Youth Tour Winner To Visit Washington, D.C.

Harrison Stockeland was selected to represent Nodak Electric Cooperative at the 2019 Washington, D.C., Youth Tour. Stockeland is the son of James and Ciara Stockeland of Grand Forks, N.D., and attends Central High School. He will join other North Dakota Youth Tour designees and more than 1,600 other students from across the country in D.C. the week of June 15-21. The Youth Tour educates students about electric cooperatives, the cooperative business model and the legislative process. He will have an incredible experience visiting unforgettable historic monuments, museums and the U.S. Capitol.

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Annual Meeting Highlights

Members and guests attended Nodak Electric Cooperative’s 79th annual meeting Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. A winter storm lowered the number of attendees, but those who could attend enjoyed a turkey dinner served by the Alerus staff.

During the meeting, the cooperative’s board of directors was seated for the upcoming year, including the selection of officers and three director elections. Luther Meberg was re-elected to represent District 1, David Kent was re-elected to represent District 2 and Les Windjue was re-elected to represent District 3. Following the meeting, Nodak’s board of directors elected Luther Meberg as its chairman. In addition, Les Windjue was named vice chairman and David Kent was named secretary-treasurer.

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N.D. Legislature Concludes Session

You may have recently read or heard reports that the 66th session of the North Dakota legislature concluded its business and has adjourned. For some of us, it’s welcome news that comes with a sigh of relief. One of our responsibilities as the stewards of your cooperative is legislative advocacy. Laws and regulations can have a profound effect on the operation and success of our cooperative, so it’s vital that we closely monitor state and federal attempts to change the rules under which we operate.

By working with our industry partners and trade associations, we engage with political leaders in Bismarck and Washington on your behalf. When speaking on behalf of the cooperative we represent, we bring credibility. Policymakers know that we represent constituents who have skin in the game and will be affected by the issues we bring to them. Because of that, we as a cooperative family speak collectively with a loud voice when addressing our politicians. I would say that voice was heard clearly this year in Bismarck.

Our industry was successful in helping to defeat bills that would be detrimental to our operation and supported the passage of those we believed would be helpful. In North Dakota, there were bills on net metering, easements and energy project siting that were successfully killed, each of which would have had a detrimental effect on your cooperative. There were also changes to railroad crossing permits and carbon dioxide sequestration enacted that will ultimately have positive impacts for us. On the national front, there are always issues with regulation, taxes and infrastructure that we are working on.

Just as we depend on our members to support our issues and speak up when called upon, we depend on our industry partners and trade associations to be our eyes and ears and take the lead on our political advocacy efforts. Quite frequently, NRECA, the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives and Minnkota Power Cooperative, our wholesale power supplier, do much of the heavy lifting for us and we depend on them mightily. Rest assured, we are right there supporting the efforts of the group to guard against any detrimental political or regulatory action and to support positive change.

When it comes to political parties, we are completely blind. Whether Democrat, Republican, right, left or middle, the issues that affect your cooperative are all that matter to us. We support the political leaders who support the legislation that is in our cooperative’s best interest.

One of the ways we show this support is through the political action committees to which cooperative members donate – ACRE and REPAC. ACRE, or the Action Committee for Rural Electrification, is the federal political action committee, or pac, and REPAC, or Rural Electric Political Action Committee, is the North Dakota pac. These two groups make contributions to candidates for state and federal offices who will speak for and protect the interests of electric cooperatives and their member-owners. These dollars go to our political champions regardless of which political affiliation they belong to and are funded by individual contributions from co-op directors, employees and our member-owners. If you would like to help support the candidates that support our cooperative, consider contributing to one or both of these political action committees.

In just a few weeks, Harrison Stockeland, a high school sophomore from Grand Forks Central High School, will represent Nodak at the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. He will join other cooperative member students from across North Dakota and the rest of the country for a week in Washington, D.C., learning more about cooperatives and how our government works. For decades, this program has been churning out future political and cooperative leaders who better understand how the cooperative business model works. We would like to congratulate Harrison and wish him the best as he travels to and from Washington, D.C.

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Small Changes Make A Big Difference!

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 Round Up 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 re-education 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 60 percent of the 14,751 members participating. Since the program started, a total of $882,329 has been distributed to individuals  and organizations throughout the Nodak Electric service area.

