At Nodak Electric, we have a fairly straightforward mission of providing our membership with affordable, reliable electricity that provides the best energy value in the region. While affordability is still paramount, as our society continues to modernize, the reliability component is becoming increasingly important. Every day, more of life’s conveniences run on electronics that require a constant flow of power, more manufacturing processes depend on computers that demand a steady flow of power, and even many things that are needed for survival are dependent on electricity, like your home heating system. Regardless of the fuel source, your heating system most likely depends on thermostats and fans that are powered by electricity. In most cases, you can’t even pump fuel for the transport of goods and services without electricity, as the fuel delivery systems require electricity to run. As power systems fail, our society quickly becomes unmanageable. This February, many of the people in southwestern United States unfortunately experienced this firsthand.
As a means of creating enhanced reliability as well as additional capacity in our highest growth region, the Berg substation was recently added to our system in south Grand Forks. This new addition provides redundancy for our members in the Grand Forks region in case something catastrophic happens to one of our other substations and provides additional capacity for growth in the areas in and around Grand Forks.
The name Berg may sound familiar to some of our long-term members, as the substation is named after my predecessor – the former president and CEO of Nodak, George Berg. George served Nodak with dedication and distinction for 37 years as a Nodak employee, 24 years of them as the president and CEO. During George’s tenure he helped guide the merger with Sheyenne Valley Electric Cooperative, managed the downsizing of the military presence in the region when the Minutemen II missiles were removed from our service area, and helped bring our largest load online – the Keystone Pipeline. Reliability and affordability were two of the guiding principles that George believed in, so naming this important new piece of our system after him is well deserved and appropriate.
Last year, our member-owners had power available an average of 99.97% of the time. That statistic is one to be proud of as it places us in the upper one-third of all cooperatives across the country. What makes it especially noteworthy is that our cooperative, with over 8,000 miles of distribution line, is over three times the size of the average cooperative across the United States, making it even more difficult to maintain that amount of reliability. What makes this level of reliability possible is partially the investment we make in our distribution system, partially the deployment of lineworker personnel throughout our distribution system, but mostly the commitment and dedication of our lineworkers to quickly respond and take care of any problem day or night. The power we have is in the people we serve and in the people we have in place to provide those services.