Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 19 NO. 5  -  May 2016

CEO/Board Chair Message  

by Terry Schmitz, board chair and Chris Corradi, CEO

76 years ago the humble roots of North Itasca Electric were planted by a group of individuals dedicated to bringing electricity to the rural areas. This group started a system that has now grown to more than 5,300 electric services.

Though small, compared to other cooperatives across the state, North Itasca Electric is a progressive, well run and respected utility. Our employees are dedicated to providing the best service possible to our members. I’ve heard from other coop leaders how amazed they are with how much our line crews can accomplish. When we’ve sent crews to assist other utilities in repairing storm damage it has been said that our work ethic is second to none.


Right-of-Way Clearing Notice 

Trees and power lines make lousy neighbors. North Itasca Electric Cooperative will be removing trees and brush in the following townships: Lake Jessie, Sand Lake, Max, Good Hope, Third River, Bowstring, Oteneagen, Morse, and Unorganized Townships that will include the Inger and Dixon Lake areas. Clearing within the right-of-way areas will begin in early April and continue through early 2017. Please see the map below 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.

Q & A - Your Cooperative’s Vegetation Management Program

Why does North Itasca Electric clear power lines?


Our primary distribution lines carry 7,200 volts. We need proper clearance to protect lives. A tree touching an overhead primary line can become an energized conductor.

Electricity takes the path of least resistance to ground and people or animals touching a tree that is leaning against or has fallen on an overhead distribution line are at risk of electrocution.


From the Line Department  

by Daryl Pederson, Line Superintendent

Over the last construction year our crews have installed roughly 21 miles of new underground cable. The main projects include 1.5 miles in the Buckhorn Resort area, 1 mile in the Turtle Lake area, 3 miles in Oteneagen Township along County Road 44, 5 miles from Mizpah to Gemmel along Hwy 71, 2 miles along the south end of Round Lake by Squaw Lake, and 1 mile along County Road 14 north of Bigfork.

This year’s construction season will include the projects of converting overhead power lines to underground in the Squaw Lake area along Hwy 46 going north from County Road 4 for a distance of 1.25 miles and converting 3 miles of overhead power line along County Road 52 in the Owen Lake area to underground.

We have completed the installation of the new equipment in our substations over this last summer and have started to change out all of the meters throughout our system. With this new system we will have more functionality and information with our meter readings.


Energy efficiency does have its costs  

by Jerry Loney, Energy Management Specialist

Energy efficiency in itself is a good thing as is recycling household waste.

But it does not come without a price. The EPA has been pushing to shut down coal powered plants for some time now, and the government has been mandating utilities to reduce consumption 1.5 percent every year for a few years now.Rebate programs are good with respect to helping members save money on installations of equipment or other energy saving devices, but what is it doing to the bottom line of the price of energy?

As any commodity on the market, supply and demand determines price. The higher the quantity, the lower the price. But production costs also come into play in the manufacturing process, and producing a product as cheaply as possible affects the retail cost.


Local Events in June  

Bigfork Wilderness Days

Saturday, June 11, 11 a.m. through the afternoon
Wilderness Days in Bigfork, "Biggest Little Logging Town in Minnesota" Vendors, food, games, entertainment, raffle. Children's games area, The Simple Guys, live music, foosball tourney, snakes from Bemidji's Headwaters Science Center, history displays. Street dance with Midwest Mayhem, Kiddie Parade, Grand Parade. Updates on Facebook [fb.com/WildernessDays]

Edge of the Wilderness Kid's Fishing Day

Discovery Center in Marcell, Saturday, June 18, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Volunteers help with fishing and other activities in the morning then on to lunch. Bait casting contest, presentations, minnow races & prizes for all contestants! Hosted by the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center, US Forest Service, Bigfork Lions Club, Marcell Family Center. 832-3161.


June 2016 Calendar of Events 

2 Last day of school, Northome
2 Storytelling at Marcell Town Hall, 6 p.m. All ages welcome, Coffee and treats served.
3 Last day of school, Deer River, Bigfork
3 The Divas appear at the Edge Center, Bigfork, 7 p.m. Featuring a wide variety of music, instruments and styles.
3, 4 Bowstring, Jessie Lake Community Sales. Registration forms at Bowstring Store or call 259-1833 or 832-3612, or email BowstringChapel@gmail.com. More info, see Facebook - Bowstring Jessie Lakes Community Sales.
8 Bigfork Lions Club meets second Wednesday, 6 p.m. at Golf on the Edge.
8 Deer River ISD 317 School Board, DRHS Media Center, 6 p.m.