2018 Recipients

  • 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
  • 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
  • Pembina County Ambulance Service $125.00
  • St. Ansgar Hospital Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Valley Ambulance & Rescue Squad $125.00
  • West Traill Ambulance Service $125.00
  • Joshua Amundson $1,500.00
  • Patty Clifton $1,250.00
  • Emiliano Contreras $1,250.00
  • Grace Hesse $425.00
  • Jaxon Hesse $400.00
  • Daniel Jallo $2,500.00
  • Robert Johnson $300.00
  • Francine McClendon $300.00
  • James Ottem $458.00
  • Charles Schwarz $1,250.00
  • Raenette Tewes $1,250.00
  • Vicki Tresenriter $1,250.00
  • Jeff Unterseher $1,250.00
  • Thomas Wetzel $1,250.00
  • Kassie Wilson $500.00
  • 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
  • Drayton HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Fordville-Lankin HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Grafton HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Grand Forks Central HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Griggs County Central HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Larimore HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Midway HS After Prom Party $50.00
  • Minto 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 After Prom Party $50.00
  • Janet Bennet $500.00
  • Dennis Denault $1,000.00
  • Grace & Jaxon Hesse $1,500.00
  • William Morin $875.00
  • Tyler Nakonechney $1,895.00
  • Stephanie Nordstrom $500.00
  • Gloria Peterson $500.00
  • Gloria Seltvedt $1,000.00
  • Coleman Stadstad $2,500.00
  • Gary Woinarowicz $300.00
  • BreAnn Ziegelmann $917.00
  • Angela Zimmerman $882.00
  • Cooperstown Bible Camp $1,000.00
  • Grace Hesse $376.00
  • Matthew Houska $400.00
  • Anna Magnuson $800.00
  • Duane Marynik $1,500.00
  • Michael Mertens $2,000.00
  • Dick Olsen $1,400.00
  • Everly Peterson $2,500.00
  • Raenette Tewes $1,250.00
  • Gracie DeCoteau $535.00
  • Brooke Estvold $429.00
  • Deborah Heath $300.00
  • Grace Hesse $443.00
  • Jaxon Hesse $388.00
  • Kierra Hodny $250.00
  • Roger & Julie Jackson $2,450.00
  • Jose Patlan, Jr $150.00
  • Luke Riley $1,000.00
  • Charles Schwarz $1,000.00
  • Gloria Seltvedt $1,000.00
  • Allan Stokka $2,500.00
  • Chad Tetrault 1,500.00
  • Emmalynn Tomlinson $300.00
  • Jeff Unterseher $1,000.00
  • Veterans Honor Flight of ND/MN $1,000.00

Total $56,273.00

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Treasurer’s Report

As treasurer of Nodak Electric Cooperative, thank you for your patronage this past year and thank you for the opportunity to present the 2018 financial statements of the cooperative.

Approximately 56 percent of our revenue is related to commercial accounts that are not entirely affected by seasonal variances in climate, which gives us revenue stability as compared to other cooperatives in our region. Those commercial accounts added $2 million worth of revenue in 2018 as compared to 2017. Additionally, the other 44 percent of our revenue comes from the general service members who are affected by extreme cold in the winters and the heat of the summers. As a result of those seasonal climate changes, those accounts, along with 463 newly metered accounts, added $1.6 million to the revenue roles in 2018, for a total revenue value of $106.7 million. Total expenses for 2018 measured $104.3 million compared to $100.8 million 2017, with $2.9 million coming from power costs due to increased kilowatt-hour sales volume.

Margins for 2018 were valued at $3,131,575, which was within $133,000 of the 2017 level. Even though the weather may throw our projections off in any given year, we budget for margins in the $3 to $3.5 million mark each year, and we have been consistent in reaching those levels.

As member-owners of the cooperative, you are welcome to a more detailed explanation of the finances of Nodak Electric if so desired. Please feel free to contact our office for additional information and assistance.

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Aim High

Utility Privatization of Grand Forks Air Force Base and Cavalier Air Force Station

Nodak Electric Cooperative has done its best to make sure the Air Force lives up to that motto by providing safe, reliable and economical energy to the military branch for many years. Through a Utilities Privatization (UP) agreement signed in 2018, the partnership will continue for at least 50 years.

