Even though I work in the energy industry, like most people, I still don’t think much about the electricity I use. I expect the lights to turn on when I flip the switch and the coffeemaker to work each morning. Because electricity is so abundant, we don’t think much about it. Since many of us have been spending more time at home during the past few months, we have likely been using more energy there. And yet, we still expect an endless supply of power with uninterrupted service 24/7. The only time we really think about electricity is when the power goes out, or maybe when the monthly bill arrives.
Given how electricity powers our modern lifestyle every day, it’s a great value, especially when compared to other common services and expenses. For example, think back to the cost of just about any consumer item 20 years ago. Consider the cost of groceries or a cup of your favorite specialty coffee from a few years back. In comparison, the cost of electricity has remained largely flat, unlike most other consumer goods.
Like many of you, I have a cellphone to stay connected, and I subscribe to cable TV and Netflix so I can enjoy more viewing options. Many of us consider these necessities for modern-day life. We can see what we are getting for our money, and we pay the price for those services. In contrast, when we use electricity, we don’t necessarily “see” all that we are getting for our money.
But considering what electricity does for us, it’s a tremendous value for our quality of life as well as our budgets. For comparison, consider the average rent increase has been nearly 4% from 2014 to 2019 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index, or CPI. The cost of medical care increased 3% during that time, and education was not too far behind at 2.6%. So, where did electricity rank? The CPI shows electricity increased by less than half a percentage point at 0.4% nationwide over that time period.
The bottom line: Electricity brings everyday value. In fact, Nodak Electric Cooperative members on average had electricity available to them 99.97% of the time last year. Considering that electricity is something we all use around-the-clock, I’m very proud of our track record. At the same time, we are striving to increase our service reliability, reduce those brief interruptions and reduce costs. We are continuously working to improve our operations to ensure a smarter grid and ensure we have the right energy mix. Nodak Electric Cooperative provides the reliable service you expect and deserve as a valued member of our cooperative.
We recognize that the past few months have been challenging for many of our members, and we’re here to help. If you have questions about your account, please give us a call. Nodak is your electric co-op, and our sole purpose is to serve you and the needs of our community. That’s everyday value.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we made the decision back in March to postpone the annual meeting to a time when we felt safe gathering a large group of people. In light of the continued threat and social distancing guidance, your board of directors has decided to hold an annual meeting as a “business-only” meeting. We have two business items we need to take care of – approval of last year’s annual meeting minutes and approval of the results of the board of directors election. Both of these items will be conducted through mail-in ballots only.
For many of us, the annual meeting is one of the highlights of our membership in the cooperative. With that in mind, it’s a very difficult decision to not bring you all together for an evening of fellowship. Unfortunately, the conditions aren’t conducive to doing so, and we will have to wait until next spring to give it another try. It’s hard to do, but it’s the safe thing to do. Your board chairman and I will record messages for the membership and place them online for you to review. Until we can get together again face-to-face, stay safe, everyone.