Electrical Continuing Education Classes

2019 Electrical Workshops, February 5th and 6th
Minnkota Power Cooperative Headquarters
5301 32nd Ave. South
Grand Forks, N.D.

Minnkota Power Cooperative and the associated systems will again provide an opportunity for area electricians to obtain credits for license renewal by attending one of the continuing education classes being offered throughout Minnkota’s service area.

This marks the 31st year of the successful program, which is aimed at providing area trade allies with the latest information on electrical code and practices.

The electrical workshops will be held Feb. 5 and Feb. 6 at Minnkota Power Cooperative’s headquarters in Grand Forks.

The registration fee is $75 for eight code credits. Taking the class on both days will not qualify for 16 code credits. Registration can be done online at www.minnkota.com. Registration must be completed at least seven days prior to the seminar.

For residential building contractor continuing education workshops, contact your local home builders association.

For more information about the program, call (701) 795-4292 or email questions to contractortraining@minnkota.com.

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Three Director Positions Open

Nominating Committee Members Appointed
The board of directors has appointed the committee on nominations. At its meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, at the Nodak headquarters building, 4000 32nd Ave. S., Grand Forks, the committee shall prepare and post a list of nominations for the director positions slated for election.

Committee members are Richard English, Grafton, 701-360-3679; Daryl Evenson, Devils Lake  701-739-9093; Daniel Flanagan, Edinburg, 701-993-8544; Richard Hanson, Grand Forks, 701-739-0950; Neal Klamm, Thompson, 218-779-7378; Julie Lemm, Hillsboro, 701-430-1536; Jared Peterka, Forest River, 701-520-2937; Glenn Rethemeier, Larimore, 218-779-3222; and Paul Retzlaff, Aneta, 701-270-0181.

Three Director Positions Open
Three director positions will be open at the annual meeting on April 11, 2019. The directors whose terms expire are:

  • District 1 – Luther Meberg (incumbent seeking re-election)
  • District 2 – David Kent (incumbent seeking re-election)
  • District 3 – Les Windjue (incumbent seeking re-election)

Nomination By Committee
If you are interested in being nominated or would like to nominate an individual, you may contact a nominations committee member.

Nomination By Petition
Nominations may also be made by petition signed by at least 15 cooperative members. The signed petition must be received at Nodak’s headquarters by Monday, Feb. 25, to verify nominee qualifications and allow sufficient time for voting by mail.

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Great Rebates To Start The New Year

Add home comfort and energy efficiency to your New Year’s resolutions with help from Nodak Electric Cooperative. Nodak Electric offers the following incentives to encourage load development, load retention and wise use of energy.

Electric Heating Rebate Requirements

  • Electric heating must be on off-peak with a qualified backup heating system.
  • Electric heat equipment must be hardwired (no plug-in loads eligible forrebate).
  • Air-source heat pumps do not have to be a part of an off-peak heating system to be eligible for this rebate.
  • Must be at least 240 volts and hardwired.
  • Multifamily dwellings do not qualify for rebate. However, exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Rebate limit of $600 per member/owner account.

Heating Systems

Rebate Incentive

Plenum heaters, baseboard, electric furnace, hanging unit heater, cable floor heat & boiler


Air-source heat pump


Ground-source heat pump


Water Heater Rebate Requirements

  • Must be at least 240 volts and hardwired.
  • Tankless water heaters do not qualify for rebate.
  • Hybrid heat pump water heaters do not qualify for rebate.
  • Multifamily dwellings do not qualify for rebate. However, exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Rebate limit of $500 per member/owner account.
  • Maximum $300 rebate for the coupling of two water heaters in parallel or series.

