Municipal Electric

Contact Us! (763) 682-1001

Our goal is to provide the best possible electric utility service to the community of Buffalo.  As the community grows, so does the demand for reliable electricity and services. We continue to strive to improve services through system improvements and implementing new technologies.

During this past year we have continued to undertake projects to improve system reliability. Projects included completion of two new underground distribution circuits; one for the western portion of the City of Buffalo and the other to the east along highway 55 to accommodate new development and enhance reliability. Also this past year we have completed another rebuilding a major overhead distribution line to protect against outages caused by overloading and storm conditions. Other projects include underground and overhead transformer replacement.

Want to know where your power comes from?  Click here for more information: http://www.mmpa.org/

Energy Conservation

Energy Star Rebate Program

Click here to view Rebates and Incentives.

Clean Energy Choice

 

Click here to learn more about Clean Energy Choice.

Home Energy Audits

Practical EnergySavings from Buffalo Municipal Utilities helps you to be energy smart by saving money on energy bills with a Home Energy Audit!

The Home Energy Audit program makes it easy to discover the most cost-effective ways to save energy (and money) while making your home more comfortable. 

Energy Wasters

Buffalo’s Home Energy Audit identifies your home’s energy wasters, such as:

  • Drafty windows
  • Insufficient insulation
  • Humidity problems
  • Inefficient appliances
  • Poor ventilation

Your basic home audit includes:

  • Inspection of your home’s attic, insulation, doors, windows, furnace, appliances and other key areas.
  • Blower door test to determine overall air tightness of building
  • Analysis of how you can make your home more comfortable and maximize savings on your energy bill.
  • Recommendations for the most cost-effective, energy-saving improvements that will add to your home’s long-term value.

The infrared home audit includes all of the above plus an infrared camera inspection with CD of digital and infrared photos.

How it works: 

The City of Buffalo Utilities covers most of the cost of the audit paying $150 for the Basic Audit and $250 for the Infrared Audit. Your cost is $35 for the Basic Audit or $100 for the Infrared Audit. The audit usually takes about two hours and is conducted at a time convenient for you.  Our contractor will call and arrange a time for the audit.

This offer is limited so don’t delay. Sign up today for the chance to conserve energy and lower your energy bills.  Click here for an application.

Winter Energy Savings Tips

Keep Warm & Save Energy

Here are some tips to save energy while keeping warm this winter.

  • Replace your old thermostat with a programmable thermostat (also called a ‘set back’ thermostat). Look for one with the Energy Star label.
  • Seal leaks between doors and their frames with weather stripping.
  • Fill leaks around window frames and exterior walls with caulk.
  • Close the vents in unused rooms.
  • Keep the air vents clear of draperies, furniture and obstructions that block warm air.
  • On the side(s) of your house where the sun shines, open the drapes, curtains and blinds during the day to let the sun shine in. Close them at night to help keep the warm air in.
  • Clean furnace filters every month.
  • Set your thermostat at 68 degrees when the house is occupied and 60 degrees when you are away from home. Every degree can save three percent off your heating bill.

FAQ’s

What does the City of Buffalo have to offer for recreation?

We have nearly 30 parks in Buffalo, miles of walking , a skate park, the Parkshore Pavilion, Concerts in the Park and more. For more information, please visit the City of Buffalo’s website.

All recreational programming in the City of Buffalo is coordinated through Buffalo’s Community Education. Playing field use is also scheduled through the Recreation Coordinator, Todd Lunning. For more information regarding any youth or adult activities, please contact Todd at (763) 682-8429, tlunning@buffalo.k12.mn.us, or visit the Community Education web page at www.buffalok12.mn.us

Does the City require a business license?

The city does not require a business license. However, when deciding on the location for your business, be sure the zoning allows for the use in the district it will be located. Check out our zoning maps and City Code online.

If your business will be run out of your home, a business license is not required for that either. However, please contact the City Center at (763) 682-1181 with the type of business and the address. The City allows home businesses; however, there may be zoning issues as well as a Home Occupation Permit required. 

