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Around The Coop: Amundson Retires, Crooks Promoted

Amundson retires

After 29 years of dedicated service to the cooperative, Becky Amundson will retire this month from her position as a Nodak member services representative. Becky began her cooperative career in 1991 at Sheyenne Valley Electric Cooperative (Finley, N.D.) as file clerk and receptionist. In 2001, Sheyenne Valley Electric merged with Nodak Electric and Becky transitioned to the role of member services representative in Grand Forks. She quickly became a go-to source for helping members with billing questions and other general inquiries. Becky is excited for retirement and plans to enjoy spending free time with her family and doing some traveling. Thank you, Becky, for all of your hard work and commitment to our members and the cooperative. You will surely be missed at the office.

Crooks promoted

Rebecca Crooks was promoted to member services representative on September 1. She began her career with Nodak in 2017 as receptionist and her new role will include answering and directing phone calls, assisting with member related issues, account changes, resolving concerns, and processing transactions. Rebecca has strong member services skills and enjoys working with people. Congratulations, Rebecca.

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Get Your Furnace Ready For Winter

Slightly cooler temperatures are settling in and now is a perfect time to make sure that your furnace is ready to go for the long winter ahead. Before you fire it up for the season, it is a good idea to make sure that things are in order. Here are a few tips to get your furnace ready for winter:

Change your air filters

Your air filters are the first line of defense to stop small particles from making their way into your ductwork where they can get trapped and recirculate around your home. The key to saving your furnace from dirt and debris is to change your air filters every few months. Or, if your furnace uses an electrostatic filter, now is a good time to wash it and reuse it. Not only will changing your air filters increase the air quality of your environment, it will reduce wear and tear on your HVAC units to extend their lifespan.

Clean the heat exchanger

If your comment is “what is a heat exchanger?,” then it is time to call a professional. A heat exchanger is the part of your furnace that needs to be cleaned and checked for cracks. If there is something wrong with it or it is dirty, it could unwittingly be leaking carbon monoxide, which is dangerous and can be fatal.

Cover your AC condenser

When you start to use your furnace, you no longer need your air conditioning. Make sure to cover your AC condenser to keep it safe for the months ahead. If you cover it, then it won’t be damaged by anything surrounding it. Just make sure that whatever you cover it with won’t trap in moisture, or you could end up with mold or mildew growth that can do a whole lot of damage.

Inspect your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors

Make sure to inspect your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors to ensure that they are working. Since carbon monoxide is an odorless, fatal gas, it is imperative to know that your sensors are working to protect your home and your family. And it’s a good idea to change the batteries in the smoke detectors to ensure they are ready for another year.

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Stable Warmth In Unstable Times

Uncertainty has been the name of the game for much of 2020. But as we slip into the last few weeks of the year, Nodak Electric Cooperative feels certain about one thing – your continued warmth and comfort throughout the winter.

The energy planners at Minnkota Power Cooperative (power provider for Nodak Electric) expect a standard season for members with electric heat on demand response. The voluntary program allows the cooperative to temporarily interrupt service to a member’s off-peak loads, like electric heating and large-capacity water heaters, in exchange for a lower electric rate. For technologies like air-source heat pumps and plenum heaters, the system automatically switches to a backup fuel source such as propane, so there is no break in comfort.

Todd Sailer, Minnkota senior manager of power supply and resource planning, says he expects the level of winter demand response to be comparable to the past 4-5 years – less than 100 hours. Members should always be prepared for up to 200-250 hours of management, but have historically encountered much less. Last winter, Minnkota only logged 10 hours of interruption due mild weather and low wholesale energy prices.

“The only things that are really going to drive that up are a shift in the energy market, which is typically going to be weather related,” Sailer explained. “If you get a polar vortex or a wind event where there’s simply no wind during high loads, that’s where that number suddenly goes from 70 to 250 hours really quick.”

Demand response doesn’t just happen during extreme cold. A planned generator outage or extended lack of intermittent resources across the region can push the program into action. “When we see there’s no wind in North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and those areas where there’s often a lot of wind, that’s when we start to see high markets, and that’s when you’ll see more demand response.” Sailer said.

Although Minnkota expects a typical level of demand response this year, COVID-19 may change when it activates. When more people are working and learning from home, times of peak energy usage shift, which impacts the availability of excess resources to cover energy demand.

“Instead of demand response from 7-9 a.m., it might be from 8-11 a.m.,” Sailer said. “The load curve changes, so it might change how we actually implement our load management.”

Nodak Electric will run a demand response test sometime in early December. During that time, make sure your system is working properly and that you have adequate backup fuel before the coldest days arrive. If you are not a participant in the program but are interested in how to save money with an all season air-source heat pump, a cost-effective plenum heater or zero-maintenance underfloor storage heat, call your energy experts at Nodak Electric.

The demand response program began as a way to manage power during peak seasonal need without building additional generation resources – a costly solution for only a few days a year. But the electric heating technologies that have evolved within the program are helping our members enhance their comfort and safety, things we could all use a little more of in 2020.

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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.


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Nov/Dec 2020

The Official Publication of Nodak Electric Cooperative

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