrolled on foot, regularly checking the city fuel tanks, water pumps, reservoirs, and electric plant. For this he was paid approximately $70 a month. On the night of September 25, 1943, Winchell had just punched one of the clocks on his route and was proceeding west on First Avenue N.E. toward the light plant. As he reached the middle of the block, a man stepped out of the darkness and shot Winchell. The entire episode took only seconds, and Winchell was dead. The gunman ran down the block, jumped into a car, and took off down First St. toward the Bremer Avenue bridge. A number of people who were in the area heard the shots, several caught a glimpse of the killer and his license plate as he drove away. Rumors and fear spread rapidly, but it soon became apparent that the killing was not part of a conspiracy against any of the utilities. For nearly two weeks the gunman eluded lawmen. Stanley Kaster was finally captured near Clear Lake, Iowa, as he attempted to reach the home of a relative. When asked why he had shot Glenn Winchell, he replied that he had wanted his gun and holster. Kaster was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. At that time the law required the local sheriff to carry out the execution order. On December 29, 1944, the twelve official witnesses and Bremer County Sheriff Harley Ehlert traveled to Fort Madison. There at a little after 8:00 a.m. Kaster's neck was placed in a noose, and Sheriff Ehlert pulled the lever.
Notice to All Electric Consumers
The War Production Board requested notification of the issuance of Utilities Order U-9 prohibiting certain uses of electricity. A copy of this order is attached . . . Note the purpose of the Order is to save scarce fuels used in the generation of electricity as a part of the overall war time fuel conservation program of the United States Government.
The uses of electricity which are prohibited under the Order are:
- Outdoor advertising and outdoor promotional lighting.
- Outdoor display lighting except where necessary for the conduct of business of outdoor establishments.
- Outdoor decorative and outdoor ornamental lighting.
- Show window lighting except where necessary for interior illumination.
- Marquee lighting in excess of 60 watts for each marquee.
- Outdoor sign lighting with limited specified exceptions which you will note in the Order.
Customers will wish to comply fully with the Order and we urge you undertake immediately whatever arrangements are necessary to be sure that you do not violate the Order when the mandatory provisions become effective on February 1, 1945.
Any consumer who violates the Order is subject to penalties prescribed by Federal Law which may include the discontinuance of electric service at the direction of the War Production Board. Under the terms of the Order we must report to the War Production Board the name and location of any consumer who refuses to discontinue a violation of the Order.
We have been requested by the War Production Board to urge your immediate voluntary compliance in eliminating your uses of electricity which are prohibited effective February 1, 1945. The Board has also requested that we urge upon you maximum conservation in your other uses of electricity.
Very truly yours,
Waverly Municipal Light Plant
Rumors of all sorts flew thick and fast after the crime. One of the frequently mentioned "sabotage" theories was given some weight because the water tower on the CGW had been found very low. A check with railroad authorities revealed, however, that the water scarcity was due to a leak in the tank from a worn out mechanism and was not sabotage.
Sabotage motives had been discredited by many who point out that the Waverly utilities plant is among the best-guarded units in the state. Many cities employed a guard after Pearl Harbor but only a few, including Waverly, continued it until the present.
Rumors circulating the city water towers had been "tampered with" were unfounded. There was no evidence at all of any attempted sabotage, City Engineer Ed Doonan reported Tuesday.
The only other suggested motive is the feeling that the crime may be connected in some manner with the mysterious fire that was started on one of the Waverly city fire trucks Sunday, Sept. 19. Should the two events both be the work of saboteurs, officials were still at a loss to link the connection of Winchell to the fire. Winchell had been a guard at the city plant since Pearl Harbor, December of 1941. He had previously operated a grocery store in northwest Waverly, still resided there. Just the day before his death, he had filled out an information sheet to seek employment in a war industry, and had planned on giving up his city job.
The Postwar Years 1946 – 1955
In the first few years after World War II, numerous projects were undertaken. The dam was rebuilt. The power lines, previously strung over the dam from the plant to the west bank of the Cedar, were now carried through conduits in the dam. A fishway was built into the dam, and conservation officers made studies of the fish swimming upstream. Old frame buildings on West Bremer Avenue next to the bridge were removed. Fill was hauled in, and the seawall was extended south of the new floodgates.
Once again, there was increased demand for power. Several times it was necessary to shut down the water pumps to ease the load. Rather than enlarge the plant again, the three large engines were supercharged. The measure worked for a short time, but it was not enough. The city purchased land on West Bremer at the edge of town and prepared to build a new plant. Improved street lights on East Bremer cut the number required for each block from twelve to eight. Cost: $85 each. And the "Mechanical Man" arrived in Waverly to automatically switch on the lights in the First Home Addition when darkness arrived.
Just as in the 1930s, the decade ended with an open house of a new facility. The location, chosen because of its accessibility to the railroad and removal from the flood plains, was reached after careful consideration. The West Plant, with an initial unit of 1245 kW capacity, was dedicated on May 15, 1949. The plant operated about twelve hours a day with the East Plant carrying the base load.
In January of 1950, the city had reason to be glad that the West Plant had been built. Because of a railroad strike on the Great Western line, the fuel supply for the East Plant was delayed. An average of 7 tank cars of fuel each month was required, and the East Plant was down to about a three weeks' supply. Since the fuel for the West Plant arrived via the Illinois Central, that plant assumed a 24 hour a day schedule to supply all the electricity to Waverly's 1,570 residences, 260 commercial firms, 89 industrial users, and 160 farms.
Like other cities, Waverly experienced a boom in construction in the post war years. That growth was mirrored at the electric plant by the nearly 10% annual increase in demand for power. Although in 1952 the average homeowner's bill was still only $7.65 a month for 243 kWh, judicious management kept the utility in sound financial condition. Thus, in 1951 the city was able to order a dual-fuel Worthington 1950 HP engine. The order was placed early because of the concern that federal defense requirements might once again place civilian orders on a waiting list. The 60-ton engine was shipped as a unit. When it was installed onto the second of three bases at the West Plant, every slot aligned perfectly with the bolts. By 1954 it was fueled solely by natural gas rather than the more expensive oil.