Additionally, in some cases a home business requires review through the Buffalo Planning Commission.

What Park facilities can I reserve for the enjoyment of my family and friends?

We have park shelters in the large parks that can be reserved for picnics, reunions, weddings, parties, etc. We also reserve the Bandshell in Sturges Park for events such as performances, weddings, church events, etc. Please contact the City Center at (763) 682-1181 to see if the desired date is available and to obtain the reservation form

Playing fields, such as football, soccer, and ball fields are reserved by Todd Lunning, Recreation Coordinator for Buffalo/Hanover/Montrose Community Education. (763) 682-8429, tlunning@buffalo.k12.mn.us.

What is at the Buffalo Skate Park?

The Skate Park is a recreational facility that consists of an area for in-line skating and skateboarding. There is a half-pipe, ramps, and other obstacles for the enjoyment of extreme skaters. (Sorry, scooters and bikes are not permitted in the Skate Park.) 

The Skate Park is free of charge. All ages are welcome. While we do not require safety equipment, we highly recommend skaters wear protection: Helmets, elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards. This park area is not supervised. 

The Skate Park is located in beautiful Sturges Park, in the heart of Buffalo. You may access the park off Park View Lane from Montrose Blvd. The skate park opens in April and closes in October. Hours are approximately 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. 

Click here for more information about the Skate Park.

Where can I get fingerprints taken?

You can have your fingerprints taken at the Wright County Jail. Jail staff is generally available to perform this task at any time; however, during meal times and mid-afternoon, staff is usually occupied, so these times should be avoided. Further inquiries can be made by contacting the Wright County Communications Center at (763) 682-7600.

Where do I renew my driver’s license, obtain a vehicle license and marriage license?

Call Wright County Government Center general phone number 763-682-3900. The receptionist will direct you to the appropriate department.

Looking for a banquet hall in Buffalo to hold a wedding reception?

Wild Marsh Golf Course/The Tavern 763-682-4476.

Huikko’s Bowling & Entertainment Center 763-682-4180.

Buffalo Civic Center 763-682-4132.

Any City Parks. Contact the City Center 763-682-1181.

To whom do I report a street light that is out?

If the street light is near you and you pay your home electric bill comes from Wright Hennepin, you will need to contact them at (763) 477-3000 and they will send someone out.

If the street light is near you and you pay your home electric bill to the City of Buffalo, please utilize our 24 hour on-line Service Request program. It is located on our website Services tab, Service Request. If you do not have access to the internet, please call the City Center at (763) 682-1181 to report it.

Do I need a permit to hold a party at a city park?

A permit is not needed.

What does it cost to rent the Civic Center for a function?

To find out what the rates are for the Civic Center please click here.

How do I make a complaint about the Police Department?

All complaints related to the Police Department are to be initiated through a Police Department supervisor. Forms for filing a complaint may be obtained during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or by contacting a supervisor from the Buffalo Police Department through the Communications Center at (763) 682-7600, during non-business hours.

What sports programs are offered by the City of Buffalo?

All recreational programming in the City of Buffalo is coordinated through Buffalo”s Community Education. Playing field use is also scheduled through the Recreation Coordinator, Todd Lunning. For more information regarding any youth or adult activities, please contact Todd at (763) 682-8429, tlunning@buffalo.k12.mn.us, or visit the Community Education web page at www.buffalo.k12.mn.us.

If you are looking to join a team, take a class, or try an activity, please visit the Community Education web page by clicking here.

If you are interested in exploring Buffalo’s Park system, plant a volunteer flower bed or vegetable garden, rent a boat, ice skate, skate board, or play disc golf, please check out the City of Buffalo’s website.

What and where is the Buffalo Parkshore Pavilion?

The Buffalo Parkshore Pavilion is located in Sturges Park on the beautiful Buffalo Lake. It is on Highway 25/Central Avenue, near downtown Buffalo. Nestled on the beach of Buffalo Lake, the Pavilion staff will help you rent boats, purchase concession items, or just answer any questions passers-by may have.