A member of Nodak Electric, the Air Force has purchased electricity from the cooperative for numerous military needs including missile, surveillance, fighter, bomber, air-tanker and drone missions. In 2018, that relationship changed when the UP Project Management Office at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center privatized utilities at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and the Cavalier Air Force Station.

UP began more than 20 years ago in response to the Defense Reform Initiative Directive 49 – mandating all military branches to develop plans to privatize utilities on military bases, such as electrical power, natural gas, water and wastewater treatment. UP establishes a partnership and direct investment for both the Air Force and Nodak because systems are privatized where fiscally attractive and operationally sound.

Nodak is the Grand Forks and Cavalier bases’ UP contractor for electrical power distribution infrastructure only. Nodak’s 50-year utility services contract becomes a “must-pay bill,” meaning funds will always be used for utility system maintenance, operation, renewals and replacements.

Cited benefits include:

  • Air Force funds industry standard upgrades to installation utility systems, in coordination with the contractor’s accepted schedule;
  • Air Force can focus resources on the core mission;
  • Base mission is not impacted during utility system transfer;
  • Military civil engineers still receive training on privatized systems when training is included in the utility services contract;
  • Readiness of installation personnel is not negatively impacted;
  • It provides long-term operational stability.

The process of UP began approximately six years ago, when the Air Force solicited contracting partners to privatize utilities on its military installations. Nodak submitted a Request for Proposal on Oct. 8, 2012. It consisted of four main parts:

  • An introduction of who Nodak is as a power supplier;
  • Nodak’s past performance based on information provided by existing commercial/industrial members;
  • Nodak’s steps on providing superior service;
  • Method of determining inventory costs.

On Dec. 1, 2018, Nodak Electric Cooperative became the owner, operator and maintainer of the electric utility infrastructure at the Grand Forks Air Force Base, located 14 miles west of the city of Grand Forks and the Cavalier Air Force Station, located 15 miles south of the U.S.-Canadian border.

During the negotiation phase, discussion centered on addressing initial system deficiencies, operating and maintenance cost adjustments, identification of special equipment needed, installation access to equipment and specific training requirements.

Nodak was awarded and signed the privatization contract in June 2018 with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and began a 150-day transition period to true-up actual physical inventory of distribution assets at both installations, order necessary equipment and materials, determine the number of credentialed workers needed, develop a training plan for air base personnel, find a suitable temporary service center building and procure any special equipment.

Nodak will continue to “Aim High” while providing services to the Air Force.

Photo courtesy of Grand Forks Air Force Base.

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Message To Our Members

When we look back on Nodak’s history, 2018 will be remembered as the year we were awarded the utility privatization contract for the Grand Forks Air Force Base and the Cavalier Air Force Station. After six years in development, we were awarded contracts for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the electric distribution systems at the two military facilities. Over the next 50 years, the government will benefit from safer, more reliable distribution systems, and our members will enjoy additional revenue and margins that will help keep our rates affordable. The military has been a valued partner of ours for many years – this new agreement solidifies that relationship for decades into the future.

Affordable power is the reason Nodak was established 79 years ago and today it remains a primary focus. We are fortunate to have a committed Board of Directors and a team of dedicated employees to help accomplish this goal. Spurred by a year without a wholesale rate adjustment, in 2018 we were able to hold retail rates

steady for the second straight year. Our Deferred Revenue Program also played a small part in helping us stabilize our rates. In 2014, we established a Deferred Revenue Program by setting aside excess revenue that can be recognized in years when we don’t quite hit our budgeted margins. Your Board also created a Financial Goals Policy that establishes metrics of financial ratios we strive to meet each year. These two initiatives help ensure we are able to retire capital credits, maintain stable rates and enjoy a healthy, robust financial position. This commitment to financial security is a critical piece to the health of your cooperative and our ability to provide safe, reliable and affordable electric service to our members for years to come.

Over the last several years, your cooperative has enjoyed steady growth in both total number of metered services and in kilowatt-hour sales. In 2018, we topped the milestone of 20,000 metered services for the first time as well as an increase of nearly 3.8 percent in kilowatt-hour sales. Continued growth serves to stabilize rates by providing a larger number of members and an increased number of kilowatt-hours to spread fixed costs over. One of our largest growth areas is the Grand Forks region. We were pleased to begin a new 20-year franchise agreement at the beginning of the year with the city of Grand Forks and to continue the valued partnership we’ve enjoyed with the city and residents of the region.