The subject of trusteeship was raised by Mayor Willard Osincup, but without sufficient support the matter was tabled for the second time. It was also in the early 1950s that the city clerk's office and the utility billing office were combined, and patrons could pay their bills in the city hall on First Street N.E.
A note inserted in this section:
Although Waverly was the only city in Iowa to have the same rates in 1948 as in 1925, economic factors finally forced changes in long standing traditions. Effective in 1948, the city would no longer provide free power to the community center, veterans' halls, golf course and library.
The First Enterprise
1955 – 1963
In 1955 while voltage drops plagued utility workers, there was no lack of sparks at council meetings.
For a time the problems of the light plant (and other civic matters) were caught in a gridlock. Employees explained that the tie line between plants was in need of replacement, or at the very least, massive repairs, a new code was needed for residential wiring, and the oil breakers at the East Plant were dangerous. They recommended replacement with air type breakers which would not explode. The next year the political situation settled down, and city business began to move ahead. Community development leaders and industry heads were concerned about the lack of an adequate interconnecting line. Prospective industries wanted a dependable power source, and existing factories worried about lost time due to power failures.
The recommendations were approved. Orders were placed for transformers and cable to be used the following year. Among the projects to be completed were an interconnecting line between the two plants, and a new line to the Schield Bantam factory. The most public excitement, though, was created by the arrival of an Enterprise RV16 dual-fuel engine. Getting the 110 ton megalith from the factory to the rail line had taken months of planning, arrangement of a special rail car, and utilization of all equipment and men of a San Francisco moving company. Once on the way, it traveled at a maximum speed of twenty-five miles per hour. Two weeks later the engine arrived in Waverly at the Illinois Central depot. It sat on the siding for one week and spent another two weeks traveling the three blocks to and into the plant. It was one of the best shows in town. One interested observer was an Arabian engineer who had followed the engine from San Francisco. As a representative of King Saud of Arabia, he had a special interest in seeing it set in place and beginning its operation. He had just placed an order for six RV16s and three smaller engines for the king's palace. The palace, actually a collection of buildings the size of a small city, required a lot of air conditioning.
The Enterprise, the 2nd largest engine in Iowa at the time, was capable of producing as much electricity as all of Waverly's other engines combined. When it was installed in the fall of 1957, the 3500 kW engine gave Waverly a total capacity of 9400 kW. According to figures from that year, the addition was well timed. The plant generated as much power in two months as it did in all of 1940.
All went well for several months, and then without warning on December 5, 1958, a window-shattering explosion damaged a cylinder. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the engine was out for about twenty days while repairs were made and all new pistons and bearings were installed. The following March a second explosion occurred when a piston rod broke. Damage was far less extensive this time because an employee was able to shut the engine down immediately. Workers probably thought it was a case of deja vu in June when the Enterprise blew a third time, but the damage was minor and the plant was back on line in approximately nine minutes. An Enterprise repair crew which was already in town to modify the engine, completely overhauled it during the next week. The good news for the city was it had not yet accepted ownership, and so all costs were borne by the manufacturer.
"Effective July 1, 1959, controlled off-peak water heating was being discontinued. That meant electricity would be available at all times to heat water, and at the low rate of 1.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, tax included.
During the past few days, the time switches that controlled your electric water heating to off-peak hours have been removed or disconnected. Instead of your electric water heater being off from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., it will now be available for heating at any time that hot water is needed."
Waverly Municipal Electric Plant
Things were looking bright on Bremer Avenue in 1960 when fifty-five mercury lights were installed, but enthusiasm for the Enterprise engine was dimming. With a five month shut-down proposed for repairs, two mobile units were shipped to Waverly to supply temporary power. With the growing population, the debate over buying yet another engine or opting for an interconnection resumed. The decision was made to tie into the Corn Belt Co-op. Because the Enterprise was so often out of commission, the other engines were almost constantly in service, making it difficult to overhaul them. Finally, in March of 1963, after a five thousand hour run with no breakdowns, the city accepted ownership of the Enterprise. In the settlement, the city received a four year warranty with $25,000 off the purchase price. In addition, a credit of over $19,000 was allowed for parts.
Herb Thayer had become Superintendent of Utilities in 1962. His first months on the job were extremely busy. In addition to the overhauling of the Enterprise, a new transformer serving Carnation and northwest Waverly was added just west of the West Plant. The smokestack at the East Plant was raised. The weight of the Christmas lights cracked a number of poles and threatened to bend others. Repairs and adjustments had to be made. And, as his title implied, his responsibilities included the other municipal utilities as well.
The North Plant 1963 – 1970
When the West Plant was built, the area to the north and west was open fields. By the mid 1960s, it became necessary to once again increase the power output. It was decided to look for a new site due to the lack of expansion area and proximity to the school. Suggestions for other uses of the West Plant included converting it into a library.
With the advantage of using the river for cooling purposes, the city bought fifteen acres just north of the Waverly Elevator and near Carnation, one of its prime users. Unlike the original light plant, it was on higher ground and safe from flooding. As a bonus, there were already two wells on the site which had been dug for the sugar beet factory. A third well was dug and construction of the North Plant begun. The engines from the West Plant would be moved to the new facility and two new ones purchased. A heated debate over brands ensued. Despite its initial problems, the Enterprise had given good service and the company had made every effort to accommodate the city. As the final vote was cast, the decision was for two 3750 kW Enterprise engines.
In 1967, Waverly cut-in the new interconnect system with Corn Belt at the North Plant providing the city with 10,000 kWs. The new engines were installed and in July of 1968 the engines from the West Plant arrived.
One unique feature of the new plant was filtered air from the basement rose through floor grates and was exhausted through the roof, thus helping to cool the engines and the work area. The facility was more than adequate to serve Waverly's population of 7,000 (including 1,300 Wartburg students) plus the 300 meters on forty miles of rural lines. Celebrating sixty-five years of municipal ownership, an open house of the new plant was held on October 19, 1969.
