Outage Response Process

Nodak Electric Cooperative strives to limit power outages. But when Mother Nature has different ideas and an outage does occur, it is helpful to report it as soon as possible.

In the case of any life-threatening emergency (fire, downed “live” power line, etc.), call 911 before calling Nodak at (800) 732-4373. Please do not report outages  through email or Facebook, as they are not monitored 24/7 and it may delay response time.

Power outages happen for a variety of reasons. Storms are often the cause of large outages because of high winds, lightning, rain or ice. Other outages can be caused by equipment problems and wildlife.

Whatever the cause, Nodak asks members to call in to report the outage and to refer to our online outage map (found on our homepage, in the top right corner under Outages). The outage map updates automatically and allows you to keep track of the status and location of outages. Nodak’s Facebook page also offers timely notices and frequent updates on larger outages and restoration status.

Our operations center monitors outages 24/7 and crews are always on call to help restore power.

Please make sure we have your current phone number on file and that your account information is updated. With a current phone number tied to your account, we can more quickly locate the area where power is out and restore your electricity. To update your account information, log in to your online account, or email or call us.

We try to offer estimated restoration times when possible, but there are many factors that can complicate power restoration. When lines are down or equipment is damaged, it can take longer to get the lights back on.

Downed power lines are dangerous! Assume any power line that is down is energized and stay away. Remember – if the situation is an emergency, call 911. Report the downed line to Nodak at (800) 732-4373.

Outage Response Process

Helping us helps you. Here are the steps Nodak takes to restore your power:

  1. Report a power outage as soon as possible. Having your meter number or account number handy is a time saver for the dispatcher. These numbers can be found on your most recent electric bill.
  2. To the best of your ability, notify the dispatcher if you heard or saw anything that could identify a probable cause of the outage, such as a loud bang, flash of light or tree on the line. This information could reduce restoration time.
  3. Outages are entered in the Outage Management System (OMS) to help pinpoint the location of the problem. The Outage Viewer map on the Nodak Electric website displays the current status and continuously updates outage restoration. We want our members to know what areas are being affected.
  4. Nodak’s line crews are called out to investigate the outage cause and safely make the repairs to restore power.
  5. The line crews verify the restoration and report back to the dispatcher with data to clear the outage.

The online outage map updates automatically and allows you to keep track of the status and location of outages. View the Nodak outage map at www.nodakelectric.com/outages/.

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Military Appreciation Month

Military Appreciation Month is a special month-long observance honoring those in and out of the United States Armed Forces. The Senate selected May as National Military Appreciation Month in 1999 to ensure the nation was given the chance to publicly show its gratitude and recognize the men and women – past and present – who serve our country.

Each year, Military Appreciation Month reminds Americans of the important role the U.S. Armed Forces have played in the history and development of our country. May was chosen because it has many individual days marked to note our military’s achievements. We thank you, service members, for your dedication and strength in keeping our nation safe.

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Open For Business And Ready To Serve You

When the latest issue of The Nodak Neighbor lands in your mailbox, I hope it finds you and your family safe and healthy. Since the last issue, we’ve been busy responding to the pandemic and issues related to COVID-19. The pandemic has changed how we interact with each other and how we conduct business but, rest assured, we are here to meet your needs.

Electric power providers are for obvious reasons considered critical infrastructure and, as such, our employees are essential workers. So, in some ways it’s been business as usual for us but in a not-so-usual kind of way. We have taken numerous steps to protect our employees and our members while doing what we need to do to keep your lights on.

In March, we closed the doors to the cooperative but kept the cooperative open for business. Almost any business our members need to do with us can be accomplished at www.nodakelectric.com, through SmartHub, or by calling our office at 701-746-4461 or 1-800-732-4373. We are here to help you transact your business electronically or over the phone and, if needed, we’ll schedule an in-person appointment when it’s safe to do so.

Throughout this crisis, we have found a way to keep all our full-time employees productive and working for you, while doing what we can to minimize any potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Some employees have been working remotely, some have been physically separated, while others have essentially been isolating in their offices. Our line crews have been separated into nine functional but physically separated groups to maximize our ability to accomplish our main priority: to safely keep the lights on for our member-owners. We encourage you to call us with questions or visit our website to conduct your business electronically. While the doors to the cooperative are temporarily closed, we are very much open for business and stand ready to provide the service you need.

