By now you should have been given more than one opportunity to continue receiving the North Dakota Living magazine after January 1. You probably are well aware that if you choose to receive the magazine on a monthly basis, you will be charged $1.00 per month extra on your power bill.
We expect a large share of our members will choose to continue receiving the North Dakota Living magazine. The publication is as good as any I have seen, and the price is certainly a bargain. One dollar won’t get you a hot dog at a basketball game; it won’t get you one ride at the county fair. One dollar is not even an adequate tip for a meal for two at any restaurant. One dollar will, however, get you a copy of the best magazine available containing local, regional, and statewide stories.
With all that said, the most frequent question being asked by our members during this transition is why don’t we continue to provide the magazine to everyone free of charge? The answer is that it is not free of charge, and the total annual cost to Nodak has been roughly $140,000. This is a significant amount of money, and has been in addition to the cost of about $35,000 to publish and print our official news publication The Nodak Neighbor. The North Dakota Living magazine has of course never been free to you. As a cooperative, any expense we incur is paid by you when you pay your electric bill.
If 100% of our members wanted and read the North Dakota Living magazine, there would be no problem. You would each be receiving what you want at a bargain rate. Suppose, however, that 20% of the membership does not read the magazine. This 20% of our annual cost, or nearly $30,000 annually, is then wasted. In time of tight budgets, we cannot stand to waste money in any area of our business. The common sense solution to this issue is to have those people who enjoy the magazine pay for it.
This brings about the second most frequent question. Why doesn’t my electric bill go down by $1.00 per month if I choose not to receive the magazine? The answer is that if everything else were held constant, your bill certainly could be reduced under these circumstances. However, everything else is not constant. For example, we absorbed in our operating budget this year a wholesale purchase cost increase in excess of $1 million. Most other operating expenses are increasing every year with inflation. We are doing everything we can to curb unnecessary spending, which will keep electric rate increases at a minimum.
Eliminating the cost of providing the North Dakota Living magazine is one of many things we have done recently to help keep the cost of your electricity at a minimum. Our ultimate goal is to provide quality service at a minimum cost, and keep you informed through this publication, The Nodak Neighbor. Making the North Dakota Living magazine available at a bargain rate will be a value-added service that will be paid by those who read it.