"An interesting sidelight apart from the construction of the new plant is an adjacent eight acre pond. A twelve foot high, manmade dike around a settling basin for a sugar beet factory operation in earlier years posed a problem for the electric utility. A heavy brush and tree growth covered the bottom and a flood damaged portion of the dike admitted flood waters in the spring. The local chapter of the Izaak Walton league obtained permission and encouragement from the Iowa Conservation Commission to develop the area into a wild life refuge to include game fish, wild geese and ducks." The area is known as Three Rivers Park.
Energy Crisis and Trusteeship
1970 – 1990
A World wide energy crisis in the 1970s had its effects in Waverly.
The price of purchasing power climbed. The cost of fuel to run Waverly's plants rose even higher, so the decision was made to buy a block of power from Corn Belt and thus guarantee a year's supply. Crews at the East Plant ran the hydro units in order to minimize the amount of energy purchased. Since they produced surplus power during non-peak periods, Waverly's new Christmas lights were enjoyed by all despite the energy crisis.
The combination of rising costs, fuel shortages, and increased demand made it even more imperative that the wisest decisions be made regarding future plans. After much study and debate, it was decided to purchase more power, and to maintain the plant and not retire any of the engines. Even though the generators would not necessarily run for a specific number of hours, their ability to go into operation on short notice would make outside power purchases cheaper for Waverly.
While Mother Nature was still producing problems easily understood by all, such as a log jam in the floodgates, the immense complexities of overseeing the management of the municipal electric plants were growing. The call for a Board of Trustees was again raised. "Council members do not have time to devote to all of these [other programs] and still give the utility operation the time it requires. The utility should be viewed as a business."** This time the vote was in favor of creating a board with members serving for a period of six years. The first meeting of the Board of Trustees was held on August 30, 1977.
Within a year, a board decision was required that would affect the future existence of the municipal utility. IPS made an offer to buy Waverly's plants. Weighing all the factors, including the cost of service, the Trustees voted to retain city ownership. However, the final decision was in the hands of the City Council since it required the selling of city property. By voting to retain ownership of the utility, the Council hoped to keep the rates lower and help keep the tax base down by providing funds for other departments.
Another choice with long lasting effects was whether or not to buy into the new coal fired steam plant at Davenport. When the Louisa Generating Station was placed in commercial operation in 1983, Waverly purchased 1.1 per cent of the plant for $7.1 million. Together with the new substation, transmission facilities and other improvements, it was capable of providing approximately 50% of Waverly's power. Additional power was still available through North Iowa Municipal Electric Cooperative Association (NIMECA).
"The 1980's also brought about challenging environmental regulations. ...Among those were PCBs, a toxic substance found in some transformers, and asbestos found in power plants . . .With technology came energy efficient lighting . . . high pressure sodium street lights."***
Many of the town's overhead wires were buried during the 1980s, including those in the alley south of Bremer Avenue downtown. In addition to improving the esthetics of the community, the project reduced to almost none the power outages due to bad weather. During the same time period utility crews upgraded many lines to higher voltage capabilities. The floodgates were rebuilt in 1988, and in 1989 a crew made up of local employees and a factory representative completely overhauled the old Enterprise for the first time in thirty years. Their efforts saved the city an estimated $63,000.
It was a significant decade in terms of both renovation and determination of future power sources. For in 1989, Waverly again was faced with a choice of remaining with NIMECA or signing a pact with IPS. Nearly fifty years had passed since the last agreement was dissolved when Waverly built its diesel plant. Because it left the city with more options in obtaining power supplies from other sources, the agreement was signed with IPS.
When the dam at Nashua gave way in 1980, the Cedar River in Waverly rose about three feet in a very short time. The turbulence washed twelve boards off the dam. The repairs were no more than made when heavy rains caused flooding that washed away some of the boards again. The high waters also sent the ski ramp over the dam. Still, the damage was nothing compared to spring freshets that destroyed the bridges in the early days of Waverly.
Community, Conservation and Service
1990 – 1992
Plans to extend transmission lines south to Janesville and north on the Horton Road were one of the first items on the agenda for the 1990s.
When a 69KV power line north on Horton Road was planned, residents along the route approached the utility with their concerns over EMFs (electric/magnetic fields) and the alleged health problems associated with EMFs. After discussions, the matter was put before the Iowa Commerce Commission which ruled that the line could be built. Accompanying that decision was a promise from the utility to monitor new scientific information in the future.
When the city was contemplating construction of an industrial site south of the golf course, they approached the electric utility for help. Following a precedent set long ago, a loan agreement was reached. This spirit of cooperation was also instrumental in purchasing new Christmas lights for Waverly. Because the old lights were beyond repair, they had not been put up the Christmas before. A sample decoration was hung in July, and a campaign to raise the funds began. In order to assure their arrival in time for Christmas, it was necessary to order immediately. The utility, which annually hung, maintained, and storeed the decorations, agreed to make the down-payment. The campaign was a great success, and when the Christmas season arrived, Bremer Avenue was ablaze with color.
In a further effort to create a more attractive downtown area, two beautification projects were completed in 1990 in time for Heritagefest. Old fashioned street lights, similar to those around the Lutheran Mutual building, were installed on the bridge. The second feature was the lighting of the dam. Following an evening of entertainment in the park, the crowd moved down to the bridge and watched as the spot lights slowly came on. The ceremony, with water sprays from fire engines on either side of the river, a flotilla parade, a gun salute, and music provided by a band on the bridge, left all those present with a feeling of pride in Waverly.
The lighting of the dam was quickly followed by several significant events:
- a new logo was adopted
- Waverly Light and Power became the official name of the utility
- The utility was the recipient of the 1990 Iowa Quality Recognition Award in the Public Services category.
