Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 17 NO. 6  -  June 2014

Report to the Members: The Year in Review 

by Terence Schmitz, board president, and Jared Echternach, CEO

2013 was a good year for your cooperative.

Fewer sustained outages resulted in improved system reliability compared to 2012. Your cooperative's reliability indices, which measure overall system reliability and benchmark against other cooperatives throughout the nation, resulted in an average minutes per consumer without power of 208 minutes. This is 72 percent below our five-year average of 748 minutes and a tremendous improvement, but we still have a ways to go.


The Value of Membership 

by Jerry Loney, Energy Management Specialist

It is annual meeting time again where the staff shares with you, the member, activities that have taken place throughout the year. My letter to you this year will expand on that written last year on “The Value of Membership.” Let me refresh your memory a bit and remind you of the programs and services North Itasca Electric provides and why.

Efficiency and Conservation Programs

Energy efficiency and conservation programs have been and will continue to be a large part of North Itasca Electric Cooperative’s commitment to its members.

As with all Minnesota electric utilities, the state mandates that 1.5 percent of its gross operating revenue be spent on Conservation Improvement Programs (CIP). This spending must be in conjunction with kilowatt-hour (kWh) savings. Both spending and energy savings are recorded and reported to the state through our wholesale power supplier, Great River Energy (GRE) as an aggregate report of all of GRE’s 28 cooperatives purchasing power from them.


From the Line Department 

by Daryl Pederson, Line Superintendent

We have had a very busy year in 2013. One of the projects completed was a small cable replacement crossing Lake Elizabeth, while most of the summer our crews worked on replacing some old failing cable along County Road 40 north of Effie. This project consisted of adding approximately two miles of a second phase to feed the Deer Lake area from County Road 40 to County Road 525. From this point two crews continued along Co. Rd 525 converting two miles of old overhead lines to new underground cable improving reliability to this area.

We also completed 37 pole replacements, 22 of which were rejected from our pole inspection program and 25 were service upgrades with 13 of these done to accommodate electric heat.


Right-of-Way Clearing Q & A 

Trees and power lines make lousy neighbors. North Itasca Electric Cooperative will be removing trees and brush in the following townships in 2014: Forest Grove, Evergreen, Bridge, Englewood, Pinetop, Wildwood, Plum Creek, Hornet and Nore.

Clearing within the right-of-way areas will begin in June and continue through early 2015. Please see the map on p. 7 of this month's Watts identifying areas scheduled for clearing. The right-of-way required is 40 feet - 20 feet on each side of primary lines and pole - and 10 feet minimum on each side of secondary lines. If you do not have overhead power lines on your property, no trees and brush will be removed.


Local June Events 

Northome Crazy Days, Saturday June 7

Stores open at 8 a.m. for sidewalk sales, rummage sales, fundraisers and food vendors. At 2 p.m. Turtle Races will be held on Main Street, at 5:30 p.m. the Koochiching County Fairgrounds will host the Rhubarb Rumble: bring a rhubarb dish to share and enjoy musical entertainment.

Bigfork Wilderness Days, Saturday, June 14, all afternoon

Enjoy shows, food, vendors, contests, and a Kiddie (4:30 p.m.) and Grand Parade (5 p.m.). Raffle buttons on sale now. 5k Edge of the Wilderness Run for Warriors benefitting Wounded Warrior Project, 7 a.m. start, (218) 244-0749 to register. Horseshoe tourney 2 p.m. at Wilderness Bar; Brat Eating Contest at Kocian's, Magic Show, Bigfork Days Idol Contest, face painting, Bouncy House sponsored by Arvig, Archery Shoot, Ugly Pet Contest, more.


June 2014 Calendar of Events 

5 Storytelling at Marcell Town Hall, 6:30 p.m. Pick your own subject night.
6-8 Statewide Take a Kid Fishing weekend. No license needed if taking a youth 15 or younger fishing.
7 North Itasca Electric Co-op Annual Meeting at Northome School. Breakfast begins at 8 a.m., meeting at 10 a.m.
7 Crazy Days in Northome. Stores 8 a.m., 2 p.m. turtle races, 5:30 p.m. Rhubarb Rumble.
9 Women of the Woods meet at 10 a.m. at Sand Lake Community Center. Call Pat Sievertson at 659-2157 or Marlys Maki at 659-2901.
9 VFW meets in Bigfork second Monday at 7 p.m.
10 Stop and Stitch at Marcell Family Center. Bring sack lunch, project and $1, come and go. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Contact Rhonda 259-9220 or Judy at 832-3237.
10 Evergreen Friendship Club meets at 5 p.m. at the Sand Lake Community Center. For more info, call 659-2683.
11 Interested in the logistics of a total knee or total hip replacement surgery? Come to Bigfork Valley's comprehensive program to learn about replacement surgery. Board Room, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. RSVP required: (218) 743-4135.
11 Northome School Board meets, 7 p.m.
11 Bigfork Lions Club meets second Wednesday, 6 p.m. at Golf on the Edge.