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Let's move Traer forward -- vote YES Nov. 7

November 3, 2017
Pat Stief - Traer, Iowa , Traer Star-Clipper

Much has been said recently about the municipal ownership of the natural gas system. Some of the main points I see recurring and being debated are:

1. What does a YES vote mean? Alliant contends that with a YES vote "the city would have to purchase Alliant Energy's Traer system". This is simply not true. A yes vote will allow us to discover what the cost would be to purchase the system. Once we have that information at hand we will evaluate our position and decide if we want to purchase the system or not. We DO NOT have to purchase the system merely because of a YES vote.

2. Alliant employees have 8,000 hours of training. This is nothing more than saying Alliant gas employees are represented by a union. The union follows guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Labor for a 4 year apprenticeship program. Each year represents approximately 2000 hours. So it takes 8000 hours to complete apprenticeship training. It does not preclude an apprentice employee with less than 8000 hours from working on the system. The training requirements are the same for ANY gas employee. We will be trained by the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities who have developed a nationally recognized training program.

3. The cost of gas for large corporations buying huge volumes is lower. The company that we will use to purchase gas for us if we should end up purchasing the system is buying gas for 43 other municipal utilities. They purchase huge volumes of gas just like Alliant, they buy gas from the same brokers as Alliant and they have already locked in highly competitive prices for future gas supplies at least 6 years in advance. And they have pipeline capacity available to be able to serve the needs of the Traer natural gas system.

4. The pipes in the gas system are old and will need to be replaced. At their meeting on October 19th Alliant publicly stated that because they have complied with federal mandates for having a pipeline protection system in place and have performed the required annual testing they know that the gas system in Traer is in excellent condition.

I'm not sure how much the Alliant representatives actually know or don't know about the details of the Traer system. After being asked three times how many gas meters there are in Traer and avoiding an answer, Alliant employee Mr. Bower finally, after much thought, said he's pretty sure there are 227 meters in Traer. Consider this - TMU has a water meter in every household in Traer, there are just over 660 water meters in town. Doesn't that make you wonder how Alliant serves 660 plus households with 227 meters? Mr. Bower also said that Traer has a population of 2000. The last government census shows a population of 1700. These folks demonstrated that they don't really know Traer, they just want to keep taking your money, like they have for over 60 years. I think it's high time we let people that know and care about Traer have a chance to provide the same kind of reliable affordable service for natural gas just as we have for electricity and water for over 100 years. Vote YES on November 7th so we can find out what the cost will be to obtain the gas system and make decisions based on facts!

Pat Stief

Traer, Iowa



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