Governor Terry Branstad presented the award for the utility's development of a quality service and operations program. Part of that effort involved the formation of a team comprised of employees, the utility director, and a member of the Board of Trustees. Team members worked with the architect in designing the new service center, planning new equipment purchases, and selecting the new outdoor Christmas lights. The name change was suggested and a new logo was designed by utility employees.
Being an active part of the community had always been an important part of the goals of the electric utility. Continuing that precept, when it became necessary to drain the pond at the North Plant for repairs, a fishing derby was planned for youngsters. Employees donated their time to prepare the pond area, to arrange for prizes, food, and publicity, and to staff the event. Aware that it was also an opportunity to educate, the Bremer County Conservation Commission was invited to set up a display on fish biology and environmental concerns. Despite cold weather, there were many children who had "big fish" stories by the end of the day.
Environmental issues and Waverly Light and Power continued to make news. A commitment was made to tree planting in the community. Working with Trees Forever (of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation), one project allowed local sixth graders to plant trees in the city nursery. Each student hoped to see his or her tree replanted around Waverly by the time they graduated.
As plans were announced for the new service center, another Enterprise engine was installed in the North Plant. The engine was shipped in pieces and assembled at the plant. This type of planning and the facilities maintained by the Waverly plant over the years resulted in a drop in the price per kilowatt hour from twenty cents in 1945 to seven cents in the 1990s.
In July 1991, a momentary outage by IPS caused a dip in power at Waverly. The No. 3 hydro unit relay at the East Plant failed to shut down and tried to carry the entire city of Waverly. The unit, which had been in service since 1923 and was the newest of the three, overheated and caught fire. Smoke was spotted almost immediately, and quick action by the fire department limited the damage, a far different story than the fire of 1908.
General Manager Glenn Cannon announced in October 1991 that the utility had received a grant to study the potential of wind generation as a power source for small Midwestern utilities. With the Board of Trustees having established conservation and environmental goals to use in planning during the next decade, Cannon stated that wind power offered a highly innovative solution to securing environmentally benign power supplies for the future.
Even with modern technology, there were sometimes still unforeseen events that cannot be avoided. Such an occurrence happened in the fall of 1991 when two squirrels unwittingly committed suicide by playing on a power line. The outage was only momentary, but it was enough to wipe out data on computer screens that might have been online.
Employees initiative and creativity were fostered at Waverly Light and Power. It paid off in savings to customers. Once again in 1991, it paid off in a big way. "When bids, for labor only, came in on a project to string replacement utility lines...employees balked at the $83,000 price tag." The decided they could handle the task themselves and saved $46,000. When the latest diesel arrived, a new cooling system was needed. Instead of the proffered plans, operators at the North Plant devised a system using well water for a total savings of at least $100,000.
To celebrate the completion of the new Service Center at the North plant, an open house was held on May 2, 1992. Visitors saw high voltage demonstrations and an exhibit by Trees Forever. By special arrangement, the Iowa Woodlawn and Forest Photography collection was on loan from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Art Exhibit. Tours were given of both the new and older portions of the facility. Visitors had an opportunity to view numerous innovations designed to promote high efficiency both in energy used and staff operation.
A forced air oil burner using recycled motor oil and non-PCB transformer oil was the primary heat for the shop and truck bays. By using this cost-effective method, the natural gas infrared heat system needed only to be used when additional heat above the oil burner capacity was required or at times of shortage of used oil. In addition, a passive solar trombe wall on the south end of the building absorbed heat during the day and helped in maintaining the interior temperature at night.
The office areas incorporated several energy efficient systems. The lighting was done with high efficient florescent lights. Each office had an infrared sensor that would shut off the lights when it was not occupied within a time period of ten minutes. The heating and cooling of the office areas was accomplished with a high efficiency air-to-air heat pump and a zoned distribution system. Before calling for any additional energy use, a central computer system automatically responded to heating or cooling needs by recirculating system air. In addition, the computer automatically set back the thermostats at night and on weekends.
The operating/training room provideed work space for each crew member to complete reports. The storage area for the line crew's gear was designed so that each man's tools and all-weather clothing could be carefully and safely stored, thus lowering risk of injury due to damaged equipment.
With the arrival of spring came the call of sunshine, a pond, and a kid with a fishing pole. The second annual Waverly Light and Power Fishing Derby invitations added to that list the promise and free worms for bait. Over 300 children attended the event, having almost as much fun as the employees who conducted it.
A unique project in 1993 by several staff members was the conversion of a company pickup from gasoline to electric power. When the price of purchasing a new electric vehicle was make known, employees were sure that they could convert a pickup at far less expense. Working all on their own time, they accomplished their goal; and provided the utility with a 60 hp 120 volt DC motored Chevy S-10 pickup for use within the city.
On May 26, 1992, a special meeting of the Board of Trustees was held in order to receive public input on both a proposed new rate structure that would reward energy efficiency and an 8% rate increase. The previous rate increase in 1983 had been followed by a decrease in 1987. The additional revenue from the rate increase would: maintain an asset to liability ratio of 3 to 1, provide for a future generation reserve fund, fund the implementation of programs in the integrated resource plan, make it possible to obtain rating and interest rates, and maintain the existing transfer policy with the utility owner, the City of Waverly.
Waverly Light and Power's "Good Cents" Program, one step in the policy of promoting energy efficiency, was introduced in October 1992. Through this program, it was possible for homeowners to save an additional 10% of their monthly electric bill for a period of ten years. By indicating their intentions to meet the required standards, owners of older homes could have their houses audited by the utility to verify qualification for the program. Upon qualification, a certificate authorizing the discount was issued. By the spring of 1993, ninety percent of the new homes constructed in Waverly also met the guidelines. The property owner benefited by lower monthly rates. Once given the discount, the certificate belonged to the property. This is an attractive feature to a prospective buyer. The utility and other Waverly residents also benefited because the price of purchased power was determined by the peak demand.
