As I write this article, we are in the process of closing our books for 2013. When that process is complete, indications are that we will end what has proven to be a very good year.
The term “good year” can mean a lot of different things. Our financial statements will show that December’s extreme cold weather and heavy grain drying brought on by a late, wetter-than-average harvest pushed sales numbers to a new record high. That is definitely one way we could describe 2013 as a good year.
Another way to define it would be to point out that we were lucky enough to escape Mother Nature’s wrath and the crippling storms that some of our counterparts in North and South Dakota experienced this season. We had our share of smaller weather events but managed to avoid the extreme weather that causes widespread outages. Because of that, we were able to continue to provide the same level of reliability you’ve come to expect. I think we could look at that as being a good year.
Wholesale and retail rates stayed steady throughout 2013. In these times of increasing costs and a tightening regulatory environment, a year where we can hold the line on rates is surely a good year.
Certainly, we can also point to the fact that our linemen spent thousands of hours performing an extremely dangerous job, and in all cases were able to avoid any serious injuries. Bringing our line crews home safe at the end of the day is our highest priority and our number one obligation. We can also say 2013 was a good year because we accomplished that important goal.
Regardless of how you would describe a good year, there are several ways we can look back on 2013 and characterize it as such. On Thursday, April 3, 2014, our 74th annual meeting will be held at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. Along with plenty of good food, fellowship and our annual Board of Directors election, we will detail the events and results of 2013. I would urge all of you to come participate in this important part of your cooperative’s year.
I also want to use some of this space here to make you aware of a change you will soon see on your monthly bill. For quite some time, your service has been billed based on a mid-month billing period. Beginning in April, Nodak will be migrating to a calendar month billing cycle. We’re doing this in part because of a similar change by our power supplier, Minnkota Power Cooperative, which implemented the new billing period January 1, and also in part because it will make communication with our members better.
The cooperative will now have accurate information for monthly and yearly totals without the need to make adjustments based on estimates. Our members will now be able to have monthly usage totals instead of blending two months together, as well as billing periods that may coincide more closely with things such as monthly leases, etc.
Nodak will fully transition to calendar month billing during the April 2014 billing period that begins with the bill our members receive the first part of May. To facilitate this change, the April billing statement will include the new billing period of April 1 through April 30, plus the additional partial month from March 20 through March 31. Subsequently, meters will be read on the last day of each month with payments due by the 25th of the following month.
If you have any questions or concerns about the upcoming change in billing cycles, please give our office a call so we can help you work through this time of transition. Until then, we are looking forward to April and the warmer weather that is likely to come with it, and hopefully see you at our annual meeting.