Supper 5 p.m. | Meeting 6:00 p.m.

April 12 • Alerus Center • Grand Forks

78th Annual Meeting

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Nodak News

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Advanced Metering Infrastructure marks 10 years

This year marks the tenth anniversary of a fully commissioned Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system at Nodak Electric Cooperative. More commonly referred to as Automated Meter Reading (AMR) System, AMI is an integrated system of smart meters, communication networks and data management systems enabling two-way communication between Nodak and its members. What started out as a means to obtain monthly meter readings now plays a vital role in serving the member and Nodak in many ways.

Nodak uses a power line carrier-based solution called Two-Way Automated Communication System, through ACLARA Technologies LLC (TWACS). Commands are sent from Nodak’s office in Grand Forks through the internet and radio systems to various substations within the service area. Substation equipment passes information back and forth with the member’s meter through the power line. The Cooperative’s meters do not use radio frequency to communicate information and only transmit information for up to 20 seconds upon request.

Expecting two years to complete, the first meter was installed in July 2007 and the system fully commissioned in December 2008 after 17 months, and enlisted the help of Nodak’s line workers, technicians, engineers and member and energy services personnel.

Each day, the electric meters are read at or near midnight and three or more additional times for hourly or 15-minute kilowatt-hour (kWh) energy interval data. A meter can also be read real-time when needed, at any given time to check a reading or on a day when service is being transferred. Before AMI, meters were read by Nodak members (self-read), contract meter readers and line workers. Sending an accurate bill was a challenge if meter readings were read on different days each month, not read for extended periods of time or estimated. Invoices sent to members with self-read meters were billed at a 30-day delay causing more confusion. Now, Nodak sends a current bill for one month of usage, which has greatly reduced member confusion and, consequently, call volume and office visits. In addition, Nodak is no longer required to access the member’s property or inconvenience them for monthly meter readings.

Five years ago, a meter data management system (MDMS) was added to store meter data and create reports. MDMS stores hourly or 15-minute energy usage (kWh) values depending on the meter in service. Collection of interval data is important to Nodak for engineering studies, to verify off-peak electric heating systems are shed during control events and in assisting members with usage concerns. Nodak makes MDMS information available to members via SmartHub to track and manage electrical energy usage.

AMI has been a big help during outage restoration. As calls come in from members without power and entered into the outage management system, meters are “pinged” or asked to respond back to verify where power is present in the circuit, directing line workers to begin their work. When a line segment has been repaired and put back into service, meters are pinged again to look for other individual outages. Members can log onto Nodak’s website,, and click on “Outages” at the top of the page to view areas out of power during extended outages. What AMI cannot do is determine if a member has lost power past the meter, or in the secondary wiring circuit. Since meters cannot report back to the office during a power outage, it is still important for members to call in their outage to Nodak as soon as possible.

The greatest benefit of AMI, from the member perspective has been access to their own meter usage data anytime and anywhere. By logging onto SmartHub through personal computer or mobile device, members can view energy usage data in either hourly or 15-minute intervals (depending on type of meter installed). Members can view daily, weekly or monthly usage to better manage their energy consumption or track performance of energy conservation measures. In addition, current billing period usage can be viewed and compared to past billing periods for members to view how their usage is trending.


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Be Fire Prevention Smart

Don’t get burned!

Electricity usually makes life easier by powering kitchen appliances, gadgets and electronics we use for entertainment. However, that same electricity contains the potential to destroy homes and take lives. Electric fires are more destructive than any other type of fire, and they are twice as deadly. Safe Electricity has the following information to help you keep your electric system safe.

  • Consider getting an electric inspection of your home, especially if it is an older home or you have never had an inspection.
  • If an electrical fire starts in your home, do not use water to extinguish it. Water conducts electricity, and you could get an electric shock. Use an extinguisher that is approved for use on electrical fires.
  • Flickering lights, warm, cracked or sparking outlets all indicate electrical problems.
  • If circuits trip, fuses blow or someone gets a shock, your home has an electrical problem. Get an electric inspection.
  • Do not overload outlets, use an extension cord as a permanent wiring solution, or use light bulbs that are not rated for the socket.
  • Contact an electrician about installing an arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI). An AFCI monitors the flow of electricity in your home. If the flow of electricity is irregular and could cause a fire, the AFCI shuts off electricity.
  • Inspect electrical plugs and cords annually. If they are frayed or cracked, repair or replace them. Do not place cords under rugs, or staple or nail them to the wall.


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Phone Scam

Utilities are raising awareness about scams targeting consumers

By Tracy Warren, NRECA

When a scammer called Florida pet clinic operator Cindy Evers last year and demanded immediate payment on an overdue electric bill, it sounded real. “They knew my account number and gave me a figure that I owed that’s close to what I usually pay on my electric bill,” Evers said.

She paid, even though, in the back of her mind, she knew her payment wasn’t late. “I have pets under sedation, and I’m taking care of animals. I think I just panicked, thinking they were going to shut my electricity off. I did what they told me to do.” Evers lost $900 because the call was a scam.

The scam that duped Evers has plagued utility consumers across North America for several years, robbing them of millions. Now, utilities are fighting back. Recently, more than 80 utilities and energy industry organizations from across the U.S. and Canada joined forces to recognize the first-ever North American Utilities United Against Scams Day on Nov. 16, 2016. Electric cooperatives have increased their communication efforts, sending information directly to members and encouraging local TV stations and newspapers to warn citizens about the scam, how it works and what people should do and not do, if they are ever targeted.

Even the wariest consumers can be duped, however. The scammers are developing new tactics every day. The “past due” scam, similar to the one Florida customer Evers experienced, goes something like this: A customer gets a call from an 800 number that looks like a valid utility company phone number. Widely available spoofing software allows crooks to display what appears to be an official number on caller IDs. The caller threatens to cut off power if the customer doesn’t pay.

But here’s the giveaway: The crook will demand payment via a prepaid debit card or money order. And he’ll ask for it within a specified timeframe, often an hour or less. The scammer may even quote an amount that sounds like your typical monthly bill. That way, the threat has even more credibility.

Scammers might direct the customer to a specific store nearby that sells the prepaid cards and instruct the customer to put money on the card and provide the card number to the scammer. Some scammers have even been bold enough to contact potential victims in person, coming to the member’s house.

Here are some tips on how to protect yourself:

  • Do not assume the name and number on your caller ID are legitimate. Caller IDs can be spoofed.
  • Never share your personal information, including date of birth, Social Security number or banking account information.
  • Never wire money to someone you don’t know.
  • Do not click links or call numbers in unexpected emails or texts–especially those asking for your account information. Most utilities will NOT require their customers to purchase prepaid debit cards or money orders to avoid an immediate disconnection.
  • If you receive a call that sounds like it may be a scam, or if you believe the call is a scam, hang up, call the police and report the incident to your local utility. You can alert your family members and friends. Share the scammers’ tactics de- scribed in this article or those you have heard about. You can also help raise awareness and warn others by reposting scam awareness information on social media; use the hashtag #stopscams.
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Nodak Electric Cooperative

Nodak Electric Cooperative is dedicated to being an efficient provider of quality electric service with leadership that demonstrates the highest regard for its members/owners.

To report an outage call
800-732-4373 or 701-746-4461

2017 Annual Report

Read more about Nodak Electric Cooperative's year-in-review

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