With new sources of energy generation becoming more scarce and other potential sources not yet affordable, forecasting the load was of critical importance. The Load Forecast is an in-depth study of the history and an estimate for the future of the amount of energy used by customers and the manner in which they use it. This information enabled Waverly Light and Power to estimate sales for the next twenty years. However, this alone was not sufficient to determine all power needs or rates. Other studies were conducted on various conservation measures that could reduce future energy and peak demands. Data was compiled on all aspects and sources of purchased power as well as on the advisability of maintaining Waverly's hydro units. Each of these reports included details on cost effectiveness.
All of these projects were woven together into the Integrated Resource Plan, the first by an Iowa municipal utility. With the knowledge contained in the IRP and the economic basis it provides, the Board of Trustees could set in motion any changes or programs necessary to serve Waverly's energy needs into the next century.
Since that September morning in 1908 when fire destroyed the electric plant, the Waverly utility has looked to the future. With the present focus on conservation, many measures have already been taken on three fronts: energy efficiency, renewable energy, and tree planting. These efforts were recognized by the Natural Resources in 1992 when they awarded Waverly Light and Power the Iowa Energy Leadership Award.
Setting the Standard
1993 and Beyond
In June, at its national conference in Anaheim, California, the American Public Power Association presented Waverly Light and Power the 1993 Energy Innovator Award for its Comprehensive Energy Efficiency Program.
In presenting the award, they cited "The small municipal utility, serving just 3,870 customers, completed a detailed Integrated Resource Plan in 1992 and hired a full-time advisor to implement the following programs: residential, commercial and industrial energy audits; energy efficiency rate incentives for all customer classes; a "Good Cents" efficiency rating system for new and existing homes; energy education in local schools; residential appliance rebates; compact florescent sales; and commercial and industrial demand-side management rebates. The utility also is implementing programs dealing with urban forestry, wind generation, electric vehicle conversion, landfill/methane generation, a fiber optics network, evaluation of photovoltaic lighting, maintaining its existing hydro generation, and upgrading its distribution system."
To enhance customer service and aid the line crews in their operations, a new computer tracking system was put into use in 1993 and is still utilized today. Known by its acronym SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition), the system is designed to monitor many functions from a single base. Several major features are already in use with other operations designated for implementation in the next year or two.
From its location in the new service center, a controller has the capability to monitor all operations at the substation, switches, and both plants. Guidelines for each operation were established and entered. When any function fails to meet or exceeds these perimeters the computer records the event and prints out a report. Should the situation warrant it, an alarm signal is also activated. With the ability to record second by second, it is possible to know precisely what changes have transpired and in what order. This allows the crews to better trace the source of any problems which in turn results in shorter outages and greater safety for the employees. Essentially SCADA creates a history file on every function. This makes it possible to locate trouble spots and to do preventative maintenance.
Schematics for the various load lines were also entered into the computer. By using long standing codes and names familiar to the crews, the system was immediately user friendly. If an outage occurs, the breaker at which the current was shut off flashes on the screen. With a definite starting point, crews know that the problem exists within a certain line segment. The result is faster restoration of power to the consumer. While a crew is at work on the line, this gives them an added measure of safety.
The summer of 1993 was one of concern about ground moisture and floods, but ironically, it was a fire that proved to be the greatest threat. Shortly after noon on August 25, the switchgear at the north generating plant malfunctioned, causing a fire that put the plant out of commission for several hours. Because the switch controls both the power from within the plant and from outside sources, a large portion of the city was left without electricity. By 5:00 p.m. crews were able to restore power to all residential users. Complete restoration of service was achieved by midnight when the Nestle (Carnation) Co. was able to resume operations. Meeting in a special session several days later, WL&P Trustees considered the option of repairing the twenty-year old switchgear, but the unanimous final vote was to purchase a new unit. Installation of the new $750,000 unit was completed in 1994.
A far more pleasant event occurred on October 4, 1993. The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities presented WL&P the IAMU 1993 System Achievement Award. The honor was in recognition of continued excellence in improving service to the utility's owner-customers, coordination of efforts by a great number of system employees, and progressive leadership.
"Turn of the century" is a phrase that still brings to the minds of many the gas lights and horseless carriages of 1900. To the employees and trustees of WL&P, however, the term leads to thoughts of the fast approaching 21st century. General Manager Glenn Cannon speaking of that future stated, "We feel it's a moral responsibility to stay abreast of all new technologies." In applying that concept, the utility in 1991 began to study the feasibility of owning and operating its own wind turbine power generator. They applied for a DEED (Demonstration of Energy Efficient Developments) grant from the American Public Power Association. One of seven U.S. recipients, their $25,000 award helped defray the cost of erecting a wind turbine on a farm north of Waverly. During the year following installation by Zond Systems, a California wind energy developer, reports will be made on the turbine's performance and overall experience. The project will demonstrate both the next generation of wind turbines in the Midwest and the feasibility of ownership by small utility companies.
Other utilities, working with private developers, were also investigating the issue of wind power. However, in September 1993 WL&P became the first municipal utility in the Midwest to own and operate a wind turbine power generator. While sitting atop its 140 foot tower, the turbine could be controlled from the plant. The power produced was currently more costly than that produced from other resources, but predictions were that as resources become more scarce and more expensive, the variation in costs would shrink. Eventually the cost of wind power may equal or even be less than other options. In addition, Cannon, who refers to wind power as a "benign source," believes that the ecological and environmental impact is well worth the present cost. For Waverly with its hydro generators and the possible potential for wind power, the prospect existed for still more locally-based, clean, renewable electricity.
Another expression of WL&P's concern for the environment began in 1992. That year the utility made a five-year commitment of money and support to Trees Forever to help preserve and restore Iowa's forests. Since then the community has planted about 600 trees in parks and on school grounds. On December 7, 1993, the utility received an award of appreciation for their efforts from the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation which sponsors Trees Forever. In other recognition, the American Public Power Association awarded WL&P with its Golden Tree Award in 1994.
