YOUR NODAK NEIGHBORS

DAN SCHAEFER

DAN SCHAEFER

Line Superintendent

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STRONGER TOGETHER

Nodak Electric Cooperative and Minnkota Power

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Have A Safe And Happy Holiday

At Nodak Electric, safety is the most important job we have. We have the awesome responsibility to do our best to keep each other safe at work and to educate our members on how to stay safe around electricity at home and work. As the holidays draw near, for many of us that means celebrations with friends and family, travel, decorations, cooking and shopping. All of us at Nodak Electric want you to be safe during the holidays, so here are a few tips to consider as you gear up for the season. We can’t guarantee that the hustle and bustle of the season won’t leave you with a few frayed nerves, but hopefully these reminders will help you avoid frayed wires.

Inspect your seasonal items
Many of us have treasured holiday mementos that we bring out of storage year after year. The holidays are also a time when we dust off specialized cooking gadgets that allow us to prepare our favorite seasonal treats. These items are often handed down through generations and might lack modern safety features.

Take a few moments to carefully inspect all your holiday items to ensure everything is in safe working order. A few things to look out for include:
• Brittle insulation on wires
• Rodent damage to wires
• Worn switches with the potential to short circuit
• Corroded metal parts
• Broken legs, unstable bases and other tip-over hazards

Extension cords are temporary
When you asked your school teacher for an extension on your homework, it was a one-time thing, right? The same holds true for extension cords. They are designed for temporary use and should never be used as a permanent or long-term solution.

Never bypass safety devices
There are reasons why some devices have fuses, some plugs have three prongs instead of two and one prong is wider than the other on two-prong outlets. When those safety features get in the way of your holiday decor plans, you might be tempted to tamper with those features. Don’t do it! If your plugs won’t fit together, that means they’re not designed to work together. Rather than tampering with a safety feature, find a safe solution.

Don’t forget to look up
When working outside with a ladder, be mindful of the location of overhead power lines. Always carry your ladder so that it is parallel to the ground. Before placing your ladder in an upright position, look around to ensure you are a safe distance from any power lines.

Stay away from  your service connection
An overhead wire that brings power from a pole to your house can be dangerous if not respected. You should treat this line the same way you’d treat any other power line on our system. Maintain a safe distance – even if that means a small gap in the perfect outline of lights. If you must perform work close to your service entrance, get the professionals involved so it can be done safely.

Read the fine print
If you take a few minutes to read and understand the limitations of your lights and other electrified holiday decorations, you can save yourself a great deal of work and frustration in the long run. For example, the tag at the end of an extension cord will tell you if it’s rated for outdoor use, whether it will remain flexible in cold temperatures and how much energy it can safely handle. Similarly, holiday lights will tell you how many strings can be safely linked together.

Don’t forget about the kids…and pets
If you have small children, you’ve probably spent a great deal of time making sure every square inch of your home is childproof – every cabinet is locked and every outlet is covered. But sometimes the joy of celebrating the holidays with our little ones makes us a little less vigilant about electrical safety. Make sure your holiday decor receives the same level of safety scrutiny you apply to all of the permanent items in your home. Curious and mischievous pets can present similar challenges. Make sure Fluffy isn’t nibbling on all those extra wires or using your tree as her personal back scratcher or jungle gym.

From all of us at Nodak, we want to wish you a happy, but more importantly a safe holiday season.

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Holiday Safety Tips

Homeowners decorate their homes for Christmas earlier and earlier – often before Thanksgiving. If you’re ready to start hanging lights, take safety precautions. Nearly three people per hour are treated in hospital emergency rooms for decorating-related injuries during every holiday season, according to the National Safety Council. Here are five ways to keep yourself safe if you have decorating duty this season.

  1. Inspect last year’s lights before using them again this holiday season. Discard any with frayed or exposed wires, loose connections or broken sockets.
  2. Decorate the tree with kids in mind. Place breakable ornaments and those with metal hooks near the top of the tree, where little ones can’t reach them.
  3. Likewise, some holiday plants, including some varieties of poinsettias, can be harmful to children and pets. Keep them out of your home – or at least out of reach. And keep the number for the Poison Control Center handy: (800) 222-1222.
  4. Use sturdy ladders when decorating outdoors. Indoors, climb stepladders instead of using chairs, which aren’t designed for someone in a standing position.
  5. Don’t hide extension cords under rugs or furniture. They can overheat and catch on fire. And when you take the tree down, unplug extension cords. They’re not designed for permanent use.

Fun Facts About LEDs

  • In 2012, about 49 million LEDs were installed in the United States, saving about $675 million in annual energy costs.
  • Today’s LED bulbs can be six to seven times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lights and can reduce energy use by more than 80 percent.
  • Good-quality LED bulbs can last more than 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. If the bulb is burned 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it would last three years.
  • From vehicle brake lights to TVs, LEDs are used for their compact size, ease of maintenance, resistance to breakage and ability to focus light in a single direction.
  • LEDs contain no mercury, and a recent U.S. Department of Energy study determined that LEDs have a much smaller environmental impact than incandescent bulbs.
  • By 2030, LEDs are expected to account for 75 percent of all lighting sales globally.
  • Switching entirely to LED lights over the next 20 years could save $250 billion in U.S. energy costs.

Source: energy.gov

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Minnkota Projects Lower-Than-Average Control Hours

In the world of load control, timing is everything.
What are the prices when you are purchasing energy from the energy market? What resources are available during peak load conditions? What are the weather impacts during the cold-weather months?

“Market price volatility is driven by weather and generator outages. These events drive the majority of the control hours,” said Todd Sailer, Minnkota Power Cooperative senior manager of power supply & resource planning.

Sailer said Minnkota, your cooperative’s wholesale energy supplier, estimates 140 hours of dual-heat load control this winter. This compares to the 10-year average of 180 hours and last year’s total of 62 hours.

“The market conditions are very similar to last year and we do expect the temperatures to be a little colder than they were last year,” Sailer said.

During outages and periods of peak electric demand, Minnkota’s first option is to purchase energy from the power market.

“Right now we have some scheduled outages for the first part of December and then again in the spring,” Sailer said. “So we typically do not schedule maintenance in the January and February time frame when we’re at peak conditions. That’s where the unplanned or forced outages come into play.”

If the timing is not right and affordable power is not available, off-peak loads are temporarily controlled. The savings are passed on to members through the lower off-peak heating rate.

“Controlling load during these periods protects consumers from the volatility of the market and prevents the need to build new power plants just to serve peak loads,” Sailer said.

Minnkota has the ability to control up to 350 megawatts through its demand response system. This includes temporarily controlling storage heating systems, large-capacity water heaters, home vehicle chargers and large industrial consumers with backup generators. Millions of dollars have been saved due to the successful operation of Minnkota’s load management system for nearly 40 years.

An off-peak system consists of an electric heating source as its primary component. A supplemental heating source must operate several hundred hours or more during the winter season. Sailer said members with a well-maintained backup heating system should not notice a difference in comfort level when their off-peak heating system is controlled.

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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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800-732-4373 or 701-746-4461

Nov/Dec 2017

The Official Publication of Nodak Electric Cooperative

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