Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 17 NO. 10  -  October 2014

Cold Weather Rule Notification   |   Energy Assistance Programs

Co-op Connections Business Profile

My Lake Home Bed & Breakfast 

by Sally Sedgwick

In 2007, Lyle and Kathryn Wallentine began to build a lake home on a scenic bay of Dixon Lake. It would be an 18-sided, 4,000 square foot circular home, beginning with a Deltec structure and built and customized by themselves.

They designed the two story interior with computer software and began building the ground level. It was while sweeping that floor out after a storm that Kathryn realized: “This is too big for us!”

The solution was clear: both Lyle and Kathryn had experience in the hospitality industry. Together they had owned Dixon Lake Resort, and Kathryn had worked in her family’s business, First Class Catering in Minneapolis, through her early career.


Projects, rates and commitment to community 

by Jared Echternach, CEO

Ortman substation project

Progress continues on the Ortman substation and associated transmission line. Poles are being set along the transmission route, most of the clearing has been completed and the substation dirt work is done. A scheduled outage affecting North Itasca members and Minnesota Power customers served by the Bigfork substation occurred on Sept. 17. The outage was required in order for Great River Energy (GRE) to install a switch to accommodate the Ortman transmission line interconnection to the existing transmission line. The outage was scheduled to last from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Crews completed the work and the substation was re-energized at 5:09 p.m. We appreciate your patience during this outage and understand that being without power is an inconvenience for all. The good news is that the new substation and associated transmission line will provide a valuable duel feed to our system and improve overall system reliability for our members and for those served by Minnesota Power in Bigfork. The substation and associated transmission line is expected to be complete by late 2015 or early 2016.


2014 Construction Projects 

by Daryl Pederson, Line Superintendent

This year has been a very busy year with various projects ranging from the installation of a new meter reading system at both the Jessie Lake and Bigfork substations to the construction of approximately 30 new services.

Our crews have installed 13 miles of underground cable starting north of Itasca County Road 14 and ending four miles north of Effie. With the help of some contractors this new line is scheduled to be energized late September to early October.

This project is being done in conjunction with Great River Energy’s new transmission line. This new line will serve our system during scheduled maintenance and during transmission outage events, improving our system realiability. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2015 or early 2016.


Solar PV and Common Questions 

by Jerry Loney

Solar PV, (photovoltaic), is and has become well-advertised on television, radio and publications all around us, but many people still have questions regarding this old but new technology. I will attempt to answer some of these questions listed below:

How much does a Solar PV system cost?

There are three components of solar installation; the panels which absorb the sun’s rays, the invertors which convert DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current) needed for our homes, and interconnection which allows extra power not consumed by our homes to be sent into the distribution lines for others to be able to use. According to the Cooperative Research Network, the national average cost for a typical residential home is running between $8 and $10 per watt. This price will vary depending on equipment and contractors.

In 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act included a residential solar investment tax credit of 30 percent until Dec. 31, 2016. Several states including Minnesota are offering state incentives to reduce costs for home owners. Incentives include personal tax, property tax, rebates, and loans.

DSIRE (Data of State Incentives for Renewable and efficiency) provides information on incentives at: www.dsireusa.com. Some incentives may be taxable.


Great Northern Transmission Line Hearings 

by Sally Sedgwick

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will be holding public hearings in mid October on Minnesota Power’s application for a Certificate of Need for the Great Northern Transmission Line. The 500 kV line will run from the Canadian border through the service territory of North Itasca Electric in the Northome, Effie and/or Scenic areas; two alternative routes that have been identified are shown below. The line will require a 200 foot easement.

The hearings will be in front of an administrative law judge, who will present her recommendations to the Public Utilities Commission after reviewing the comments and the record. The PUC is expected to make a decision on the need for the project by next May.


Touchstone Energy Community Award 

Do you know an organization that has made outstanding contributions to the local community?

North Itasca Electric is seeking applications for the Touchstone Energy Community Award, which recognizes businesses, non-profit and community groups that have shown a strong commitment to the community. Any organization that has helped make North Itasca Electric's service territory a better place to live and work is eligible for the $500 cash award.


October 2014 Calendar of Events 

2 Storytelling at Marcell Town Hall, 2-4 p.m. (Note new winter time.) Marcell Town Hall. Subject: "An Unusual Happening." Coffee and treats served.
3 RoundUp® applications due, 4:30 p.m. at North Itasca Electric headquarters
3 Classical music in concert from the Piatigorsky Foundation at the Edge Center in Bigfork, 7 p.m. featuring tenor Rodrigo Garciarroyo and pianist Mario Alberto Hernández.
5 The Roaring 20s in Minnesota onstage at the Edge Center in Bigfork, with the music-and-history show Flappers, Miners and Moonshiners, 2 p.m.
8 Bigfork Lions Club meets second Wednesday, 6 p.m. at Golf on the Edge.
8 Northome School Board meets, 7 p.m.