Save the date: March 31, 2015
I hope you all had a chance to read the save the date notice on the previous page for our annual meeting March 31, 2015. Every annual meeting is a special day for us at Nodak as that’s when we get the opportunity to get reacquainted with old friends and meet our new neighbors. Our next annual meeting brings the excitement of marking our 75th year of existence. Seventy-five years ago, when electricity was only available to residents and businesses in urbanized areas, local farmers and landowners banded together, took matters into their own hands and brought the power of electricity to northeastern North Dakota.
Today, few of us know what it was like to live without electricity. We can only imagine the profound impact electricity had on North Dakotans’ way of life, on our economy and on our health. Seventy-five years ago a group of forward-thinking, ambitious, rural residents brought change and shined a light on the need to turn the lights on in rural America.
Now we have a new generation of electric cooperative members. We are owners of the cooperative just like the farmers and ranchers who answered the call to light our area 75 years ago. Much like our founders, today’s co-op members embody the democratic ideals of the cooperative business model of neighbors helping neighbors with the purpose of improving the lives of our members and the communities in which we work and live.
Seventy-five years ago, for-profit electric utilities had determined the urban boundaries they wished to serve, and decided against extending their lines into the rural areas of North Dakota. These profit-minded utilities considered our low population density a poor investment and concluded it was not in the best interest of their investors. Because of the bold initiative of our founders, today Nodak members not only have the power of electricity in our homes, we enjoy the benefits of the cooperative business model. Because the cooperative is democratic, every member has one vote. Our members control and direct Nodak, not money, not politics and not profits. Any revenue left over after paying our expenses and debt service is returned to our members who purchased electricity, not to a stockholder/investor whose sole motivation is a return on their investment.
Over the past 75 years, this business model has served us well. During that time, Nodak has grown from what was initially considered a poor investment by these profit-minded utilities, to one of the larger electric cooperatives in the United States. Today, we provide our members with more than one billion kilowatt-hours annually. We serve members stretching out over almost 9,000 square miles of service area, and do so on 8,000 miles of power lines – all owned by our member-owners.
There’s a lot of history behind that growth, and although the future will not be without challenges, there are bright times ahead. On March 31, 2015, we all will celebrate accomplishments of our forefathers and unite to overcome the challenges ahead. I’d like to encourage you all to save the date and join us for a historical perspective of Nodak Electric Cooperative and commemorate the milestone birthday of Nodak’s 75 years. We hope to see you all then. Until then, I hope you have a happy and safe holiday season.