Back To School Safety: Texting And Driving

Some temptations are hard to resist. While driving, we typically hear that “ding” on our phone and we feel the urgent need to check it. We know we shouldn’t, but we reason that we’re going to make an exception – just this once. Why do we indulge in behavior we know to be wrong, dangerous and illegal?

According to American Automobile Association (AAA) research, most people feel they are better-than-average drivers. After all, we have busy lives and are accustomed to multitasking, but research and thousands of deaths every year prove that we may not be as skilled as we think.

As a new school year begins, children are using the crosswalks while young drivers and school busses are on the road. The reality is that using a phone while driving creates potential for injuries and fatalities. 

At Nodak Electric, safety is foremost in everything we do – for our employees and the members of the communities we serve. We routinely remind our crews of the dangers of distracted driving, and we hope you’ll have similar conversations with your teens, who may be new to the roadways and are especially susceptible to the lure of technology. 

Let’s work together to keep everyone safe on the roads. Remember: that text can wait and waiting just might save a life.

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Pole Top Rescue Training: Nodak Electric Puts Safety First With Annual Training

Nodak Electric pole top rescue training was held in June. Training was facilitated through the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA).

Each year Nodak’s lineworkers, along with the GFAFB airmen, review what to do in the case of an emergency that involves a fellow crew member. At this time, lineworkers re-certify their climbing skills and practice different emergency scenarios. If a lineworker was to have an emergency while climbing a pole, the training would ensure another lineworker would be able to rescue them, lower individuals safely to the ground, and begin first aid. Using different rigging combinations lets the lineworkers practice for a variety of situations. Nodak always puts safety first, and by performing safety training, the cooperative is assuring that its employees are properly trained to handle any situation. 

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Keep It Cool!

An air conditioner’s filters, coils and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air-conditioning performance, while energy use steadily increases.


The most important maintenance task to ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to routinely replace or clean its filters. Clogged, dirty filters reduce the amount of airflow and significantly reduce a system’s efficiency. In addition, when airflow is obstructed, air can bypass the filter and deposit dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat-absorbing capacity. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return duct’s length. Common filter locations are in walls, ceilings or in the air conditioner itself. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.

Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. They are available in a variety of types and efficiencies. Clean or replace your air-conditioning system’s filter or filters every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use, is subjected to dusty conditions or you have fur-bearing pets in the house.


The air conditioner’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over their months and years of service. A clean filter prevents the evaporator coil from soiling quickly. In time, however, the evaporator coil will still collect dirt. This dirt reduces airflow and insulates the coil, reducing its ability to absorb heat. To avoid this problem, check your evaporator coil every year and clean it as necessary.

Outdoor condenser coils can also become dirty if the outdoor environment is dusty or if there is foliage nearby. You can easily see the condenser coil and notice if dirt is collecting on its fins.

You should minimize dirt and debris near the condenser unit. Your dryer vents, falling leaves and lawn mower are all potential sources of dirt and debris. Cleaning the area around the coil, removing any debris and trimming foliage back at least 2 feet allow for adequate airflow around the condenser.


The aluminum fins on evaporator and condenser coils are easily bent and can block airflow through the coil. Air-conditioning wholesalers sell a tool called a “fin comb” that will comb these fins back into nearly original condition.

Hiring a professional

When your air conditioner needs more than regular maintenance, such as when it does not reduce the indoor temperature to a comfortable level, hire a professional service technician. A well-trained technician will find and fix problems in your air-conditioning system. The technician should:

  • Check for correct amount of refrigerant
  • Test for refrigerant leaks using a leak detector
  • Capture any refrigerant that must be evacuated from the system, instead of illegally releasing it to the atmosphere
  • Check for and seal duct leakage in central systems
  • Measure airflow through the evaporator coil
  • Verify the correct electric control sequence and make sure the heating system and cooling system cannot operate simultaneously
  • Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
  • Oil motors and check belts for tightness and wear
  • Check the accuracy of the thermostat
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Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act

The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) was enacted in response to the energy crisis of the 1970s to encourage cogeneration and renewable resources, and to promote and encourage conservation of electricity. Since its adoption, PURPA has been changed or updated a few times. Most recently, it was updated through amendments to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Those amendments require electric utilities that are eligible for federal funding to hold a hearing to consider how we promote demand response and transportation electrification. Nodak Electric Cooperative already has policies that support these new PURPA standards, but we welcome your comments and recommendations on how we can improve what we are doing in these two areas. Your board of directors will consider all comments as part of its review of improvements to Nodak’s policies for compliance with these new PURPA standards. If you are interested in providing comment for the board’s consideration, it needs to be received in our office by Sept. 15, 2023.