In 1994 Waverly Light & Power was presented with its second Energy Innovator Award from the American Public Power Association. This national honor was in recognition of its partnership with the University of Northern Iowa in forming the Midwest Wind Energy Program. The program, designed as an information clearinghouse and demonstration site for the Midwest, focuses on dissemination of information about wind machines and wind energy, and independent evaluation and demonstration of wind projects. The projects administered by the center help to: (1) substantiate available wind resources in the Midwest; (2) inform potential users on the availability of various sizes and types of wind machines; and (3) offer practical data on the reliability and economics of machines operating at test sites. The Midwest Wind Energy Program also provides a unique opportunity for students, who can design their own programs for data collection and analysis. It is expected that some of these students will play active roles in the wind power industry after they graduate. The program's first project began last year with the installation of WL&P's 80 KW Vestas wind turbine.
As a result of its aggressive efforts in energy conservation and its promotion of the use of renewable energy, the successes of Waverly Light & Power were receiving much national attention. Cannon was regularly asked, "What are you doing in Waverly that is making it work?" Perhaps the answer is that the WL&P employees and Board of Trustees are like Waverly's founders, who with their feet firmly planted in the Iowa soil, envisioned the future, and then set about creating it.
Energy Efficiency Pays Big
1995 marked our 91st year of service to the Waverly community. Local ownership and control of the utility helped meet customer needs while preparing for the many changes occurring in our industry.
Sales of energy increased by almost 5 million Kwh, a 5.14 percent increase. A vibrant economy and record-setting summer temperatures contributed to this rise.
While maintaining rate stability, major improvements continued on our system. We were nearing completion of a system-wide voltage upgrade, installing a new substation transformer, and rebuilding the duck pond. In-house rebuilding of local generating engines also began along with substantial efforts in negotiating a long-term power supply. WL&P also received national recognition for our customer energy efficiency programs, and we participated in bringing Midcom, Inc. to Waverly. With customer participation, we adopted a new Integrated Resource Plan to assist in making long-term power source decisions.
During 1995, a fiber optic system was installed on Waverly Light and Power’s equipment to allow more reliable communication within our system. Fiber optic cable enabled data to be transferred at speeds far above the outdated coaxial systems being used. The cable was not as prone to distortion or interference problems and would withstand many evolutionary changes.
During all of this, Waverly Light and Power's primary goal remained improving system reliability and providing value for our customers, the City of Waverly, and the community as a whole. During 1995, Waverly Light and Power contributed to the changing community with financial and in-kind contributions economically strengthening our community.
|Transfers to the City of Waverly
|Per Board policy
|Waverly Municipal Hospital
|Cash spent by WLP:
|Hanging decorations in Waverly
|Taxes paid to County for:
|Bremer County, WSR Schools & Area Schools
|Electric rate discount to City
|Savings to City on interest-free loan (1990)
|Waverly Area Development Group
"Customer Art Simpson built his Good Cents home in May of 1994. Over the past two years, Mr. Simpson has been extremely happy with the program and his home.
The Good Cents program continued to roll forward in 1995 with 13 new Good Cents homes built and ten existing homes making energy efficient improvements and gaining Good Cents certification."
- Efforts to improve operating efficiencies were made by Waverly Light and Power through reducing workforce by two full-time employees.
- The Board of Trustees aggressively pursued economic development with commitments being made to Midcom, Inc. for the next ten years. This included new job incentives and interest rate buydowns.
- After two years of negotiations, a contract was signed and repair on the duck pond got under way.
- Improved and maintained distribution reliability; one such project was renovating the West Substation located near 15th Street NW.
- Electric utilities are among the most capital intensive industries and planning for the future is a must. In doing so, Waverly Light and Power formed a customer advisory committee and updated the Integrated Resource Plan.
- Waverly Light and Power Demand-Side Management programs were featured on national television on the Discovery Channel, and on CNBC. Waverly Light and Power also held the first Iowa Renewable Energy Conference at Wartburg College.
During 1996, Waverly Light and Power distributed 110 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.
We are frequently asked where the electricity comes from and how it's produced. In Waverly, we receive our electricity from a variety of sources. This variety enables our customers to enjoy the benefits of stable, low cost energy and also allows us to do our part to help the environment. Last year, 42% of our electricity came from our ownership in a coal plant, the Louisa Generation Station. Contractual purchases accounted for another 56% of our energy while the remaining 2% was generated locally from wind, hydro, and diesel generators.
In the early 1990's, WLP became the first municipal utility in the Midwest to own and operate wind generation. The goal was to determine the feasibility of wind generation and provide experience in operating the system. The turbine has exceeded engineering estimates in production and has proven to be reliable. Our findings show producing electricity from wind will be a viable long term option for utilities in the Midwest.
Customer surveys revealed strong support for wind technology and other environmentally friendly power sources. With this positive customer support, the utility set out to find others to jointly locate wind turbines to improve the economies of scale. In April of 1996, a wind farm feasibility study was completed. It showed the best solution would be to construct a wind farm in northwest Iowa. In northwest Iowa "the Saudi Arabia of wind energy" the turbines will operate more productively and produce less expensive power than in Waverly. With the help of various grants and the Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Production Incentive (REPI), the wind farm is expected to produce electricity at a very reasonable long term cost.
|Benefits to the City of Waverly:
|Taxes on Louisa Gen. Station
|Interest free loan savings
|Benefits to other areas of the community:
|Waverly Municipal Hospital
|Community services performed
|Bremer County taxes
|WSR School District taxes
|Waverly Economic Development Co.
|Total benefits to the community
WLP's net income serves four major purposes: transfers to the City of Waverly, capital improvements, repayment of bonds, saving for the future and emergencies.
During 1996, our primary goal was improving system reliability and providing value for our customers, the City of Waverly, and the community as a whole. The following major accomplishments were made while pursuing these goals:
Implemented a rate decrease for commercial and industrial customers.
Computerized mapping of distribution system.
Upgraded electricity distribution on Highway 3 East, southwest Waverly, Fairgrounds, the south load center, the east plant, rural farms lines, Cuna Mutual, and subdivisions for Emerald Oaks and Centennial Oaks.