The Parkshore Pavilion offers one pontoon boat, three motorized fishing boats, four seater paddle boats, and three canoes available to rent. (Gas, accessories, and life jackets are included with rental) The pavilion also has miscellaneous park games such as bocce ball, basketballs, etc.for rent and use at Sturges Park.

The Pavilion typically opens on the weekend of Minnesota’s Fishing Opener, which is mid-May. It closes in mid-October. When school is in session, the Pavilion is open only on the weekends, from 8:00 a.m. to dusk. When school is out, the pavilion opens on weekends from 8:00 a.m. to dusk, and weekdays from 3:30 p.m. to dusk. The Pavilion closes if weather consists of rain or high winds.

Only the pontoon boat, canoes, and fishing boat can be reserved. The paddle boats are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve, simply stop by the Pavilion or call (763) 682-4590 during hours of operation. For more information, please visit the Parkshore Pavilion page on our Parks and Recreation section.

If you’re looking to reserve a shelter at one of our parks, please contact the City Center at (763) 682-1181 to see if the desired date is available and to obtain the reservation form.

How do I report graffiti?

You can either contact the City by phone, or submit a graffiti removal request form notifying the City of the graffiti.  You can do this by accessing the Vandalism/Graffiti form on this site. Be sure to report the exact location of the graffiti (i.e., on bench at park, on side of wall, etc.).

Can I run a business out of my home?

Please contact the City Center at (763) 682-1181 with the type of business and the address.  The City allows home businesses; however, there may be zoning issues as well as a Home Occupation Permit required.

Additionally, in some cases a home business requires review through the Buffalo Planning Commission.

How can I get involved in Buffalo’s Park System?

There are many ways to be involved in Buffalo’s recreational opportunities. If you are interested in coaching, umpiring, refereeing, or participating in an athletic event or other recreational program, please visit the Community Education web page at www.buffalo.k12.mn.us. If you are interested in the Buffalo Skate Park, Buffalo Parkshore Pavilion, volunteering, visiting Buffalo’s parks and trails, please visit the City of Buffalo Parks and Recreation page.

How do I Report an Abandoned Vehicle?

Please either call the City or use the Parking Complaint request form to submit a request to the City for investigation.  After investigating, the City will take appropriate action to either have the vehicle removed or to ensure the vehicle is in compliance with City Code.

Where can I get a building permit application?

Please click here to obtain a building permit application on-line. You may also stop in at the City Center at 212 Central Avenue to obtain one.

Completed building permit applications and any necessary documentation should be submitted to the City Center.

**Please note that building permits take 3-5 business days to process. Please plan your project accordingly.**

Are there ordinances against tall weeds and debris in yards?

Yes there are. Click here to see the City Ordinances.

Specifically Chapter 11: Land Use Regulations (Zoning)

Do I need a license for my cat or dog?

Yes.  Both dogs and cats need to be licensed as soon as they are ready to be vaccinated.  Licenses are issued at the City Center and cost $10.00 every two years.  In order to be issued a license, you must bring proof that the pet has had their rabies vaccination.

The ordinance states that a structure can house:
– no more than three (3) animals (of any combination of cats and/or dogs)

Can my property be annexed into the City?

Yes, if your property is within the Orderly Annexation boundaries and can be served with City services, including sanitary sewer and water.

Click here to check out the City maps online.

How can I help make Buffalo’s parks better?

You can help by being involved. You may also visit a City of Buffalo Parks Advisory Committee meeting to get information, give suggestions, or try to make change.

The Buffalo Parks Advisory Committee meets at the City Center on the 4th Monday of every month.

If you are interested in joining, apply to the City of Buffalo to be appointed to the 9-member Advisory Board.

How do I make a reservation for an event at the Civic Center?

To reserve the Civic Center you need to complete the Rental Agreement, under Parks and Recreation, and contact the Manager Lee Ryan.

