May Is Electrical Safety Month

Every May, electric cooperatives across the country celebrate Electrical Safety Month. Raising awareness about the importance of electrical safety is more essential than ever. This article discusses some potential electrical hazards and how you can safeguard your home.

Surge protectors are used to protect your computer and other electronic equipment from damage caused by voltage changes. If you are relying heavily on power strips, it might be an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs.

Extension cords should not be used to provide power on a long-term or permanent basis. If you are using several extension cords, you should look into getting additional outlets installed by a qualified, licensed electrician.

Appliances can pose hazards if not properly cleaned and maintained. When was the last time you thought about your dryer as a fire hazard? Clean the lint filter before and after each use to reduce the chances of a fire starting and to increase its energy efficiency.

Electricity is the cause of more than 140,000 fires each year, resulting in more than 500 deaths, 4,000 injuries and $1.6 billion in property damage, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).

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What’s That In My Yard?

If you’re a homeowner, you likely have at least one form of utility electrical equipment somewhere in your yard. You should know how to care for the areas around equipment to ensure it remains reliable, safe and easily accessible.

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Message To Our Members

In the electric industry, we regularly measure success in terms of the good things that happened during the year, like financial gains or reliability. Frequently, we measure success relative to the lack of bad things or undesirable events. The absence of electrical injury to our employees or the public, absence of major outage-causing ice storms, or the absence of retail rate increases are all good measures of success.

I’m happy to report that in all these regards, we had a very successful year. Most importantly, we were able to continue reliable service to our member/ owners without any serious injuries to either an employee or a member of the public. Safety is always our number-one priority and something we never take for granted or take lightly.

As a member-owned cooperative, we are guided by seven cooperative principals, such as open and voluntary membership and democratic member control. One of those guided principals is cooperation among cooperatives, which is the idea that cooperatives are most effective and efficient when working together. We were blessed that the harsh North Dakota winter spared us from major ice storms that have a tendency to impact our ability to keep the lights on. Members of our cooperative family in western North Dakota were not as fortunate. In April, a major snowstorm caused widespread outages and devastated their distribution systems. In a display of cooperatives helping cooperatives, we sent crews and equipment to western North Dakota for four weeks to help our cooperative friends get services restored to their membership. It’s more than likely when, not if, we will need the support of other cooperatives in the future, so we are happy to help out when we can.

To coin a phrase from President Warren G. Harding, 2022 was in many respects a “Return to Normalcy.” We had 12 in-person board meetings and returned to in-person meetings and training. We even tried to have an in-person annual meeting. In many ways though, 2022 was anything but normal. Costs for the materials and equipment we need to extend new services and keep our system operating have skyrocketed, and our supply chain is strained. In many cases, lead times on what were already extended deliveries have more than doubled. In some cases, we are having to order materials we need 18-20 months early without knowing exactly how much it will cost, or when it will arrive. Despite these challenges, we were still able to deliver very strong results and are pleased to enter 2023 as the seventh year in a row without any rate increases. Rate stability is important to us as it helps keep our members’ dollars in their pockets – right where they belong.

Record sales revenue and record kilowatt-hour sales contributed to another robust financial performance. An operating margin of over $4.5 million and a total net margin of just under $7 million helped to keep your cooperative in a very strong position. In May of 2022, your board of directors approved a $3.8 million capital credit retirement, which was a record for our cooperative. With such a strong financial performance in 2022, the board of directors will match that dollar amount for the next capital credit retirement. Our member-owners are once again reaping the benefit of the cooperative business model where all operating margins are eventually returned to the members that created them. That’s the power of ownership.

The strength of our business continues to be our cooperative structure. We are owned by and serve local North Dakotans. We are governed and regulated by people you elect, and who pay a Nodak electric bill themselves. More importantly, they answer to you as ratepayers every day when they see you in the local restaurant, in church, or at a ballgame. The board of directors will always listen to your opinion and act in the best interest of the membership as a whole.

Nodak Electric has operated as a consumer-owned and consumer-controlled business for over 80 years and has done so successfully by keeping our focus on the member at the end of the line. Thank you for your support and patronage over the past year, and thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the cooperative. We hope we will see you at your cooperative’s annual meeting at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks on April 11.

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Turn Your Coins Into Change

Operation Round Up® is a program that rounds up members’ monthly electric bills to the next whole dollar amount. The resulting funds are put into a special account to assist others in need. The funds collected through Operation Round Up are used for a variety of projects, programs and items throughout the Nodak service area.

The Operation Round board meets quarterly and considers each application that has been received since the previous meeting. It awards funds to the applicants based on how well the application fits the original funding guidelines: 1) Individuals or families in crisis; 2) Services – ambulance and fire; 3) Community youth needs with emphasis on permanent benefit; 4) Scholarships with emphasis on reeducation of displaced agricultural people; 5) Senior needs with emphasis on permanent benefit; and 6) No requests for funding of utility and space heating energy will be accepted.

Operation Round Up is a voluntary program with roughly 51% of the 15,137 members participating. Since the program started, a total of $1,071,811 has been distributed to individuals and organizations throughout the Nodak Electric service area.

2022 Recipients

  • Mouhtasim Awaleh $268.00
  • Janet Bennett $1,399.00
  • Joanne Close $2,500.00
  • Deandre Davis $995.00
  • Jaxon & Grace Hesse $1,500.00
  • Simon Knutson $1,000.00
  • William Newland $2,195.00
  • Pembina Co. Backpack Program $1,000.00
  • Altru Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Aneta Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Binford Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Cooperstown Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Drayton Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Emerado Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Finley Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Fordville Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Hillsboro Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Hoople Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Hope Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Lake Region Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Lakota Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Larimore Ambulance Service $125.00
  • McVille Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Michigan Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Northwood Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Park River Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Pembina County Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Valley Ambulance & Rescue Squad $125.00
  • West Traill Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Cavalier HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Central Valley HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Dakota Prairie HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Devils Lake HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Grand Forks Central After Prom Party $50.00
  • Hatton-Northwood After Prom Party $50.00
  • Larimore HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Minto HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • North Border HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Park River HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Red River HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Thompson HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Valley-Edinburg HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Delvina Blake $1,700.00
  • Diane Curtiss $2,000.00
  • Jamie Dunn $1,200.00
  • Gary Edwards $2,000.00
  • Robert Gemmill $648.00
  • Ava John $1,000.00
  • Simon Knutson $1,500.00
  • Francine McClendon $750.00
  • Dean Skjerven $1,000.00
  • Mohammed Alsarray $247.00
  • Kyra Burns $100.00
  • Ray Helgoe $450.00
  • Troy Hruby $1,450.00
  • Charlotte Mitchell $2,087.00
  • Leila Roberts $2,000.00
  • McKinley Salazar $416.00
  • Kyanne Stringer $200.00
  • Nova Stringer $200.00
  • Veterans Honor Flight $3,000.00
  • Waris Aden $2,500.00
  • Colton Buchls $800.00
  • Christmas Angel Program $300.00
  • Titus Ewals $240.00
  • Theresia Hoffner $2,144.00
  • Raymond Merrick $1,714.00
  • Joshua Rodriquez $952.00
  • Betty Rolland $1,714.00
  • BreAnn Ziegelmann $220.00
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