As you already know, we made the decision early on to postpone our annual meeting. At the time, there weren’t any prohibitions on large gatherings, but we felt it wasn’t prudent to put that many of you all in one room. We are closely monitoring the current situation and have been working toward having an annual meeting sometime later this year. We will let you know when we feel the time is right. Until then, stay safe and healthy. I really look forward to the day when we can come together for a cup of coffee and a friendly handshake.

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2019 Youth Tour

Harrison Stockeland, a junior at Grand Forks Central High School, was motivated to apply for the Youth Tour to learn more about Washington and to meet other students. More than 1,800 students from around the country attended the annual Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., from June 15-21, 2019.

“It was truly a magical experience, meeting new people from lots of different states. I made an uncountable number of friends and a few who will be friends for life,” Harrison said.

Each year, Nodak sponsors one student for the event. Now in its 55th year, the Youth Tour was established to help educate youth about the political process and allow students to visit national monuments and interact with U.S. government officials.

Students toured the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the Smithsonian museums, cruised down the Potomac on a riverboat and visited Arlington National Cemetery, the National Archives, the Holocaust Museum and Gettysburg National Military Park. The group had opportunities to explore the East Wing of the White House and saw all the major monuments, including the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and more.

Harrison said he enjoyed the entire trip, but the highest point was the people. “It truly was all that I was told it would be,” he said, “and more!”

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Treasurer’s Report

As treasurer for Nodak Electric Cooperative, on behalf of the directors and all the employees of Nodak, thank you for your patronage in 2019. Our financial year was a successful one and below you will note some of the highlights. If you would like more detail for the numbers presented, please do not hesitate to contact our office for assistance.

As a loan recipient from the RUS program of USDA and from CoBank, we are required to demonstrate credit worthiness on an annual basis. Each financial year we are proud to have exceeded the required loan covenant financial ratios. To bring even more transparency into our financial reporting, a few years back we implemented our own more stringent annual financial goals and we have been consistent in meeting those goals as well. Meeting or exceeding these financial goals bodes well for the future of Nodak and its membership.

For the year 2019, 56%, or 631 million kWh, were sold to our commercial and industrial rate sector. We have 509 C & I delivered locations scattered throughout our system. The balance of our power sales, amounting to 497 million kWh, went directly to the other 19,769 service locations that have very diverse usage each month. Total revenue from those 1.1 billion worth of kWh sales was $104.5 million. Other nonelectric operating revenue added $1.2 million for a total reported revenue of $105.7 million.

Total expenses were $103 million, with 84% of that number being the cost of wholesale power. Additionally, nonoperating margins added $700,000 with a total reported margin of $3.4 million for 2019. From an equity standpoint, $2 million worth of capital credits were retired in April 2019, something that investor-owned utilities cannot report on their treasurer’s report.

Thank you again for your patronage and for allowing us to serve your electricity needs during the past year.

 

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The Power Of Change Is In Your Hands

Operation Round Up® is a program that rounds up members’ monthly electric bills to the next whole dollar amount. Each donation is a very small amount from each member, but when added with donations from across the cooperative’s membership, the impact to our communities is significant. Here is how your donation has helped:

Veterans Honor Flight of North Dakota and Minnesota has transported veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials, dedicated to honor our veterans.

Two-year-old Brooklyn has glaucoma and is extremely sensitive to light. She received specialized frames and glasses that are flexible and durable for an active little girl.

Christopher Hendrickson received assistance with the purchase of a vehicle conversion and modification kit. Chris has Morquio syndrome, which results in barriers to his mobility. The conversion kit has helped with mobility independence.

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Changes to Nodak Bylaws

In 2019, the Nodak Board of Directors reviewed and made changes to the Nodak Bylaws.  The changes are outlined below and if you would like a complete copy of the current Bylaws, one will be made available at your request or can be downloaded here.

ARTICLE III – DIRECTORS

Section 2 – Qualifications and Tenure

(c) not be currently, or within the immediately previous three-year period have been employed by, materially affiliated with, or have a material financial interest in, any individual or entity which either is:

1) directly or substantially competing with the Cooperative; or

2) selling goods and services in substantial quantity to the Cooperative; or

3) possessing a substantial conflict of interest with the Cooperative.

Note: Language bolded has been added and struck through has been deleted.

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Message to our Members

As we turn the page on 2019, we are excited to report that your cooperative is in great shape. The year brought challenges with early snowstorms and a difficult harvest, but also marked member growth and financial stability.

The elephant in the room with respect to 2019 was the terribly difficult harvest that many of our members endured last fall. The inability to harvest much of what was planted will have long-term impacts on some of our members, or at least for some it will be a big step backward. The good news is our members are hardy and resilient and will work their way through this adversity.