Lee Ryan – 763-682-4132 lee.ryan@ci.buffalo.mn.us

Where are the new developments in Buffalo?

Click here to see a list of the new developments in Buffalo.

When is my street swept?

All residential streets in the City are swept by a vacuum type street sweeper two times per month. Please contact the City using the Street Sweeping request form, and provide your street address in the Location section.  We will contact you with the day of the week and weekly cycle for your address.

When do you have Public Skating and/or Hockey?

Check out the “Open Skating Schedule” on the Civic Centers web page.

You may also visit the Civic Center for posted times.  The Buffalo Civic Center has a limited selection of both hockey and figure skates available for use at the arena for a $2.00 charge.

How do I get to the Buffalo Civic Center?

The Civic Center is located at 1306 County Road 134. Take Highway 55 to County Road 134. The Civic Center is approximately a quarter of a mile on your left.

Can I have a party at the Ice Arena?

You may reserve a party room and skate during a scheduled open skating time.  The fee is based on the number of skaters.

You also may reserve a block of time for your event only.  The fee is determined on what time the event would be held.  Please contact the Arena Staff at (763)682-4132.

Please see the Civic Center page.

How do I purchase ice time for hockey, figure skating, broomball, or a party?

You may request a copy of available ice time by phone at (763) 682-4132 or by email at lee.ryan@ci.buffalo.mn.us.

What time is my skating/hockey lesson?

To view a copy of the Ice Schedules please click here.

How do I report a drainage problem?

A drainage problem involving public streets, storm sewer water inlets, storm sewers, or drainage ditches should be reported to the Utilities Maintenance Department at 763-682-1181.

The issue concerning resolution of yard drainage problems is, by all accounts, a civil matter in that problems occur in the rear yard areas rather than the boulevard area of properties; therefore, the issue does not fall under City jurisdiction.  However, during times of heavy rainfalls and snowfalls, which cause drainage problems in areas,  residents are turning to the City for assistance in resolving rear yard issues.

If the drainage problem is on private property the Engineering Department may give assistance and advice to the property owner on how it could be corrected.  The responsibility to do the correction is that of the property owner.  For possible assistance from the Engineering Department call 763-682-1181.

How do I report a problem with the sanitary sewer system?

Problems with the sanitary sewer system (the system conveying waste water from homes, businesses, and industries) and also the storm sewer system (surface drainage water) should be reported to the Utilities Maintenance Department at 763-682-1001.

Property owners should determine if the problem is with the public system and not the private service from the building to the street.  If the problem is only with one fixture (sink or toilet), it is likely that the problem is in the private system and you should contact a plumber.  If there is a problem with the entire building or home, you should check with adjacent buildings to see if they are having problems.  If more than one building is having problems, then the City water system is the likely cause.

How do I report a water main break?

Water main breaks can be reported by dialing 911.  They will contact the appropriate maintenance personnel.  If it is a suspected leak or minor problem, a citizen can report it directly to the Utilities Maintenance Department at 763-682-1001.  The City will investigate the problem and determine if there is a leak in either the public or private service line to the building.  If there is a leak in the private service line, the City will notify the property owner to correct the problem.  If the leak is in the City system, the City will have it repaired.

What do I do about frozen water pipes?

If you are the only property that is out of water because of a frozen service line, it is your responsibility to contact a plumber to have the problem corrected.  If more than one property is out of water, it may be a problem with the City system and you should contact the Utilities Maintenance Department at 763-682-1001. 

What do I do about sewer odor?

If you experience sewer odors, pour water in all floor drains, especially showers, sinks and bathtubs that are not used often.  If sewer odor persists, call the Utilities Department at 763-682-1001.

What do I do if the power goes out?

