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New Facility Enhances Service To GFAFB

Nodak Electric Cooperative took its support of the Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB) to the next level in 2021 with the addition of a unique service center. The 4,500-square-foot facility is government funded as a part of a utilities privatization (UP) agreement between the co-op and GFAFB. The agreement, signed in 2018, made Nodak the owner and operator of the electric infrastructure on the base. The new on-site service center will allow crews to serve the base and its residents more quickly, safely and thoroughly.

Nodak will use the new facility in several ways. A classroom inside the building will help train Nodak line and base personnel on the electrical systems of the GFAFB, both overhead and underground. There is also office space for crew members who need work stations during a job on the base. A large portion of the square footage is warehouse storage space for utility vehicles and materials used to maintain the electrical distribution system.

“The fact that we will have equipment and material at our on-base warehouse means it will take less time to restore power to base residents,” said Dan Schaefer, Nodak line superintendent. “Otherwise, we would have to run to Grand Forks for material. Any time we can restore service in a timely manner, it makes Nodak and GFAFB stronger partners.”

The construction of the service center happened right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it ultimately took 14 months from start to finish. Meetings have already taken place at the facility, and crews continue to add office furniture and shelving to make the space more functional.

“Having a facility of this quality makes our jobs of maintaining the electrical system on the GFAFB easier,” Schaefer said.

 

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Lending A Helping Hand

“Cooperation Among Cooperatives” is one of the cooperative principles Nodak Electric values above all else, and our team lived that principle in early May. Nodak crews headed west to Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative to assist with restoration efforts after the co-op’s service area was hit with a devastating late April storm. Ice buildup from the weather system knocked out power for not only Burke-Divide members, but also for co-ops in the surrounding area.

Crews in the west were working around the clock to fix these outages, and co-ops across the state started to step in to lend a hand. On Monday, May 2, eight Nodak lineworkers traveled to the site of the destruction to help restore power. We are grateful to have such a hardworking and dedicated crew, and we wish all of the best to our co-op neighbors.

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Be Prepared For Summer Storm Season

Despite the best efforts of Nodak Electric Cooperative and other utilities, outages, surges and low voltages can still occur for many reasons, especially lightning from summer storms. 

Even though your cooperative has an up-to-date distribution system with preventative measures like lightning arresters placed throughout the system, equipment can fail and nature is unpredictable. In fact, a lightning bolt can push an estimated 10 to 100 million volts of electricity with an average current of 30,000 amps. 

Be aware that only in the case of negligence would Nodak Electric Cooperative or any utility’s insurance be liable to pay for damage to a member’s property. While surges and low voltage are rare, they can damage sensitive equipment. These types of events take many forms: 

  • Lightning strikes a power pole, sending a surge in voltage through the power lines. 
  • A vehicle hits a power pole, knocking down one phase of a three-phase feeder, causing low voltage. 

If you ever do experience a surge or low voltage event, turn off and disconnect sensitive equipment as quickly as possible. Doing so is the best defense. Also, many types of surge protectors help protect electrical equipment against voltage fluctuations. Members can purchase whole-house surge protection from an electrician or protection for individual equipment like computers. Surge protectors absorb some of the electric surge and divert the rest to ground. Look for UL-listed products. 

Finally, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems are powered by batteries and provide time for the user to correctly save or shut off items they have on a computer. Some UPS systems provide protection against voltage sags or spikes for however long they are rated to work. Acts of nature like lightning strikes are not covered by many insurance policies. It is always a good idea to check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see what is covered and ask for advice on protecting sensitive electronic equipment.

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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

May/June 2022

The Official Publication of Nodak Electric Cooperative

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