Electric Water Heaters (must be on off-peak)

Incentive Per Unit

55 gallon or less


56 – 99 gallon


100 gallon or greater


Additional rebate for new building construction


Additional rebate for conversion from existing natural gas or propane to an electric water heater


Electric Vehicle Charger Rebate Requirements

  • Charger must be a Level 2 unit, wired on a dedicated 240-volt circuit, sub-metered and connected to a Nodak-issued load control device.
  • Member must participate in Nodak’s load control program for EVs.
  • Money-saving energy rate of $0.062/kWh for charging your vehicle during specific time periods each day plus a $3.95/month facility charge.
  • One-time rebate per charger installation of $50/kW with a $500 maximum rebate.

Electric Vehicle Chargers

Rebate Incentive

Electric vehicle (EV)


Commercial – forklifts, Zambonis, etc.


In addition to the above listed requirements for electric heating and water heating rebates,
all systems must be new equipment and controlled on Nodak’s off-peak program. A check will be issued to participating members after a visit from a Nodak technician.

Please call our energy services team at 746-4461 or 800-732-4373, if you have any questions about off-peak or the incentive program.

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Preventing Winter Fires

Nearly half of home fires occur during the winter months of December, January and February. Keep your home and family safe after the holidays with these post-holiday, year-end tips.
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Buffalo Coulee

South of Grand Forks, just off Interstate 29, sit two quonsets that house unique slabs of lumber. Jared Johnson and Matt Weaver have built a business around transforming these planks into pieces of art. The duo’s dream started in spring 2016 with the purchase of an early 1900s Howell Model 0 circular sawmill. A little over a year later, Buffalo Coulee Wood Products had its first load of live-edge slabs come through the door.

The small business on the prairie has made big strides each year. One of the quonsets, which now serves as their showroom, is filled with milled tree slabs of red cedar, oak, red mulberry, Osage orange and sycamore. The live-edge slab and rough lumber comes from states as far as North Carolina and Kansas. Johnson and Weaver, who are both certified arborists, have also found beautiful oak and cedar trees in the Dakotas and Minnesota.

For woodworking hobbyists, designers and furniture makers, Buffalo Coulee is the place to find the perfect rough-cut hardwood for those unique projects. These live-edge slabs have a unique inner woodgrain pattern that makes each slab distinctively different. A multitude of design ideas fl ow when looking at each slab. The lumber is used for high-end tables, bar tops, accent walls or even building out the perfect man cave.

The future is bright for Buffalo Coulee, as plans are in the works to use the lumber to produce custom-made tables, shelves and kitchen tables, just to name a few ideas. Th e up-and-coming business, which is a Nodak Electric Cooperative member, also has plans to be a full-time sawmill and lumber provider.

For more information, call 218-791-1927 or check them out on the web at www.buffalocoulee.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Buffalocouleewp

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Trip Of A Lifetime

When thinking about experiencing our nation’s capital in a fantastic way, the electric cooperative youth tour is the way to go. It’s a remarkable trip with many opportunities to learn about our local electric cooperatives and our nation’s history.

While in D.C., we visited many historical sights such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial. We also had the opportunity to visit many museums, including the Holocaust museum, Smithsonian museums and the Newseum. When we weren’t touring a museum, we were enjoying a ferris wheel ride at the National Harbor or meeting with our state’s congressmen at the Capitol. One evening after exploring downtown Alexandria, we, along with Georgia, enjoyed a water boat cruise down the Potomac River. This was one of the moments we got to know each other. On Capitol Hill day, we had the opportunity to meet with Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven to discuss the inner workings of our nation’s government.

One of the most memorable and rewarding parts of the trip were the friendships we formed. On the first day of the trip, all of us were quite shy and nervous, but by the seventh day we had formed friendships that would last a lifetime.

When I think of a “trip of a lifetime,” the electric cooperative youth tour fits the profile. I owe extreme thanks to Nodak Electric Cooperative for the remarkable experience at our nation’s capital.

High school sophomores and juniors can apply today for the 2019 Youth Tour. Learn more here. 

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Fuel Prices Could Affect Load Control

Slightly higher wholesale market prices, in particular propane, entering the heating season could impact the number of load control hours for Nodak Electric Cooperative off-peak members in winter 2018-19. Minnkota is Nodak Electric’s wholesale power supplier.