If the electricity goes out:

  • Call the City of Buffalo Utility Department to report the problem.  The emergency outage number is 682-1001.  Keep this number near your phone.
  • Stay away from downed power lines.  Treat all power lines as though they are energized, and report downed line to the Buffalo Utility Department.
  • Use flashlights or battery operated lanterns for additional light.
  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed to help preserve food; keep ice in your freezer in advance.
  • If you must drive, respect all intersections as four-way stops.
  • If you have water in your basement as a result of a storm, be alert to the risk of shock.  Do not use electric appliances near water–even on a wet floor.

What to do if the power goes out for an extended period of time:

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.  Foods will stay frozen for 12 to 48 hours.
  • Turn off electric burners and ovens.
  • Turn off radios, TVs, VCRs, and computers.  If you don’t have reliable surge protectors, unplug these devices before power is restored.
  • Dishwashers, clothes washers, and dryers may be left on.  Appliances will resume their cycles once power is restored.

Preparing for a power outage:

  • Install surge protectors for critical electric devices.
  • Keep battery-operated flashlights, radios, and alarm clocks handy.
  • Have a cellular phone in your house.
  • Keep a list that includes City of Buffalo Utility Department’s outage number and other emergency numbers.
What is Municipal Electric?

Electricity is always present in our lives.  But, since we use it constantly, we often take it for granted and overlook the important role it plays.

Throughout our day, we use electricity to power our lights, stereo systems, televisions, digital clocks, and computers. Even at night, when the world seems still, electricity is powering outdoor lights and air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration units in our homes.  Electricity is all around us and we have come to rely heavily on it in our society.  In order to ensure that supply will be constant in years to come, it is important to use our energy resources efficiently.  
Utilities
Each of us has an effect on our energy future.  Once we understand where our electricity comes from, who is responsible for supplying it, and what we can do to use it efficiently, we can make wiser energy choices that will benefit us, our community, and our environment.   

There are three types of electric utilities-public, private, and rural electric cooperatives. Each is responsible for providing reliable electric service to homes, businesses, and industries.

Public Power or community owned utilities are owned and operated by public bodies, such as towns, cities, counties, states, or public utility districts.  A community-owned utility is governed locally by the city council or special policy board set up by the city or town to oversee the utility. This type of utility distributes electricity at non-for-profit rates as a public service.  This is similar to the other public services your city provides such as the police, schools, fire department, or local library.  

Private power or investor-owned utilities are owned and operated as private businesses. This means the utility is owned by stockholders and operated to make a profit.  Investors from around the country buy stock in these private power companies.  The investors select private power company boards of directors. 

Rural electric or cooperative utilities are owned and operated by their customers.  Similar to community-owned utilities, these cooperatives distribute electricity on a not-for profit basis.  However, the cooperative is owned and operated privately by its members who elect their board of directors.  Rural electric cooperatives were established around the middle of the century in order to bring electricity to rural areas.

Communities that form their own electric systems soon came to recognize the benefits that are still the strength of public power: not-for-profit rates, local control, and responsiveness to community needs. 

Not-for-profit means that your electricity price includes only the costs of producing and delivering power to you.  Private power company rates are set to include profits paid to people who hold stock in the company.  The result is that, on average in the United States, public power has the lowest rates of the three segments of the electric utility industry.

Where Does Electric Come From?

Click here to learn how Power Grids work.

What are the current rates?

Click here to view the current Utility Services and Billing Rates.

Is it legal to drive without shoes on?

This has been a long-held myth.  The fact is that it is legal to drive without shoes in the State of Minnesota.  Keep in mind that laws can vary from state to state.

Doesn’t my child need parental consent to drive a car until they are eighteen years old? What if I want to take that privilege away – what do I do?

In Minnesota a parent can withdraw the driving privileges of a sixteen or seventeen year old.  While the easiest way for a parent to do this is to take the keys away, this will not ensure that the child could not or would not operate a friend’s vehicle.  In order to legally withdraw consent, the parent must complete a form and file it with the Department of Public Safety (DPS You can visit the DPS Web Site through this link).  DPS

Where do I get a gun permit?

