Electric Power Distribution
The City’s electric distribution system serves just over 5,000 electric customers. Of these 4,100 are residential and 900 are commercial. Our commercial customers consume roughly 2/3rds of the power we sell, whereas residential customers consume the remaining 1/3rd. Our highest monthly peak demand was 19,500 kw in July 2020. Our average monthly peak demand is roughly 16,600 kw. We currently provide roughly 1,000 – 1,500 kw of power to Mt. Iron under an extended 2003 Infrastructure Transfer agreement which will likely end this October.
The City currently takes power from MP at five different transfer points from east of Midway to west of Virginia’s northernmost border. Plans are currently in place to add an additional transfer point to bring power in at the new Rock Ridge High School facility and another point east of town nearby the future location of the proposed Emergency Services Center.
Effective early this year the Utility has begun the process of phasing out of the power generation business. Power has been generated at this location ever since 1892 when O. E. Kinney and E. Z. Griggs established the Virginia Electric Power and Water Company. Beginning in 1963 Minnesota Power provided standby power for the Utility when the Utility’s production assets failed. Over the decades they came to provide 50% of the power. With Virginia’s power production assets well beyond their useful lives, and with the Utility exiting its biomass power contract with Xcel Energy, the decision was made to idle the two turbine/generators.
Currently Virginia Public Utilities is a member of Northeast Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (NEMMPA) which is a joint action agency of the fourteen cities served by Minnesota Power. This agency has negotiated a tentative extension of the current power agreement to the end of 2029.