“As those prices go up, the market follows those trends, and you see more control,” said Todd Sailer, Minnkota Power Cooperative senior manager of power supply and resource planning.

Sailer said Minnkota, your cooperative’s wholesale energy supplier, estimates 200 to 250 hours of dual-heat load control this winter. This compares to the 10-year average of 170 hours.

Last year’s total of 60 control hours shows that moderate temperatures and low market conditions can combine to result in a small amount of control hours.

Other than the natural gas and propane prices inching up, Minnkota’s demand response outlook is similar to the 2017-18 forecast. The unknown is possible forced outages at Minnkota and elsewhere in the wholesale energy market.

“Market price volatility is driven by fuel prices, weather and generator outages. These events drive the majority of the control hours,” Sailer said.

Minnkota has the ability to control up to 350 megawatts through its demand response system. This includes dual-fuel systems, temporarily controlling storage heating systems, large-capacity water heaters, home vehicle chargers and large industrial consumers with backup generators. Millions of dollars have been saved due to the successful operation of Minnkota’s load management system for about 40 years.

Two outages could have an impact on the number of load control hours. Unit 1 of the Milton R. Young Station is offline until early November after a major outage was extended for damage discovered during the outage. Also, Coyote Station has an outage scheduled to begin March 29 and last into May.

“Any time you have a generator out, you’re exposed more to the market,” Sailer said. “Right now we have some scheduled outages for the first part of November and then again in the spring. We typically do not schedule maintenance in the January and February time frame when we’re at peak conditions. That’s where the unplanned or forced outages come into play.”

During outages and periods of peak electric demand, Minnkota’s first option is to purchase energy from the power market. If the timing is not right and affordable power is not available, off-peak loads are temporarily controlled. The savings are passed on to retail consumers through the lower off-peak heating rate.

“Controlling load during these periods protects consumers from the volatility of the market and prevents the need to build new power plants just to serve peak loads,” Sailer said.

An off-peak system consists of an electric heating source as its primary component. A supplemental heating source must operate several hundred hours or more during the winter season. Sailer said members with a well-maintained backup heating system should not notice a difference in comfort level when their off-peak heating system is controlled.

Incentives for heating, charging equipment

As part of its Value of Electricity campaign, Minnkota works with its member cooperatives and participating municipals to offer incentives for the installation of electric heating, water heating and charging equipment.

A recent addition is incentives for the installation of electric vehicle charging equipment on the off-peak program. It calls for a $50 per kilowatt rebate for Level 2 chargers that are 240 volts. The maximum rebate is $500.

“One of the things that is new to our program that we’re really promoting is the electrical vehicles,” Sailer said. “We see it as a benefit for the consumer and the co-ops. It’s just another good load in our demand response program.”

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Honoring Our Veterans

As I write this article, Veterans Day is just around the corner; however, by the time you receive it the holiday season will be in full swing. Still, I want to pause and express my gratitude by saying thank you to all our current and former service men and women. Your sacrifice and commitment to making the world a better place has not gone unnoticed and as such, we honor our fallen veterans and say thank you to the brave men and women who have served. On this 100th anniversary of the armistice ending World War I, it is especially important that we express our thanks to those who sacrificed so much to ensure freedom for us and our allies.

As an electric cooperative, we hold our veterans in high esteem and aim to do our part to not only honor them but help support them. One way we would like to do this is through the “No Barriers Program.” One of our financial services partners, CoBank, has teamed up with No Barriers USA to allow electric cooperatives to nominate veterans with disabilities to participate in a five-day expedition at no cost. The program provides an opportunity for rural veterans to challenge their own limitations, both real and perceived, physical and mental. Through successful completion of demanding activities like rafting, rock climbing and hiking, they become better equipped to overcome obstacles they face in their daily lives. By sharing experiences with other veterans with disabilities, they also build a network of support that can last a lifetime. If you or someone you know could benefit from this program, go to http://www.cobank.com/citizenship/no-barriers for more information.

