Bright Energy Solutions

Grocery Store Upgrades Ring Up Energy Savings

Store manager Mike Hartman, left, reviews the energy-saving features of his store's new dairy cases with Allen Anderson, an energy professional representing Missouri River Energy Services and Ortonville Municipal Utilities.

Equipment upgrades at Hartman’s SuperValu have improved the business’s bottom line, and the owners are sharing that savings with a lucky customer.

The Hartmans recently received rebates totaling more than $8,500 from Ortonville Municipal Utilities for improving their store’s energy efficiency. They used part of their rebate to purchase a new ENERGY STAR® residential chest freezer from a local retailer. Customers can register at the store to win the energy-efficient prize, which will be given away at the end of May, fully loaded with frozen food.

“We invested in efficient equipment for our store operation to keep prices down and remain competitive,” said owner Bill Hartman. “We are giving away the freezer to show our appreciation to our customers for their business, and for their patience during the time we were updating our equipment.”

The Hartmans installed a large number of new high-efficiency refrigerated cases in their store last December. Remaining cases were outfitted with new high-efficiency motors, lighting and controls. As a result, the electric bills for the first quarter of this year fell nearly 25 percent compared to the same period in 2012.

Hartman called the lower utility bills “very noticeable.” Hartman said his plan started out small, but “one thing led to another.” A free energy evaluation offered by Ortonville Municipal Utilities – which showed potential energy savings and equipment paybacks – helped convince Hartman the upgrades were the right thing to do.

Hartman said many customers are also pleased with the new equipment – especially since several open coolers were replaced with coolers with doors. “People always said how cold it was by those coolers,” he said. “It’s warmer in the store now. People are really commenting on how nice the new cases are.”

Hartman said he is pleased with the results of his investment. “It just made sense for efficiencies,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be here as a family business for many more years.”

Ortonville Municipal Utilities offers a variety of energy-efficiency rebates for residential and business customers. For more information, contact Ortonville Municipal Utilities at 320-839-3428, or visit

Bright Energy Solutions is offered by participating municipal utilities who are members of Missouri River Energy Services, a not-for-profit joint-action agency that provides electricity and other energy services to 60 municipal electric utilities in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The organization is headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D.