History & Operations

Preston Power Plant 1906 (center foreground)

The Preston Public Utilities was originally established to serve the electric needs of the community. The northern-most part of the current power plant dates to 1896. At that time, the community's electricity was generated by an A.L. Ide & Sons steam engine. The first Fairbanks-Morse diesel generator was purchased in 1935. As electric demand grew, the PPU continued to add generators until a total of six units was reached. These generators supplied the electrical demand of the City until 1962 when the City connected to the outside power grid. Three Fairbanks-Morse generators remain in the power plant and serve as peaking/emergency generation for the City. The power plant's current capacity of 4 megawatts is adequate to meet the electrical demands of the City.

In the 1981, PPU joined the newly formed Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA). This organization, now made up of 18 municipally-owned utilities, has helped PPU maintain a high level of reliability and low competitive rates.

Preston's electrical system is fed by two 69,000 volt transmission lines. Electricity is distributed through two substations and approximately 15 miles of primary (4160 volts) and secondary (120/240 volts) lines.

In addition to the electric utility, PPU also operates the water and wastewater system within the community.

The water system is supplied by three wells that are located throughout the community. Water storage is handled by two above ground tanks with a total capacity of 500,000 gallons.

The community's wastewater is treated at the wastewater treatment plant located near the fairgrounds. On average, the facility treats 250,000 gallons of wastewater each day.


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