The holiday season can be a magical time for many of us. Festive gatherings with family and friends, time away from school, ringing in the new year and celebrating the promise of new opportunities can be especially exciting. However, the holiday season can also be an extremely difficult time. The added financial pressures that come from this time of year can be especially difficult for those who have those day-to-day struggles. For those without family or friends to share the holidays with, it can also be a very difficult and lonely time.

As we move through the holiday season we hold those having struggles close in our thoughts and encourage everyone to extend a helping hand whenever possible. To all our members and neighbors, we at Nodak Electric Cooperative want to wish you the happiest of happy holidays.

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Electrical Equipment Is Never In Season

As various North Dakota hunting seasons approach, please remember that electrical insulators, conductors and electrical equipment are NOT on the hunting season list. Nodak Electric Cooperative encourages hunters to be aware of electrical equipment while enjoying the great outdoors this season.

Hunters and other gun owners should not shoot near or toward power lines, power poles and substations. A stray bullet can cause damage to equipment, could be deadly to the shooter, and potentially interrupt electric service to large areas.

Be aware of what’s behind that big buck or it might cost big bucks. Repairs can be costly and damages cause outages to our members. As a nonprofit cooperative, owned by the members, we all share in this expense.

We recognize the majority of hunters practice safe hunting and understand the potential risks when discharging a firearm. We encourage experienced hunters who are familiar with the area to identify the locations of utility properties and equipment to young or new hunters in their group and remind them to avoid shooting toward these facilities. Enjoy the great outdoors safely.

Hunting Safety Tips

  • Do not shoot at or near power lines or insulators.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location of power lines and equipment on land where you shoot.
  • Damage to the conductor can happen, possibly dropping a phase on the ground. If it’s dry and the electricity goes to ground, there is the possibility of electrocution and fire.
  • Be especially careful in wooded areas where power lines may not be as visible.
  • Do not use power line wood poles or towers to support equipment used in your shooting activity.
  • Take notice of warning signs and keep clear of electrical equipment.
  • Do not place deer stands on utility poles or climb poles. Energized lines and equipment on the poles can conduct electricity to anyone who comes in contact with them, causing shock or electrocution.
  • Do not shoot at or near birds perching on utility lines. That goes for any type of firearm, including pistols, rifles or shotguns.
  • Do not place decoys on power lines or other utility equipment. Anything attached to a pole besides utility equipment can pose an obstruction – and a serious hazard – to electric cooperative employees as they perform utility operations.
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Brownouts vs. Blinking Lights

You’re at home and suddenly the lights get really bright in part of the house while dimming in another. Or your lights and appliances work in one part of your home but not in other areas. What’s going on? Those could be symptoms of “brownouts,” also called partial power or low voltage. But don’t confuse partial power with blinking lights.

Brownouts or partial power

Partial power at a home is usually caused by a problem with neutral or ground connections. This could be a bad connection at the transformer, a bad connection to the pole ground, a bad connection to the primary neutral conductor, a bad connection in the meter base, a secondary conductor that is failing, or problems within the home at the breaker panel or individual circuits.

Signs of partial power include dim lights or appliances that work in some parts of the home but not in others, and some lights getting really bright while others dim.

For a large number of members, partial power could be caused by a transmission problem or a voltage regulator not working properly. It also occurs when one phase of the transmission three-phase is not energizing a substation transformer. If that happens, two of our distribution phases will have low voltage and therefore cause low voltage within the home.

What should you do?

If you experience partial power, you should turn off your main breaker and call Nodak or an electrician. If the partial power is affecting everything in your home, call Nodak Electric so we can advise you on whether the source of the problem is ours or if it’s on your side of the meter.

Blinking lights

Blinking lights is a complete, momentary power outage – perhaps just for a few seconds. Sometimes, the lights may completely blink off just once, and then everything is fine again. Or the lights may blink on and off a few times followed by a complete power outage. Blinking lights occurs when there is a fault on our electric system, such as a tree or branch in contact with a power line. If this happens, it’s a sign that our electric system is working as designed. If you have questions regarding partial power or blinking lights, please contact Nodak Electric at 1-800-732-4373.