Notice Of Hearing To Consider The Adoption Of Standards Under The Infrastructure Investment And Jobs Act

Pursuant to amendments included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the “Act”) to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, 16 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., as amended, the Board of Directors of Nodak Electric Cooperative Inc. (hereafter the “Cooperative”) will hold a paper hearing on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at 4000 32nd Ave S, Grand Forks, ND 58201, to consider the following:

  1. Whether the Cooperative will:
    a. promote the use of demand-response and demand flexibility practices by commercial, residential, and industrial consumers to reduce electricity consumption during periods of unusually high demand; and,
    b. establish rate mechanisms for the timely recovery of the costs of promoting demand-response and demand flexibility practices. 16 U.S.C. § 2621(d)(20).
  2. Whether the Cooperative will consider measures to promote greater electrification of the transportation sector, including establishing rates that:
    a. promote affordable and equitable electric vehicle charging options for residential, commercial, and public electric vehicle charging infrastructure;
    b. improve the customer experience associated with electric vehicle charging, including by reducing charging times for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles;
    c. accelerate third-party investment in electric vehicle charging for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles; and,
    d. appropriately recover the marginal costs of delivering electricity to electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. 16 U.S.C. § 2621(d)(21). 

All members of the Cooperative may participate by submitting written comments for consideration of the Board by delivering to the Cooperative at the address set forth below by close of business on September 15, 2023, a written statement detailing their position relative to the adoption of one or both of the above-proposed standards and any response to the written position of the Cooperative staff relative to all of the standards which will be available on or before August 1, 2023. Procedural rules and other information relating to the proceedings and how to participate may be obtained on the Cooperative’s website at, or through a written request mailed to the following address:

Nodak Electric Cooperative
ATTN: PURPA Proceedings
4000 32nd Ave. S
Grand Forks, ND 58201

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Safe Digging Is No Accident!

If you’re planning a digging or construction project, you must call 811 before you begin. Never assume that utility lines are buried deeper than you plan to dig.

811 is the national call-before-you-dig phone number. Anyone who plans to dig should call 811 or go to the website ( before digging to request that the approximate location of buried utilities be marked with paint or flags so that you don’t unintentionally dig into an underground utility line. The call and service are free. 

Private facilities that are not part of a public utility will not be marked. Private facilities may include, but are not limited to, heating systems for pools, electricity to outbuildings, invisible pet fences, and private septic system lines. 

Please call a few business days before you begin any digging, including common projects like planting trees and shrubs or installing fences and mailboxes. You will need to know the address of where you plan to dig, including the county and nearest cross street, as well as the type of project you’re completing and the exact area on the property where you’re planning to dig. Whether you call 811 or make your request online, you’ll need the same info.

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Minnkota Transmission Line Inspections Scheduled For August

Minnkota Power Cooperative, Nodak’s wholesale power provider, will be inspecting its transmission lines in preparation for vegetation maintenance activities in 2024. This inspection will allow Minnkota to evaluate vegetation growth around electrical infrastructure and within the right of way. The purpose of these inspections is to ensure that electricity can be delivered safely and reliably to your area, as well as prioritize project work. Davey Resource Group will be assisting Minnkota personnel in the patrols. If you have questions, please visit or call 701-795-4000.

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Nodak board member, David Brag, completes NRECA training programs

Cooperative member-owners are best served by directors who are well-versed in democratic principles and who understand the industry and how this industry can move forward to meet changing demands. Their education is the cornerstone of effective self-governance. 

Recently, David Brag completed three NRECA training programs for the board: the Credentialed Cooperative Director Certificate (CCD) program, Board Leadership Certificate (BLC) program and Director Gold Credential program. The CCD program consists of five courses that focus on basic governance knowledge and essential skills required of cooperative directors.

The BLC program consists of a series of courses focusing in greater depth on specific industry and governance issues. The Director Gold Credential program recognizes directors committed to continuing their education beyond the CCD and BLC and who desire a tangible credential that demonstrates their ongoing commitment to advancing their knowledge and performing their fiduciary duty to the best of their ability. These programs provide a valuable set of knowledge and skills that will benefit Nodak Electric and our members. 

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Trimmed Trees Are Safe Trees

One of the biggest problems that occurs during thunderstorms, ice storms or whenever the high winds of North Dakota blow through Nodak’s service territory, are power outages caused by trees falling onto power lines and causing electric service to drop. Preventative maintenance by regular trimming of trees and brush along power lines helps cut down on the number of outages, as well as annoying blinks.

Our crews are constantly patrolling line and reporting problem areas where trimming/removal needs to be done. When we get a call from members regarding a tree in or close to the line, a crew member will investigate and determine what needs to be done. Removing trees is a last resort, but occasionally needs to be done to ensure the safety of the homeowner and the integrity of the line. If you have any questions regarding the proximity of a tree to a power line, please call and we will work together to determine the next action needed.

Yes, clearing trees can be inconvenient for our members, but to avoid future outages and keep members safe, Nodak focuses on clearing tree growth near power lines. Members are responsible for making sure trees aren’t growing into the line that comes from our meter to your house or out buildings.