A commercial/industrial customer meeting was held to cover issues such as system improvements, power outages, power quality, energy savings, and what the future holds for the industries.
Received an exemption from the Iowa Utilities Board for energy efficiency filings due to excellence in prior program findings.
Sponsored an "Energy Savings Techniques in Home Construction" seminar featuring Doug Rye.
Negotiations continued to secure wholesale power (our single largest expense) at a lower cost.
Financials remained very stable with net income increasing over 1995
Energy efficiency programs continued with 90% of new homes being built to comply with Good Cents standards.
Support of Waverly Trees Forever continued. The WSR science club sold over 650 trees in 1996 with help from this support.
Overhauled engine # 8 with existing crew.
Continued to explore options to improve service.
1997 & 1998
In 1998, we set out to capture the essence of what our utility stands for and to incorporate this meaning into our daily activities and the duties we perform. To do this, we had to identify what drives our efforts. It is you. Our customers drive our mission. Simply put, we must keep the public in public power.
As the founding fathers of Waverly recognized early on, local control and local ownership would provide a powerful partnership. We have the ability to tailor our operations to best suit our community. Over the past year, our unique, Powerful Partnership has allowed us to take proactive steps to promote efficient energy use through the appliance rebates, the “Good Cents Program”, and the “Energy Star™” transformer replacement program. Through our monthly mailings and promotion of the “Storm Trapper™” surge protection program, we continue to stress the importance of wise, safe and enhanced customer use of energy. We are well along our way with Y2K preparedness.
With customer support, our wind turbines, soy-based transformer oil development and other nationally-awarded efforts are pioneering even greater environmentally friendly means of providing energy. We’re also continually striving to strengthen our partnerships through association with neighboring communities, like Denver, Iowa, for the overall betterment of reliable, cost-efficient energy. And, in our role as a supportive corporate citizen, we’ve helped spearhead, in coalition with the City of Waverly, Waverly Chamber-Main Street and the Waverly Economic Development Company, a Waverly website presence which will serve as both an information resource and community development tool.
|Capacity & Energy
|Time of Day
|Time of Day
At Waverly Light and Power, we not only strive for excellence with our customers, but for the earth as well. As a member of the EPA-affiliated Energy Star Program, our new highly efficient Energy Star Transformers reap benefits for both our community and our planet.
In the United States, over 2% of the total annual electricity produced is lost because of transformer inefficiencies. These losses result in eight days per year that are needed just to produce lost power. By replacing these transformers with Energy Star Transformers, we can lessen costs for our customers and reduce harmful emissions produced by existing transformers.
Energy Conservation Programs
This year, Waverly Light and Power encouraged our customers to take energy-conservative steps by offering several major rebate programs.
Those who traded in refrigerators, freezers or air conditioners exceeding federal energy standards by 10% to 15% cashed in on rebates of $50 to $100 off the purchase of new appliances.
Also in 1998, customers interested in making their homes more energy efficient by installing new insulation, heat pump systems, central heating, or air conditioning systems were offered incentives from Waverly Light and Power.
Our Powerful Partnership of energy conservation seems to be working. The 1998 peak 60-minute demand was 24,042 kilowatts on July 13, 1998, at 3:00 p.m. Our historical peak was 25,896 kilowatts during 1995. The new demand was lower despite an 11.8% growth in energy sales during that same period.
Our customers have encouraged us to become an environmentally friendly company. According to Renew America, a national association representing many groups and companies such as 3M, National Geographic Society, The Nature Conservancy, Smithsonian Institution, and Ford Motor Company, we have succeeded.
On Earth Day, 1998, Renew America honored Waverly Light and Power with the National Award for Environmental Sustainability in the category of Renewable Energy at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
In May, Waverly Light and Power, in partnership with University of Northern Iowa’s Ag-based Industrial Lubricants Program, filed an application with the United States Patent Office to patent a biodegradable soy-based transformer oil. If the patent is approved, it will mark a giant step for the City of Waverly, soybean farmers, and utility companies across the nation.
Mineral oil, which is the standard oil used by most transformers, is a toxic substance that comes from the world’s limited supply of petroleum. This new soy-based transformer oil is an environmentally friendly, biodegradable product that originates from a renewable source. If the product is approved for use, it has great potential for use not only in our area, but in coastal areas as well, where transformers lie close to water sources. It can also add value to soybean products and become a safer alternative to current oils, which harm the environment when spilled or leaked.
At Waverly Light and Power, we know it takes only one bolt of lightning to destroy valuable electronic equipment. Unfortunately, most homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover costs incurred from power surge damage. Even if it does, damage is difficult to prove since it may appear long after the initial surge. To safeguard the property and wallets of our customers, Waverly Light and Power offers a unique power surge protection product called Storm Trapper®.
In 1998, Waverly Light and Power partnered with the City of Waverly, Waverly Chamber-Main Street, and WEDCO Economic Development to put the Waverly community on the World Wide Web.
With additional funding from U S WEST Communications and Prairie Meadows, a website was created to bring Waverly residents and other Internet surfers information and education about Waverly and other topics of interest.
Waverly Light and Power provides electricity for over 4,100 customers. During the past year, we distributed over ten million kilowatt hours of electricity. By using a variety of production resources, we were able to efficiently and effectively fulfill your energy needs. 49% of the energy we provided came from our ownership in the Louisa Generation Station, located near Muscatine, Iowa. Contractual economy purchases through MidAmerican Energy accounted for another 48% of our energy delivery, while the remaining 3% was generated from wind, hydro and diesel generators.
Innovations and Environment
1999 – 2007
In June 1999, two wind turbines constructed in northwest Iowa, began producing power for the residents of Waverly. These two Zond Z-750 variable-speed turbines, dubbed ‘Skeets 2 & 3', are fully adjustable and have three blade rotors measuring 157.4 feet from tip to tip. The turbines will generate 4,678,708 kWh annually, offsetting 4,520.3 tons of carbon dioxide by displacing fossil fuel generated electricity. These turbines provide enough electricity for over 500 residential customers each year.
