Waunakee Utilities has been providing services to customers since 1915 and is a locally owned, not-for-profit utility. The utility operates exclusively to provide reliable, affordable, safe, electric, water and sewer services to customers. The Village of Waunakee owns the Waunakee Utilities, and the utility is governed by a seven-person Utility Commission comprised exclusively of village residents.
We are responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting and planning for over 113 miles of overhead and underground electric lines. This is a big challenge, and one that we take seriously.
One thing we appreciate is the confidence customers place in us as we strive to provide uninterrupted power to every customer at all times. Fortunately, many customers go the entire year with uninterrupted power.
We are proud that we were recently awarded a “Certificate of Excellence” by the American Public Power Association (APPA) for the reliable performance of the electric system. APPA awarded this certificate after comparing our outage records against nationwide data of other electric utilities.
There are times, however, when service interruptions occur. The main cause is weather, wildlife, equipment failure and human error.
I am very proud of our dedicated staff who have well over 100 years of combined experience. I would like to highlight several things the utility does to maintain reliable power.
First, essentially all new electric facilities are installed underground. This does not eliminate the impact weather has on the system but reduces the exposure of electric facilities to weather.
Trees falling on electric facilities can be causes of damage to the system, and the utility aggressively trims trees and other vegetation. We always appreciate customer efforts to not plant trees or other vegetation near our utility equipment or in our easements.
Over the past several years there have been occasions where animals have come in contact with exposed connections in our electric substations. As a result, we have now purchased equipment to cover up these exposed connections.
In response to service interruptions on the east and south side of the village, the Utility Commission recently approved a large project to reinforce system reliability by installing materials to prevent wildlife or vegetation from coming into contact with our equipment. This should significantly reduce the likelihood of service interruptions in this area.
There have also been recent outages that occurred as a result of contractors digging into our underground electric wires. We continue to work with contractors and our locating company to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.
The Utility Commission approved a project in 2018 to install a new metering system which provides significant benefits to customers. One of the benefits is that the utility will have instantaneous information about power outages so we can more quickly respond to restore power. We also hope to deploy a system in the near future to allow electric customers to be automatically notified of service interruptions when they occur and the estimated time needed to get power back on.
As we look to the future, we hope to replicate the successes that allowed the utility to serve customers for the last 104 years. It will be important to keep up with the growth in the area while continuing to provide reliable and economical service. Our vision is to contribute to the success of the Village of Waunakee and surrounding area by being an essential partner in providing electric, water, and sewer services to customers. We look forward to accomplishing this and we thank you for allowing all of us at the Waunakee Utilities the opportunity to provide service to you.