All of Nodak’s efforts to clear trees around our power lines are rooted in safety. We encourage our members to be mindful of safety for our crews, as well as the permission to clear trees from lines to help provide safe, reliable, and affordable power. Remember that having properly maintained right-of-way corridors helps reduce or eliminate power outages.

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2023 Youth Tour

Addyson Hefta recently returned from the Youth Tour. She said, “The North Dakota Youth Tour was one the best experiences I have had. I met so many new people from not only North Dakota, but Montana, Georgia, and many other states, too! I had so much fun doing all the touristy activities and even just hanging out at our hotel. We did so many different things. Some of my favorite were touring the Capitol, talking to Sen. John Hoeven, seeing the Lion King at the Kennedy Center, pin-trading with other states, going to the Nationals game, touring Gettysburg, and the river-boat cruise! I’ve gained some really close friendships from Youth Tour and if I could do it again, I would do it a thousand times more! Thank you so much Nodak Electric for sponsoring me to attend Washington, D.C.!” 

The North Dakota Electric Cooperative Youth Tour has brought high school students to the nation’s capital for a week in June every year since the late 1950s. Addyson Hefta won this year’s Nodak Electric Cooperative essay contest and received an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., courtesy of the cooperative.

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What Can You Do

From the gas pump to the supermarket to the electric meter, costs are going up across the board. These are difficult times for members and we’re here to help you manage your energy usage and bill. Call Nodak at (800) 732-4373 or email to inquire about:

Smart Hub
Access your Nodak account anytime, anywhere to make a payment and view daily energy usage.

Budget Billing
Pay a fixed amount each month based on your annual usage.

Financial Assistance
Take advantage of state & local programs:

Off-Peak Electric Heating
Nodak Electric offers off-peak energy at discounted rates:

Energy Savings
Nodak Electric offers help and incentives to save energy:

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Notify Us Now Of Your Construction Or Expansion Plans

Nodak Electric Cooperative always strives to meet our members’ expectations. That’s why we need to be aware of your construction or expansion plans as soon as possible. Please contact our office if you are planning to build a new home or expand a structure. We will need to get your project on our construction calendar and order the necessary equipment.

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Around the co-op

Steve Breidenbach Retires

Steve Breidenbach retired in June after 44 years of serving the members with his contagious energy and enthusiasm. If you have stopped by the co-op during the last four decades, you’ve likely heard Steve’s infectious laugh. 

Steve has fulfilled many roles since he first was hired in 1979 as a Member Services Representative. He was promoted to Engineering Representative in 1982, followed by promotions to Planning Engineer (1990), Systems Engineer (1995), and finally Engineering Manager (2010). As Engineering Manager, Steve is responsible for the Engineering and Dispatch departments, along with the design and updating of all of Nodak’s distribution lines. Throughout the years, Steve’s job duties changed, but his eagerness to help members and co-workers never changed. 

Steve and his wife, Cindy, who also just retired, plan to spend their summer at the lake with family and friends, followed by winter fun of cheering on his favorite UND hockey team. The Breidenbachs have two children, and four grandchildren they plan to spoil. 

“Thank you, Steve, for always supporting the co-op and your many years of dedicated leadership. Your laughter and positive attitude will truly be missed. Enjoy the fruits of all your years of great work. Here’s to wishing you a relaxing and wonderful retirement,” said Nodak CEO Mylo Einarson.

Cole Johnson Promoted

Cole Johnson was recently named as the new Engineering Manager at Nodak Electric, succeeding Steve Breidenbach, who retired after an impressive 44 years of service. In this new role, Cole will provide direction and leadership for the Engineering, Metering and Dispatch departments, as well as leading the design and modernization efforts for Nodak’s distribution grid. 

Originally from East Grand Forks, Minn., Cole received an electrical engineering degree from the University of North Dakota and a master’s in Business Administration from the University of Mary. Cole joined Nodak in 2011 as an intern and was hired full time as an electrical engineer in 2012. 

Cole and his wife Janafer recently welcomed a newborn daughter into their family. They currently reside in rural Grand Forks, N.D.

Bryce Langerud Hired

Nodak Electric Cooperative welcomes Bryce Langerud, a Harwood, N.D., native, to the Nodak team as a receptionist. Her duties include handling inbound phone traffic, processing cash receipts and service orders. Bryce attended Northland Community and Technical College for business management. Her previous work experience includes time as an optometric technician at Opticare, East Grand Forks, Minn. She enjoys reading, going to the races, hanging out with family, friends, and her two cats. 

Seasonal apprentices

Brian David-Clark
Minot, N.D.
Construction Crew

Gage Metzen
Hankinson, N.D.
Cavalier Crew

Trevor Werchau
Minot, N.D.
Grand Forks Crew



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