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Smart Grid Technology To Improve Reliability, Benefit Nodak Members

In its nearly 70 years of operation, the Cooperstown substation has powered it all.

The facility helped bring electricity out to farms and ranches in the early 1950s. It energized the development of Minuteman Missile sites during the Cold War. And it stayed stride for stride with our demand for energy in a digital world.

This fall, the substation is set for a well-earned retirement. The aging equipment will be replaced with a new, modern substation to meet the area’s long-term energy needs.

Substations, those collections of wires and transformers you see behind chain-link fences, raise the voltage of electricity at a power generation facility for efficient transmission over long distances, then lower it so it can be safely used in homes and businesses. Nodak receives power at the substation from Minnkota Power Cooperative, its wholesale power provider, and then brings it out to its member-consumers.

“The existing Cooperstown substation was basically at its maximum capacity,” said Jay Bushy, Minnkota’s lead engineer on the project. “If Nodak would have had additional load out there, we wouldn’t have been able to provide for it without expanding the substation.”

Once the new substation is energized later this year, the existing substation will be decommissioned, the equipment will be removed and the site restored to its original condition with grass planted. The entire project is estimated to cost $900,000.

Minnkota operates and maintains more than 250 substations on behalf of Nodak and 10 other electric cooperatives in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. Initiating the rebuild of an existing substation or replacing equipment goes through a meticulous review process where age, location, system demand and many other factors are considered. A construction work plan is developed on an annual basis and approved by a board consisting of representatives from the 11 Minnkota member cooperatives.

Real-time data

The new Cooperstown substation provides significant benefits in terms of communication and reliability, Bushy said. An upgraded computer system, known in the industry as SCADA, will help gather and analyze data, while also monitoring and controlling equipment processes remotely. It is part of a long-term upgrade project to add smart grid technology at the older substation sites. All new substations have the technology in place.

“We’ll be better able to isolate outages and switch lines on and off,” Bushy said. “That’s a benefit to Nodak and its members.”

Smart grid technology has been added this summer at the Robbin substation (near Drayton), Depuy substation (near Grafton) and Adams substation (west of Park River) in Nodak’s service area. The goal of these projects is to replace the meters and regulator panels with state-of-the-art technology that will provide real-time communication back to Minnkota’s Energy Control Center.

By receiving real-time data from the substations, personnel can more quickly respond to outages and other power quality issues.

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Maintaining Geographic Diversity

I’m sure you are aware that Nodak’s service territory is divided into three separate districts, with three of our nine board members residing in each district. This is done for several reasons, but most importantly it ensures a certain degree of geographic diversity among our board members.

This geographic diversity spreads our board members throughout our service area. That increases the chance there will be a board member you know, live near, or interact with occasionally. It also increases the likelihood that the board will more closely match the diversity of our membership. The life experiences and perspectives that come from raising livestock in the western part of our service area may be somewhat different from that gained by raising sugar beets in the northern Red River Valley, dealing with the rising water near Devils Lake, or the congestion of a larger city in the east. Member districts guard against one area dominating the board and falling to special interests or just losing touch with our membership.

With the goal of maintaining that geographical diversity, from time to time our board reviews the makeup of the three districts and makes adjustments to their boundaries. Our bylaws require that “the cooperative service territory shall be divided into three substantially similar districts based on member population.” While we do experience growth throughout our service area, the growth around the population centers has a tendency to skew the numbers toward the more populated areas. In an effort to reestablish parity between the districts, your board has adjusted the district boundaries ahead of our next board election.

To accomplish this, each of the three districts were modified slightly to bring the member population substantially equal again. The map on this page shows the new districts that will be used for our next board of director election in April. If you live close to the new district boundaries and are unsure which district you live in, feel free to call the cooperative headquarters and we will be happy to assist you in determining which district you are part of.

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