Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 17 NO. 12  -  December 2014

Cold Weather Rule Notification   |   Energy Assistance Programs

North Itasca to distribute more than $320,000 in capital credits 

by Jared Echternach, CEO

I am pleased to report that your Board of Directors has authorized a capital credit retirement of $323,372 in 2014. Checks are scheduled to be mailed in mid-December just in time for the holiday season. Members with fewer than $10 in capital credit allocations will have their amount rolled over into the next retirement.

Each year since 1985 your Board of Directors has authorized a retirement of capital credits to the members attempting to maintain a 20-year rotation. This year your Board of Directors authorized what is known as a hybrid method of retirement, retiring 80 percent of the co-op allocation from 1993 and 2 percent of the co-op allocation from all remaining unretired years. The philosophy behind the hybrid method of retirement is that more members and newer members will receive a capital credit check from their cooperative and experience the cooperative difference.


Congressional action needed to salvage electric
thermal storage water heating 

Clock ticking on co-op energy efficiency program

A long-running and valuable cooperative program will dry up this spring if an impending ban on a certain sector of water heaters is not overturned. Electric cooperatives and other advocates are encouraging Congress to preserve large-capacity electric resistance water heaters during its “lame duck” session which just began.

At issue is a Department of Energy (DOE) standard that is slated to begin on April 16 that would effectively ban the manufacture of electric resistance water heaters with a storage capacity of 55 gallons or more. The rule will require all large-capacity electric water heaters to operate at 200 percent efficiency, a level that only heat-pump water heaters can meet.


Get ready for the next winter storm 

Extreme winter weather can immobilize an entire region. Even areas that normally experience mild winters can suddenly be hit with heavy snowfall or intense cold. Winter storms can result in closed streets and highways, power outages, and flooding. Take action now to ensure the safety and comfort of your family in the event of extreme winter weather.

Before a storm

  • Have snow removal equipment on hand, as well as rock salt to melt ice, and sand to improve traction.
  • Regular heating fuel sources may be cut off, so make sure an alternative is available. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk when alternate heating sources are in use.
  • Locate your main water supply and valves; make sure you know how to shut them off in case a pipe bursts.
  • Repair roof leaks and keep gutters clear. Trim any tree branches that could fall on your house during a storm.
  • Winterize your home by caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows, sealing the attic area and installing storm windows. This will help to keep your family safe and comfortable during a storm.

Top Ten Holiday Safety Tips 

  1. Inspect electrical decorations for damage before use.

    Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.

  2. Do not overload electrical outlets.

    Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday fires. Avoid overloading outlets and plug only one high-wattage appliance into an outlet at a time.


December 2014 Calendar of Events 

2 North Woods Quilters Christmas Party, 10 a.m. Potluck lunch. Colony Square, Grand Rapids. Ornament exchange.
3 Bigfork Community Education Family Movie Night at the Edge Center, 5 p.m.
4 Story Telling, 2 - 4 p.m. Marcell Town Hall. Subject: Anything to do with the month of December.
4,5 Christmas Open House and Sale at North Itasca Electric Co-op headquarters in Bigfork, 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. on Thursday; 8:30 a.m. until Santa leaves on Friday.
4,5 Merry Little Christmas Sale, 1200 Ottum Ave., Bigfork, 4-8 p.m. Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri.
5 Blackduck Senior Center's annual Omelet Brunch, Bazaar and Bake Sale , 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Everyone welcome.
5 Lake Country Seniors Christmas Party, 12 noon. Timberwolf Restaurant, Marcell. Call (218) 246-2007 for info
5,6 Jingle Bell Sale at Bigfork City Hall