Owatonna Public Utilities purchases all of its electric energy requirements from the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA), a joint action agency consisting of 18 Minnesota cities, including Owatonna. SMMPA owns 41% (362 MW) of Sherco 3 (884 MW), the newest, most efficient coal-fired electric generating facility in the entire Midwest Region, in partnership with Xcel Energy. This plant’s state-of-the-art air quality control technology uses the dry scrubbing system that removes up to 90% of the sulfur dioxide and 99% of the particulates from the flue gases. SMMPA also has under contract a number of generating units located in member communities to provide additional power supply and back-up capabilities. Two 161,000-volt and five 69,000-volt transmission lines serve the community, providing excellent reliability and capacity for growth.
Power Outage Concerns and Helpful Hints
- Check your own fuses and circuit breakers.
- Loud bangs are caused by blown fuses; quite often caused by squirrels shorting the wire.
- Check with your neighbors to see if their power is off; have they reported it?
- If the trouble is not with your wiring and if the outage may not have been reported
- Call 451-1616 after: 5 p.m.
- Call 451-1616 or 451-2480 during business hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Report outage on-line
TV and Radio Interference
OPU service is rarely the cause of TV and radio interference. The trouble is usually found in the set, in the antenna or in your home. In fact, some of the most common causes of electrical disturbances are easily corrected and include:
- Loose light bulbs, switches, connections, or fuses.
- Solid-state dimmers and controls.
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Electrical kitchen appliances, large and small.
- Other TVs, radios, computers, type players, etc.
- Frayed wires.
- Small bathroom appliances, such as shavers and hair dryers.
- Electric tools or fences, burglar alarms, cordless phones and fish-tank pumps and heaters.
To correct an interference problem, follow these steps to pinpoint the source of the problem through a process of elimination:
- Turn each light, switch and appliance on and off while observing the radio or TV’s behavior.
- If reception improves when several appliances and lights on the problem circuit are off, the problem may be eliminated by moving some appliances or lights to another circuit.
- Adjust the direction of the antenna for the best reception. Look for any broken wires or loose connections. An adequate antenna, properly installed, is necessary for good reception in steel-framed or concrete buildings.
- If the interference affects a plugged-in radio, walk around the house with a portable radio to find the place where the noise is the loudest. This will help pinpoint the source of the interference. If the interference is steady, it’s probably from a stationary source. If it rises and falls, it could be from a moving source, such as an automobile, airplane or helicopter.
- If the radio develops an on-and-off buzzing sound or if the TV picture is streaked, check outside. Some causes of these symptoms include nearby electric motors, elevators, electric signs, x-ray machine, cars and spark plugs in vehicles. Sometimes moving the antenna or set will remedy the problem.
- If the radio or TV picks up citizen’s band, police calls or dot-dish codes, the trouble is probably in the radio or TV itself. Ask you repair person to service the unit.
If these procedures don’t identify the problem, the cause may be from electrical facilities outside your home. In this case, call OPU at (507) 451-1616.