Having a growing, financially healthy cooperative is obviously something we strive for. Beyond the comfort of a strong balance sheet, this financial security puts us in a position where we can return our members’ investment in the cooperative back to the members. Once again, your Board of Directors chose to return your patronage investment and retire $1.4 million in capital credits in 2018. This capital credit retirement is part of the Board’s continued commitment to be good stewards of your capital and give it back to you in a timely fashion.

In addition to providing low-cost power to our members, commitment to community is one of our core guiding principles. As a means to fulfill that commitment, our Operation Roundup Trust continues to make lasting impacts on the lives of our neighbors in need. By amassing pennies from bills rounded up to the nearest dollar from the almost 8,500 members who participate in the program, our Operation Roundup board was able to donate more than $56,000 last year to worthy causes. Since its inception, our Roundup board has put more than $88 million of your pennies to work helping individuals and organizations throughout the Nodak Electric service area. What a shining example of how each of us doing a little bit can make a huge impact. One of the cooperative movement’s greatest assets is we have the strength in numbers to accomplish our objectives.

The utility industry continues to change slowly in some areas and more rapidly in others. As we look ahead, we see opportunities as electric vehicles and smart homes gain popularity and technologies become more prevalent. We also see challenges in the ever-increasing complexity of our industry. Your Board of Directors and employees see a bright future ahead as we commit to innovate and adapt to these changes. Our mission is to serve the needs of our membership, and we are as committed as ever to fulfilling that pledge. Thank you for your support and patronage over the past year and thank you for the opportunity to serve you and be part of this wonderful organization. We look forward to visiting with you at the annual meeting on April 11 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

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Be Fire Prevention Smart, Don’t Get Burned!

Electricity usually makes life easier by powering kitchen appliances, gadgets and electronics we use for entertainment. However, that same electricity contains the potential to destroy homes and take lives. Electric fires are more destructive than any other type of fire, and they are twice as deadly. Safe Electricity has the following information to help you keep your electric system safe.

  • Consider getting an electric inspection of your home, especially if it is an older home or you have never had an inspection.
  • If an electrical fire starts in your home, do not use water to extinguish it. Water conducts electricity, and you could get an electric shock. Use an extinguisher that is approved for use on electrical fires.
  • Flickering lights, warm, cracked or sparking outlets all indicate electrical problems.
  • If circuits trip, fuses blow or someone gets a shock, your home has an electrical problem. Get an electric inspection.
  • Do not overload outlets, use an extension cord as a permanent wiring solution, or use light bulbs that are not rated for the socket.
  • Contact an electrician about installing an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI). An AFCI monitors the flow of electricity in your home. If the flow of electricity is irregular and could cause a fire, the AFCI shuts off electricity.
  • Inspect electrical plugs and cords annually. If they are frayed or cracked, repair or replace them. Do not place cords under rugs or staple or nail them to the wall.

Source: safeelectricity.org

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Those Annoying Blinking Clocks

Don’t you just hate those blinking “12:00” clocks? Manufacturers could build in a backup system to avoid this, but that would increase the cost and you may not want to pay the extra amount for the device.

The blinking is often set into motion by the cooperative’s line safety devices used to avoid frequent and prolonged outages. The devices are called oil circuit reclosers. They operate by opening the circuit for an instant when the line is contacted by an object such as a squirrel, racoon, tree limb blowing in the breeze, etcetera. The object usually frees the line on the first blink. If not, the recloser will operate two more times. If the line is still not clear, the device will shut down the power until a serviceman clears the line and closes the oil reclosers.

Thus, the safety devices either avoid outages or shorten the outage time and decrease the area affected. They also prevent damage to the line, which is another way of keeping electricity at the lowest possible cost. When the clocks blink 12:00, keep in mind the manufacturer is trying to save you money, and we are trying to provide you dependable service at the lowest possible cost.

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Transfer, New Hire

Jesse Sturman, apprentice lineman, transferred full time to the Construction crew from the Grand Forks crew.

 

 

 

 

New hire Trent Edens joins the Cavalier crew. Trent started as a seasonal apprentice lineman with both the Devils Lake and Michigan crews. Trent is from Bemidji, Minn.

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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 Current Off-Peak Status 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 Member Services a call at 800-732-4373.

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