PUC approves bid for SCADA updates

NEW ULM – The Public Utilities Commission awarded the bid for the Comprehensive Water System Supervisory Control and Data acquisition (SCADA) Upgrade Project at its Tuesday meeting.

The low bid came from Automatic Systems Inc. of St. Paul at $491,840. The engineer’s estimate for the project was $660,000. Two bids were received.

City Manager Brian Gramentz was unsure why the bids were lower than estimates, but he suggested the presence of another bidder assured a low bid. A drop in the price of new technology may also have been a factor.

The current SCADA system was installed in 1993 with the construction of the water treatment plant. Since then, the SCADA system has been updated, but the construction of the Nehls Park water tower and other system upgrades require a new SCADA program to function properly.

PUC Commissioner Sean Fingland was appointed to serve on the Energy Awareness Committee (EAC) and as a member of the Long Term Power Committee. These two committee positions became vacant with the departure of former PUC Commissioner Norman Melville earlier this year, whom Fingland replaced.

Gramentz said the Long Term Power Committee is not labor intensive, meeting few times in a year. The EAC typically meets once a month to discuss energy-saving programs.

Several miscellaneous Public Utility computer equipment was declared surplus. Gramentz announced that Brown County will have an electronic waste collection program on Aug. 21, which the city would use to dispose of most of the surplus computer equipment.

This drop-off program is a once-a-year opportunity to properly dispose of E-waste.

PUC member Dan Beranek said it was a good idea to keep the public informed of the drop-off programs because computer monitors and other E-waste are frequently disposed of improperly.

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