Be Prepared For Summer Storm Season

Despite the best efforts of Nodak Electric Cooperative and other utilities, outages, surges and low voltages can still occur for many reasons, especially lightning from summer storms. 

Even though your cooperative has an up-to-date distribution system with preventative measures like lightning arresters placed throughout the system, equipment can fail and nature is unpredictable. In fact, a lightning bolt can push an estimated 10 to 100 million volts of electricity with an average current of 30,000 amps. 

Be aware that only in the case of negligence would Nodak Electric Cooperative or any utility’s insurance be liable to pay for damage to a member’s property. While surges and low voltage are rare, they can damage sensitive equipment. These types of events take many forms: 

  • Lightning strikes a power pole, sending a surge in voltage through the power lines. 
  • A vehicle hits a power pole, knocking down one phase of a three-phase feeder, causing low voltage. 

If you ever do experience a surge or low voltage event, turn off and disconnect sensitive equipment as quickly as possible. Doing so is the best defense. Also, many types of surge protectors help protect electrical equipment against voltage fluctuations. Members can purchase whole-house surge protection from an electrician or protection for individual equipment like computers. Surge protectors absorb some of the electric surge and divert the rest to ground. Look for UL-listed products. 

Finally, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems are powered by batteries and provide time for the user to correctly save or shut off items they have on a computer. Some UPS systems provide protection against voltage sags or spikes for however long they are rated to work. Acts of nature like lightning strikes are not covered by many insurance policies. It is always a good idea to check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see what is covered and ask for advice on protecting sensitive electronic equipment.

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82nd annual meeting held

The 82nd annual meeting was held at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D., on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

During the meeting, directors Luther Meberg, David Kent and Les Windjue were reelected for a three-year term and the minutes of the 81st annual meeting were approved. There were 71 members in attendance at the annual meeting.

District 1

District 2

District 3


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Making The Best Of Bad Weather

Once again, we fell victim to bad weather on our annual meeting day. You may recall that the last time we held an in-person annual meeting the same thing happened. Shortly before that meeting was supposed to begin, visibility started to diminish when a spring blizzard descended upon us. We suspended all the nonessential parts of the meeting and hurried everyone back home as quickly as we could. That was 2019. After two long years of waiting through the pandemic, we were finally able to get together in person, only to have the meeting shortened by inclement weather once again. For those of you who came to the meeting, thanks for braving the storm. For those that didn’t make it, we promise to do our best to have a wonderful annual meeting next year. 

We were certainly only mildly inconvenienced by the weather event we had, but the cooperatives in northwestern North Dakota were not so lucky. Heavy amounts of snow and ice devastated much of their distribution systems. With an estimated 4,000 poles broken and thousands of residents without power, one of our guiding principles, cooperation among cooperatives, came into action. Twenty-three of our lineworkers volunteered to go out west and help restore power. I’m happy to report that as of this writing, after many long days, almost all accounts have been reenergized and our line crews are returning home safely. 

As an electric cooperative, we recognize Electrical Safety Month each May, but we also know the importance of practicing safety year-round. From our co-op crews to you, the consumer-members we serve, we recognize that everyone has a part to play in prioritizing safety.

Thousands of people in the U.S. are critically injured or electrocuted each year as a result of electrical fires and accidents in their own homes. Many of these accidents are preventable. Electricity is a necessity, and it powers our daily lives. But we know firsthand how dangerous electricity can be because we work with it 365 days a year. 

To me, safety is more than a catchphrase. It’s my responsibility to keep co-op employees safe. Additionally, we want to help keep you and all members of our community safe. Our top priority is providing an uninterrupted energy supply 24/7, 365 days per year. But equally important is keeping our community safe around electricity. I encourage you to talk with your kids about playing it safe and smart around electricity. Help them be aware of overhead power lines near where they play outdoors.

Finally, I’d like to say congratulations and thank you to our three incumbent directors who were reelected to three-year terms at our annual meeting. Our cooperative is as strong as it is because of the dedication and hard work of folks like them who choose to offer their services on our board of directors.

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Striking Scammers Out

Don’t let scammers score by collecting your personal and financial information. Here are 3 things to look for that will help strike out scammers.

If you receive a call saying your power will be turned off in the next hour if you don’t reply with immediate over-the-phone payment – STRIKE 1 scammer! Nodak Electric Cooperative will never demand your immediate payment over the phone.

If someone claiming to be Nodak Electric Cooperative calls and says you have overpaid your utility bill and they can begin issuing you a refund if you provide them with your financial information – STRIKE 2!  Nodak Electric Cooperative will never call and request your financial information.