The silver lining in all of this is your cooperative has set aside excess revenue in years past as deferred revenue. The ability to recognize that revenue throughout this temporary setback in sales will help stabilize our retail rates this year and into the future. Our rates remained unchanged for the third year in a row and we are projecting we will be able to maintain these rates throughout 2020 and possibly beyond.

Our new partner in the federal government proved to be a beneficial one. We completed our first full year under the utility privatization contract for the Grand Forks Air Force Base and Cavalier Air Force Station, and the results were even better than expected. The arrangement was both financially lucrative for us and rewarding for the government as we worked to provide reliable service within the installations and train our airmen in the art of linework.

Partnerships like these are just one of the ways we work to give back to the communities we serve. Another excellent example of our commitment to community is our member-supported Operation Round Up program. Our volunteer Operation Round Up board collects pennies from participants’ rounded up power bills and distributes grants to deserving individuals and organizations. To date, these grants of pennies have amounted to almost $1 million in charitable gifts to fill the needs in our communities. Thank you to all the members that participate and allow us to round up your bill to support this wonderful program.

For almost 80 years, Nodak Electric has worked to provide safe, affordable and reliable electric service for our member-owners. While that mission is clear, our greatest service to our members and employees is our culture of safety. Protecting our employees from the dangers of electric distribution work and our member-owners from the hazards that are inherent with electricity is job number one for us at Nodak.

Our first priority is that work gets done safely so everyone goes home to their families each night. Our safety record is good but can always be improved. In 2020, we aim to bolster those activities that encourage safety and ask that if you see anything across our distribution system you feel may be unsafe, let us know so we can investigate.

The coming years will continue to present both challenges and opportunities. The challenges we face, whether Mother Nature or legislative, will be met with the same determination our members fought back with from this year’s harvest. We will continue to strive to exceed your expectations for reliability, affordability and work to enhance the value of electricity for our consumer-members. As electrification continues to evolve, our opportunities are endless. We will continue our efforts to seize any opportunity we have to enhance your experience as a Nodak member and keep your rates affordable.

We would like to invite all of you to come to this year’s annual meeting to discuss the cooperative business even further. On behalf of the board of directors, management and staff, I’d also like to thank the employees of Nodak Electric for their continued dedication to the cooperative in carrying out our mission.

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Around The Co-op

Ford Retires

Guy Ford, electronic technician, retired from Nodak with 38 years of service.

Having multiple positions throughout his career, Guy started working with the construction crew, then moved to work with the Devils Lake crew for 10 years. He then transferred back to Grand Forks until retirement.

Plans for retirement include fishing and playing with his grandkids.

Transfer

Alex Larson, apprentice electronic technician, transferred from the Grand Forks crew to the Tech Department.

Three obtain journeyman certification

Three apprentice linemen recently completed certification for journeyman lineman. They are: Travis Pederson and George Gardiner, both of the Finley crew; and Trey Lovcik, Devils Lake Crew.

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Load Control Questions?

If you are one of the more than 2,000 Nodak Electric Cooperative members who participate in the money-saving off-peak program there is an easy way to see when your electric heat or water heater is being controlled.

Just click on Load Management Status under the Energy Information tab to see if that load is being controlled. You will need to know your load group and double order to understand the chart. To see if you are being controlled, just look for the group number on the left and the double order number on the top and match those two up. You are controlled if the box says OFF. Load group and double order numbers are usually listed on your load management receiver for each relay on the upper left or on a label placed on the unit. If you are unsure of your load group and order number, please give Energy Services a call at 800-732-4373.

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Why Do We Keep Asking For Your Phone Number?

Your phone number is an important tool when it comes to power outages. Having your correct phone number in our system helps identify your location when you call us to report a storm-related or accidental outage, and it also helps us proactively communicate with you when we have to temporarily shut off your power due to a system or equipment upgrade.

Planned outages
Occasionally, the equipment used to bring power to your home needs to be replaced, repaired or updated. When this happens, as a way to keep our crews and you safe, the cooperative will send an automated phone call, informing you when there will be a planned interruption to your electric service.

Unplanned outages
Mother Nature can send icy conditions or high winds, which topple tree branches onto power lines. Sometimes a contractor accidently cuts into an underground cable or a vehicle crashes into a power pole. These are the times Nodak Electric depends on you reporting the outage. When you experience an unplanned loss of power, please call 701-746-4461 or 800-732-4373.

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