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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The Rochester Public Utilities Board is scheduled to review the 2020 report on electrical service operations Tuesday and members will notice a continuing trend - more energy-efficient customers.

Although the report shows RPU has been adding just over 900 new customers per year since 2010, consumption has generally dropped during that same period.


The fall in residential consumption has been the most noticeable.

The report shows the annual average residential usage rate has fallen from around 7.8-megawatt-hours in 2010 to about 7.1 Mwh in 2020. The average actually slipped below seven in 2017 and 2019.


RPU’s customer total has risen from 48,219 in 2019 to 57,634 in 2020.


RPU spokesman Tony Benson says “electric energy sales have generally been flat to slightly decreasing the last several years.” He says “efficiency has definitely played a part.” Benson says RPU “worked with its customers last year to save 20,753,777 kWh through education, audits, and rebates for energy-efficient equipment.”

He says COVID also contributed to an overall decline in energy usage in 2020.

The report includes some additional interesting information:

  • RPU’s service territory has expanded from 31 square miles in 1974 to 60.5 square miles in 2020. Its distribution system has grown to nearly 830 circuit miles with 64-percent of the total now underground.
  • The number of customers per mile has grown from 65 in 2010 to 69.5 in 2020
  • RPU currently uses more than 750 transmission poles to send electricity to its customers. Wood poles are the most common with a total of 560. There are also 164 steel poles and 39 concrete poles. Nearly 80 of the poles are 100 feet tall or higher and two are 125 feet tall.

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