If you are ever contacted by an agency with an amazing deal on solar panels that will help save on electricity or they offer you tax credits for using solar energy – STRIKE 3 scammer! Adding solar panels to your home is a lengthy and expensive undertaking. When identifying a scam, look for unrealistically low prices or any company saying they will lease you solar panels without a contract.

Tips to throw scammers out of the game:

  • Always ask to speak to a trusted Nodak Electric employee.
  • Know that Nodak Electric will only ask for personal information in order to identify members calling in.
  • A tone of urgency is often a trick scammers use to try and gain information from you.
  • Gather as much information as you can from the scammer and contact your local authorities. Also, make Nodak Electric aware of the scam.
  • If you are unsure about a call, just hang up.

If you ever have any doubts about your utility bill, please call our office at 800-732-4373 or stop by in person.


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Nodak Brings Data Mining To The Prairie

There may be many things you don’t understand about the concepts of data mining, blockchain and cryptocurrency. But a concept that is easier to digest is load growth, and that is what Nodak Electric Cooperative experienced with the 2021 arrival of three data processing centers in Grand Forks. “The digital asset mining sector is new territory for Nodak Electric Cooperative, and we’re thrilled to be able to energize an industry that is on the grow,” said Mylo Einarson, Nodak president and CEO. “Digital asset mining is changing the way we use digital information in our lives – Grand Forks is becoming a hot spot for that kind of innovation.”

Digital asset mining uses blockchain, a decentralized peer-to-peer transaction ledger that can store all types of digital information. When an entity “mines,” they use powerful computer hardware to solve complex algorithms that confirm the validity of transactions. Those validated transactions are consolidated into “blocks” and then chained together to create a ledger of all verified transactions since the creation of the first block. As an economic incentive for miners who manage and operate the fleets of specialized computer hardware, each block contains a “reward” of cryptocurrency (like bitcoin). This reward is typically two pronged – a “block reward” that is earned for each new block created, and a transaction fee, which are fees charged to users who access the blockchain and submit transactions to new blocks.

The largest of Nodak’s new data processing loads is Core Scientific, one of the nation’s largest blockchain infrastructure providers and digital asset miners. The company’s work requires large facilities filled with specialized computer hardware that continuously mine digital assets – primarily bitcoin – for clients worldwide. To be most effective, that process requires electricity and a cool climate. Grand Forks is able to supply both.

“This environment should allow our operations to experience a higher efficiency ratio over a typical year when compared to our facilities in the southeast and southwest,” a Core Scientific report to Nodak explained. “Additionally, digital mining is uniquely tailored to be able to use excess local grid capacity when local consumers are not using it and curtail when the community’s grid needs increase.”

Core Scientific says it’s pleased to be a new part of the Grand Forks community and is happy to help contribute to the local economy. The new data processing center offers numerous skilled and technical jobs along with positions for managerial, safety and security personnel.

Nodak energized two other Grand Forks data mining projects in 2021 as well. All three centers will have significant power needs. Nodak and Minnkota Power Cooperative worked together in 2021 to ensure the facilities were supported with the reliable electric infrastructure and rate affordability necessary for the companies to find success in North Dakota.

“Electric co-ops must be strong partners with any businesses sharing their lines,” Einarson said. “Collaboration is key to not only economic development, but also sustaining a robust and resilient electric grid for the community.”

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Message To Our Members

2021 turned out to be another year of battling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as we adapted and adjusted to a new way of life. Nodak Electric was no different in that regard. While most others were working in a remote work environment, our employees adapted to the new procedures we put in place for employee and member interactions that ensured that our employees’ and members’ safety remained our number one priority. Reliable power is essential to our lives and our livelihood, so our employees embraced change and worked tirelessly to ensure our members received the level of service they have come to expect.

While the safety of our employees is paramount, the safety of our membership is no less important. Despite the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the early part of 2021, the conditions did not yet lend themselves to public gatherings. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to cancel our in-person annual meeting for the second year in a row and record messages from our chairman and CEO to our membership. As a result, we employed a mail-only election for our board of directors. Longtime director Paul Sigurdson retired from the board and new director Ryan Benson was elected to serve from District 1. Incumbents David Hagert and David Brag were also reelected to the board.