Waverly Light and Power is Here for the Community
From cash transfers of $519,764 to the City of Waverly, to earning the ninth consecutive ‘We Care’ Award from United Way , WL&P is here for Waverly.
WL&P provided a helping hand during RAGBRAI TM, sponsored WSR High School’s electric vehicle, and renewed its commitment to economic development. These are only a few ways WL&P provides an extra measure of caring for the community.
Distribution Upgrades Prove Successful
During 1999, the ten-year upgrade to the distribution system was completed. This included installing a more reliable 12.5kv system, installation of low-loss transformers and additional lines built for redundancy. These efforts paid off when the community went 117 consecutive days late in 1999 without an electrical incident.
The system proved superior during the devastating flood of 1999. Not a single unplanned outage was experienced as the river level reached a record 21 feet 3 inches.
Meeting Waverly's Growth and Demand
After the City of Denver contracted for generating capacity from WL&P, the Board of Trustees voted to install additional diesel engines.
The engines are capable of producing 12,000 kW and will have the ability to be remotely started and operated from WL&P’s Service Center.
Waverly Light and Power places an extreme importance on reliability. It is capable of carrying Waverly’s electric load both internally or externally.
Waverly Light and Power Receives Patent for BioTrans TM
Waverly Light and Power and the University of Northern Iowa's Ag Based Industrial Research Program received a patent in September 1999. The patent was for 'BioTrans TM', an environmentally friendly, biodegradable soybean oil for use in electric transformers and transmission lines.
In recognition of this innovation, the American Public Power Association awarded Waverly Light and Power the APPA Energy Innovator Award. Waverly Light and Power was one of only three utilities across the nation to receive this prestigious award.
Commercialization efforts are now in progress with the aid of a $35,000 APPA DEED grant. BioTrans TM is a step towards a cleaner, healthier environment.
Waverly Light and Power continually searches for ways to better the environment for their customers and the planet...this is only the beginning.
Y2K and Beyond
Long before December 31, 1999, WL&P was ready for the Year 2000 date change. To assure the community uninterrupted power, employees were on hand New Year’s Eve to address any unexpected issues.
The transition into the new century proved smooth and was the culmination of work that began in 1996. The new century marked the beginning of large energy growth in Waverly with the growth of housing developments and the commercial sector.
South Plant Generation
2004 marked the 100 year anniversary for Waverly Light and Power. Waverly Light and Power invested $5.2 million in new generation facilities and several other business began expansion plans including the Waverly Child Care and Preschool, Lutheran Services of Iowa, and Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community. Waverly Light and Power launched several green initiatives in 2004 with its commitment to World Wildlife Fun Power Switch, Green Power Choice, and continues to colunatily report its Greenhouse Gas Emissions reductions.
'A1' Bond Rating
In 2005, WLP was assigned an ‘A1’ Bond rating by Moody’s Investors Service. Assignment of this rating was a result of the Utility’s well-managed financial operations with ample coverage of maximum annual debt service, stable service area, and a relatively low amount of rapidly retired debt. WlP had planned on utilizing the moneys from the sale and settlement in the Enron Wind Bankruptcy case to install an additional turbine in Waverly with a 1.65 MW capacity range. After putting out Requests for Proposals on wind turbines, manufacturers informed WLP there were too many large scale wind energy projects across the nation to cater a smaller demand. WLP then pursued other avenues to implement additional renewable resources.
House of Green
In 2006, Waverly Light and Power built the House of Green in Waverly to demonstrate energy efficiency, passive solar design, and green building. The House of Green can be found in the 2006 Annual Report. Waverly Light and Power took the initiative to reduce carbon emissions and increase renewable generating capacity. The Board of Trustees signed on to generate 20% of Waverly Light and Power's energy by renewable resources by the year 2020.
Reliability During Ice Storm
During 2007 Waverly and the surrounding area experienced a record setting winter, including a major ice storm. When the electrical grid went black around Waverly, WLP crews were ready to handle the events to follow. Most of the Waverly homes, schools, businesses, manufacturing plants, and even rural farms had power back on within three short hours while nearby communities took days to restore power. Once again, WLP had proved its dedication to serving the Waverly community.
A New Era
2008 marked a new beginning at Waverly Light and Power. Longtime General Manager Glenn Cannon retired at the end of 2007. Diane Johnson from Colorado Springs, CO was brought on as the new General Manager in 2008. It was an eventful year for her and everyone at WLP. The entire Midwest, including Waverly, experienced record floods. Waverly had it's first 500 year flood. At the height of the flood, WLP shut down electricity for close to 1,000 homes and business as they went underwater. The utility itself fared well with only minor losses of equipment due to the floods.
A Solar Water Heating Program, the fourth ‘RP3’ Reliable Public Power Provider award, renewed commitment to safety and the North Plant upgrades dominated 2009.
In July of 2013, Waverly Light and Power established a task force to conduct a study regarding the financial feasibility of providing one or more communication utility services to residents and businesses in and around the city of Waverly. Once the study was complete, the task force made recommendations to the Waverly Light and Power Board of Trustees based on the results of the feasibility study. At the November 12, 2013 Communications Utility Feasibility Task Force meeting, Magellan Advisors was selected as the company to conduct the feasibility study for the Waverly Communications Utility.
In 2014, Darrel Wenzel became CEO of Waverly Light and Power. On February 10, 2015, the Board of Trustees approved the measure to allow the development of a community-owned, high-speed fiber-optic network broadband telecommunications system for Waverly based of the Communications Utility Feasibility Task Force recommendations.
In 2015, Waverly Light and Power officially became Waverly Utilities. Construction on the new fiber network infrastructure was scheduled to begin in May 2015, with a targeted completion date of March 2016. At that point, the citywide 4-zone build-out process began. The first test customer launched in April 2016 with all services going live July 1, 2016.