You may obtain a permit to purchase a firearm, through the Buffalo Police Department.  If you would like to apply for a permit to purchase, you should visit the Police Department to obtain an application.  Please stop in or call us to receive the application materials you will need. If you wish to obtain a permit to carry a firearm, you will need to make your application through the Wright County Sheriff’s Office at the Courthouse.

Can you park semi’s in Buffalo?

The answer is Yes and No.  Generally you can park a semi for loading and unloading purposes, but you can’t park a semi in a residential neighborhood.  For additional information on this ordinance, you can visit the following link, Truck Parking.

When are officers on duty?

The Buffalo Police Department provides 24-hour service 365 days a year.  However, there is not always an officer inside the police department.  Our office hours are from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.  If you come to the police department after business hours and there is nobody here, you should contact the Wright County Sheriff’s Communication Center at (763) 682-7600.  They will dispatch a Buffalo Officer to meet with you.

I called in a complaint but nobody called me back, why is that?

If you call in a general complaint such as speeding, careless driving, suspicion, etc., it is normally presumed that you do not want to be called back.  If you are making a complaint of this nature and you do want to be informed of the outcome or you have information you would like to discuss directly with the officer, you should tell the dispatcher that you want a call from the responding officer.  This will ensure that the officer calls you back.

How can I get a copy of a police report or accident report that I filed?

All requests for copies of police reports must be made in writing.  A request for information release must be completed and submitted.  If it is determined that you are entitled to a copy of the data requested, the data will be collected and prepared for release.  There is an administrative fee for the release of data.  The fees for data release are as follows:

Reports Fees
General Reports $0.25 per page
Accident Reports $0.25 per page
Photos/Statements $1.00/disk and $0.25/image
Driver’s License None for Buffalo Residents
Special Rate Occasionally a person will ask for an extensive amount of data that may take a significant amount of time to collect.  When these instances occur, we charge a staff-rate of $25.00 per hour to collect this data.
Some of my property was stolen and has been recovered by the police, how do I get it back?

Items of stolen property are generally considered evidence and are stored in a secure area within the police department.  Only certain individuals within the police department are authorized to enter the secure area to obtain the property to return to be returned.  Once the case has been completed, these items can usually be returned to the owner.  In some cases, property can actually be returned to the owner prior to the criminal case being resolved.  To get your property returned, call the police department and ask to speak with the officer assigned to your case.  The officer will initiate the paperwork with our Property Technician to  make arrangements for the return of your property.  An appointment is necessary with the Property Technician in order for property return.

My car was impounded, what do I have to do to get it back?

The Buffalo Police Department contracts with Junction Towing (763-682-2033).  If your vehicle is not being held as evidence, or for some other reason, you should be able to have it released by contacting the towing company directly.  If the towing company tells you that your car is subject to a hold, you will need to contact the police department to obtain a release form.  You may come directly to the Buffalo Police Department, or if it is outside of our normal business hours, you can contact Wright County Sheriff’s Communication at 763-682-7600 and request that a Buffalo Police Officer meet you at the police department.

If your vehicle was towed from private property, it is most likely that the police department did not order the impounding.  If the police department was not involved in the towing of your vehicle, you will need to deal directly with the towing agency.

Who do I call if I have information about a crime?

Any time that you have information about a crime, you can call and speak to an officer of the Buffalo Police Department.  In some cases, you may even be eligible for a cash reward.  Unless the crime is in progress or it is an emergency, the best way to contact an officer is to call our office at (763) 682-5976 during regular business hours, or Wright County Sheriff’s Communication at (763) 682-7600.

If I have information about a crime, can I report it to the police and still stay anonymous?

If you are a witness to a crime, you can always ask to remain a confidential anonymous source.  Data privacy laws in Minnesota do allow for the identity of a witness to remain confidential.  However, if the case goes to court, it is often necessary for witnesses to testify, and remaining confidential may not be possible.

While it is possible to remain anonymous, it may mean that we are not able to pursue a criminal case due to lack of evidence or other witnesses.  If you do wish to remain anonymous, make sure to tell the officer or dispatcher about your request.