In a cooperative like Nodak Electric, you are a member-owner of the business. One of the major differences between a cooperative and an investor-owned utility is that through purchasing power from us, you earn an ownership stake in the business called capital credits. These dollars are used by the cooperative to operate our system for a period of time and are eventually returned to you in the form of a bill credit. I’m happy to report that despite the pandemic-related turmoil, your cooperative posted its best year ever with over $10 million in net margin and record sales. Because we had such a successful year, your board of directors increased this year’s capital credit retirement to $3.8 million. Because that level of margin is more than we need to operate, and recognizing the fact that our members have gone through a trying time, the board decided to retire approximately $1.5 million of the total retirement to the current year allocation. In other words, the members who purchased power from us in 2021 will see a portion of their capital credits returned to them immediately and approximately $2.3 million will be retired to the 2003-2004 membership. In all, that totals $11.1 million your cooperative has returned to current and past members in the past five years.

Keeping the price of electricity affordable is extremely important for our members. Our cost to operate the cooperative has remained relatively stable at about 18% of our total expenses. The other 82% represents our cost of wholesale power. These percentages have remained fairly constant over the last several years because of our efforts to contain operating costs, and through the growth of our system.

New loads like the ones featured in this report go a long way toward bringing in the additional revenue needed to overcome the rising costs of doing business. As a result, for 2021 we were able to keep rates unchanged for the fifth year in a row. Our team is committed to keeping our rates as affordable as possible so more of your hard-earned dollars stay where they belong – with you.

2022 holds promise of a return to what we would all consider something more normal. Throughout the pandemic our commitment to you, our members, has not and will not change. Our dedication to serving our member-owners and providing the best energy value in the region is as strong as it has ever been. We are looking forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead in 2022 and beyond. Our board and management are committed to maintaining a strong cooperative with an emphasis on safety for the public and our employees, and on service reliability and responsive service to our member-owners.

We encourage you to review the information in this report, and we hope to see you at the annual meeting at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks on April 12.

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Since the program started, a total of $1,025,147 has been distributed!

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 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 52% of the 15,088 members participating. Since the program started, a total of $1,025,147 has been distributed to individuals and organizations throughout the Nodak Electric service area.

2021 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
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
Briar Coppedge – $ 632.00
Devils Lake Juvenile Drug Court – $ 250.00
Jeffrey Guy – $ 1,145.00
Hillsboro Elementary School (Backpack Program) – $ 500.00
Theresia Hoffner – $ 1,150.00
Collin LaVallie – $ 2,000.00
Brian & Barb Milling – $ 2,000.00
Sameia Mansur Muftah – $ 1,560.00
Shirley Peterson – $ 1,000.00
Kennedy Byfuglien – $ 1,500.00
Central Valley High School – $ 50.00
Devils Lake High School – $ 50.00
Grafton High School – $ 50.00
Grand Forks Central High School – $ 50.00
Hatton/Northwood High School – $ 50.00
Minto High School – $ 50.00
North Border Walhalla High School – $ 50.00
Park River High School – $ 50.00
Thompson High School – $ 50.00
Valley-Edinburg High School – $ 50.00
Sawyer Boese – $ 1,000.00
Kristi Cole – $ 2,500.00
Murika Dawes – $ 350.00
Elizabeth Espling – $ 1,200.00
Kyle Everson – $ 1,000.00
Ronald Helm – $ 1,000.00
Troy Hruby – $ 180.00
Emma Larson – $ 1,000.00
Bruce Martin – $ 1,000.00
Titus Prins – $ 736.00
Leila Roberts – $ 500.00
Hunter Vaske – $ 1,500.00
Aaron & Patience Whitney Family – $ 648.00
Jennifer Wray – $ 197.00
Emma Basting – $ 2,000.00
Rilynn Dahly – $ 1,000.00
Dennis Denault – $ 269.00
Debora Heath – $ 1,000.00
Tami Ostlie – $ 2,000.00
James Ottem – $ 369.00
Jose “Jr.” Patlan – $ 390.00
Miranda Spoor – $ 780.00
James Vaughan – $ 1,000.00
Zoe Vaughan – $ 1,000.00
Veterans Honor Flight of ND/MN – $ 2,200.00

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Changes To Nodak Bylaws

In 2022, 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 from, under My Co-op, on the Legal Information page.

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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Candidates For Board Of Directors

Below are candidates either nominated by petition or selected by the Committee on Nominations.

District 1

Luther Meberg, Park River, retired from farming in October 2015. The University of North Dakota graduate and his wife, Linda, have two sons and four granddaughters. Meberg is a past Park River school board member, a retired Walsh County commissioner and has also been on an implement dealership board. Luther serves on several committees and boards, including the Dundee Mutual Insurance board and the Park River Rural Fire board. He has also served on the Nodak Electric board for nine years.

