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Electrical Equipment Is Never In Season

As various North Dakota hunting seasons approach, please remember that electrical insulators, conductors and electrical equipment are NOT on the hunting season list. Nodak Electric Cooperative encourages hunters to be aware of electrical equipment while enjoying the great outdoors this season.

Hunters and other gun owners should not shoot near or toward power lines, power poles and substations. A stray bullet can cause damage to equipment, could be deadly to the shooter, and potentially interrupt electric service to large areas.

Be aware of what’s behind that big buck or it might cost big bucks. Repairs can be costly and damages cause outages to our members. As a nonprofit cooperative, owned by the members, we all share in this expense.

We recognize the majority of hunters practice safe hunting and understand the potential risks when discharging a firearm. We encourage experienced hunters who are familiar with the area to identify the locations of utility properties and equipment to young or new hunters in their group and remind them to avoid shooting toward these facilities. Enjoy the great outdoors safely.

Hunting Safety Tips
  • Do not shoot at or near power lines or insulators.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location of power lines and equipment on land where you shoot.
  • Damage to the conductor can happen, possibly dropping a phase on the ground. If it’s dry and the electricity goes to ground, there is the possibility of electrocution and fire.
  • Be especially careful in wooded areas where power lines may not be as visible.
  • Do not use power line wood poles or towers to support equipment used in your shooting activity.
  • Take notice of warning signs and keep clear of electrical equipment.
  • Do not place deer stands on utility poles or climb poles. Energized lines and equipment on the poles can conduct electricity to anyone who comes in contact with them, causing shock or electrocution.
  • Do not shoot at or near birds perching on utility lines. That goes for any type of firearm, including pistols, rifles or shotguns.
  • Do not place decoys on power lines or other utility equipment. Anything attached to a pole besides utility equipment can pose an obstruction – and a serious hazard – to electric cooperative employees as they perform utility operations.
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Minnkota’s Blink Outage Mitigation A Success

Now that Minnkota is five years into its accelerated plan to address blink outage issues on its power delivery system, the impact of the mitigation strategy is becoming clearer.

The member cooperatives and Northern Municipal Power Agency participants are seeing blink outages reduced by an average of 50% on treated lines.

“We have seen some circuits that have been reduced by as much as 75%,” said Evan Edwards, Minnkota engineer. “Circuits that are located in open prairie terrain have seen the largest positive impact so far.”

Minnkota’s open prairie line sections tend to have a higher exposure to lightning and wildlife, along with insulator contamination due to dust and blowing conditions. Technologies have been installed on structures across Minnkota’s 2,100-mile subtransmission system to address these issues. By 2020, Minnkota will have performed blink mitigation on more than 1,200 miles of those 69-kilovolt (kV) structures.

While it is virtually impossible to completely eliminate all blink outages, installing the mitigation measures has proven to be a cost-effective way for Minnkota to improve reliability and service to the membership. Structures are being fitted with a hanging lightning arrester, a polymer post-top insulator, a raptor deterrent (pole helmet) and a climbing animal deterrent (pole wrap).

“All aspects of the blink mitigation process have contributed to the positive impacts, but the most impactful changes seem to be the new post top, pole helmet and pole wrap,” Edwards said.

Minnkota crews and contractors have been working safely and efficiently as they move from pole to pole along the power delivery system. In some cases, the lines remain energized while the work is being completed so that service is not interrupted to the member-consumers. Specialized equipment is used to complete this “live line” work.

About 200 miles of lines have been treated this year. The same number of miles has been targeted for 2020, which is planned to be the final year of major blink outage mitigation efforts. The focus is beginning to shift toward a structured program to rebuild aging lines across the system.

A significant portion of Minnkota’s subtransmission system has aged beyond its 50th year of service. While progress has been made to lower blink outage exposure, expectations from consumers continue to rise. This is primarily driven by the fact that today’s electronics require a constant, uninterrupted supply of power to run properly.

In the past, a blink would occur and often go unnoticed to the average consumer because there were no digital displays that needed to be reset afterward. Today, each blink outage is documented by the flashing “12:00.”

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Daily Cycling Of Electric Storage Heat To Begin In late October

Members heating with electric thermal storage, such as thermal storage room units, thermal storage furnaces or slab/in-floor heating, should turn on their heating system prior to Oct. 15 to allow a heat reservoir to build up before daily cycling of loads begins. The actual date cycling begins varies each season. Thermal storage heating is controlled each day from 7 a.m. to noon and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

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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

Nov/Dec 2019

The Official Publication of Nodak Electric Cooperative

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