Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 18 NO. 11  -  November 2015

Cold Weather Rule Notification   |   Energy Assistance Programs

Co-op Connections Business Profile 

Timber Rose Floral & Gifts 

by Sally Sedgwick

What do Custer, So. Dak.; Venice, Italy; Good Thunder, Minn.; Mexico; and Australia have in common?

They are all in the guest book at Timber Rose Floral & Gifts in Bigfork.

Itís amazing where people have come from, says Tammy Larson. When she asks why they have traveled to northern Minnesota, their answers are that they love the northwoods, and they love to get away from the urban pace.

And they write nice comments about the store.


2016 Budget Process and Rate Outlook  

by Jared Echternach, CEO

Itís hard to believe we are already talking about 2016 but here we are in October and your staff and board of directors has been working on and discussing the budgeting process for some time. We are in also the process of developing our 2017-2020 construction work plan and our long range plan that looks out 20 years.

Electric utilities plan years in advance for construction work plans and long range plans. We use engineering analysis and projected growth to model our system and determine areas of needed capacity. We also look at reliability indices and trending to determine where system improvements can be made. We prioritize these system improvements, balancing reliability and costs as we attempt to bring the most value to our membership within the revenue constraints we face as a small cooperative.

As you may recall, last year we completed a cost of service study Ė a practice used to determine appropriate cost recovery mechanisms for each of our rate classes. Cost of service studies are typically conducted every few years by an independent outside consultant to objectively determine if rates are correctly structured and are appropriately recovering costs fair and equitably across all rate classes. Not-for-profit co-ops like North Itasca Electric are governed by their members, and the board of directors has the fiduciary responsibility to ensure your cooperative is operated in a sound fiscal manner. This includes setting rates. I can assure you that your board of directors takes this responsibility very seriously and that they adjust rates only when absolutely necessary.


Cody Eischens joins line crew 

by Sally Sedgwick

Becoming a lineman was a goal for Cody Eischens, but it took persistence.

Graduating from Park Rapids High School in 2000, he found there was a two year wait list for lineman school, so he went into HVAC instead at M State Community and Technical College in Wadena. After ten years the economy and available work began to slow down, so he took that opportunity to change careers and went back to enroll at M State to become a lineman.

Initially with Lake States Construction, he joined North Itasca Electric on August 24 as a third year apprentice. Itís been a good experience. ďEverybody Iíve run into is super friendly and willing to help,Ē he explained.


RoundUp® grants awarded 

The North Itasca Electric Trust Board held its fall grant meeting during October. The board meets twice a year to distribute monies that come from members who round up their bills each month to the next dollar and contribute the difference toward a fund that supports local community initiatives. In this grant session, almost $11,200 in RoundUp dollars were made available to area projects.

After a lot of discussion and difficult decisions, the Trust Board awarded grants to 36 applicants for a total of $11,292.64. Projects sponsored ranged from Bigfork city beach improvements to Northland Progressive's Winterfest for Kids and grants ranged from $61 to $1,000.


November 2015 Calendar of Events 

1 Time change: Set clocks back one hour.
1 Registration opens for the 2016 Voyageurs Sled Dog Race with a start in Northome: a 78 eight dog pro class round trip between Barney's near Max and a Trophy Class 28 miles one way to Squaw Lake. www.voyageursclassic.com.
5 Storytelling, Marcell Town Hall, 2-4 p.m. Topic is "any fall subject." Everyone welcome, treats and coffee served.
6 Opening of O's Perspectives: Photography, Paintings, Sculptures and Collages. Reception at the Edge Gallery, Bigfork, 5-7 pm. Free admission. Exhibit continues through Nov. 28. Gallery next to Bigfork School is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Gallery, 5-7 p.m. at the Edge Gallery, Bigfork. Free admission. Exhibit continues through Nov. 28. Gallery next to Bigfork School is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.
6,7 Hunters' Suppers. See November Watts News for listings.
6-8 Fall play at Blackduck High School, 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse. $10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 K-12. $20 dinner theater (Friday).