District 2

David Kent was first elected to the Nodak Electric Cooperative board of directors in 1989. Kent is a former state legislator, representing District 20 for eight years. Kent is a graduate of North Dakota State University with a degree in Agricultural Economics. He is an agent with Nodak Insurance. Kent serves on the Union Township board and is a member of Goose River Lodge #19, the Kem Shrine and Farm Bureau. He is also a member of the Holmes United Methodist Church. He resides on the family farm with his wife Marguerite. They have three married daughters and seven grandchildren.

District 3

Les Windjue is a farmer in Morris Township of Ramsey County. He has been married to Karn for 43 years; they have three children and eight grandchildren. Windjue attended Devils Lake High School and Lake Region State College. He serves on the Greater RamseyWater District board. He is a former member of the Lake Region State College Foundation, the Mercy Hospital Foundation board and served on the Peace Lutheran Church council as treasurer. Les has been on the Nodak board for six years, and serves as chairman on the Minnkota Power Cooperative board.


How To Vote

Members may vote in person at the Alerus Center on Tuesday, April 12, at 6 p.m., or by mail. Ballots will be mailed upon request prior to the meeting. Voting instructions will be included.

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Treasurer’s Report

As treasurer for Nodak Electric Cooperative, and on behalf of all the directors and employees of Nodak, thank you for your patronage in 2021. If you note our income statement, 2021 was an excellent margin year for your co-op. The addition of new industrial loads assisted in making 2021 a financially good year.

Total revenue for the 1.27 billion worth of kWh sales was $112 million. Other operating revenue added $1.7 million for a total reported revenue of $113.7 million. Total expenses were $109.7 million, the largest expense being wholesale power costs at $93.3 million. Additionally, nonoperating margins added $6.08 million, with the largest addition to nonoperating margins being a capital credit allocation from our power supplier. Total reported margins were $10.16 million for 2021. This larger-than-normal margin will result in a larger patronage allocation to our members that will be retired in the future. 2021’s capital credit retirement amounted to $2.06 million.

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

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Value During Volatility

Minnkota and its members expect active off-peak season spurred by volatile energy markets

Last winter, a polar vortex event sent energy market prices soaring. Fewer resources across the country were able to generate electricity in the historic cold, and demand was high for the few resources that were generating enough to sell into the electric grid.

Utilities are experiencing those high market prices again – but it’s not because of a single major weather event this time. It’s the climbing cost of natural gas.

“Natural gas is one of those resources that typically help manage the variability in electricity generation, and we’re seeing prices that are significantly higher than what we’ve seen in the past 10-15 years,” explained Todd Sailer, senior manager of power supply & resource planning for Minnkota Power Cooperative (Nodak Electric Cooperative’s wholesale power provider). “We’re seeing prices double and triple what they were last year, or even over the last couple of years.”

While the energy markets soared for only 7-10 days in February 2021’s polar vortex, Sailer says this volatility could last throughout the winter season, or longer. That’s good insight for cooperative members on the demand response – or off-peak – program, which allows the co-op to temporarily interrupt service to a participant’s off-peak loads (electric heating, large-capacity water heaters, electric vehicle chargers, etc.) in exchange for a lower electric rate.

“The projection is that these high prices will likely drive our demand response more than we’ve seen in the past years,” Sailer said.

Minnkota’s energy marketers are preparing for 200 hours of off-peak load control this winter, but Sailer says that could rise if natural gas prices continue to climb. He also notes that load control could be spread out over more days and not always coincide with major weather events. 

“If we have days of low intermittent resources in the region, like wind power, the expectation is that the markets will respond and you’ll see higher markets, which will result in more off-peak control,” he said.

Ultimately, the cooperative will deploy off-peak load control when it needs to protect itself from buying high-price energy from the market. This system was established years ago to avoid building more generation facilities for peak need that only arises a few days out of the year. That, in turn, keeps rates low for consumers. By being a part of the off-peak load control program, consumers can also take advantage of an even lower electric rate without any disruption in comfort.

Sailer urges those who are a part of the off-peak program to make sure they have adequate backup fuel supply. Confirm that all parts of your heating system are running smoothly.

“It’s not just natural gas – it’s propane, it’s all fuel sources that have seen an increase in cost. Which leads to people reliant on their off-peak system,” Sailer said. “Members should be making sure their system works.”

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