Kasson Strategically Positions Its Portfolio

Involved community leaders are committed to moving Kasson’s public power utility forward with continuous improvement initiatives. To help position their utility for the future, the city chooses to partner with other municipals as a member of CMPAS so they can better serve their customers.

In 2019, Kasson directed CMPAS to investigate what benefits strategic investments in generation and transmission ownership could bring to their customer-owned utility.

“Kasson is the only CMPAS member without significant local generation,” commented Nancy Zaworski, Finance Director for the city of Kasson. “Over the years, we have learned from our counterparts who own generation that it’s a valuable tool in stabilizing costs. Our customers have also asked about the benefits of becoming more self-reliant with respect to generation.”

As Nancy pointed out, within the CMPAS group, cities that own generation that can be called on demand are more insulated from price volatility in the wholesale market. Also, should there be a disturbance on the MISO grid, having local generation readily available gives city officials added confidence about their ability to keep the lights on.

An integrated assessment of generation, transmission, and distribution “will be valuable as the city considers strategies for preserving the public power value for our customers,” said Nancy.

Kasson further demonstrates their commitment to electric customers by periodically updating a cost-of-service study for their utility. CMPAS provides this service at no additional cost on a 3-5 year rotational basis. Kasson’s 2017 study indicated that it could lower its electricity prices by 5.5 percent to large commercial customers and one percent to residential customers. Periodic cost-of-service studies help city councils and commissions make adjustments as infrastructure is upgraded and ages and power costs change.

For Kasson and others, membership in CMPAS helps position their entire electric portfolio to their customer-owners advantage.