Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 22 NO. 2  -  February 2019

Cold Weather Rule Notification   |   Energy Assistance Programs

CEO Report  

by Brad Dolinski, CEO

Good morning North Itasca!

We got another blanket of snow this morning. Everything looks so fresh and clean! One of these days it’s going to warm up; I’ll get out and enjoy this winter fun.

This blanket of snow brings up an interesting conversation I had with a Consumer-Owner this month. This gentleman sent me an article about the actual cost of community solar. He asked what we do with our panels when it snows? I gave him a call and we had a lengthy discussion about the pros and cons and costs associated with different systems.


Changing out poles  

checking the poles

Pole change outs are done at our Cooperative on a regular basis, as many of our poles are over 50 years of age. We currently have about ten percent of our poles tested annually which comes out to about 1,000 poles per year.

During the testing, poles are inspected for missing or loose hardware, pole rot or decay, and shell thickness which is the strength of the pole. If the shell of the pole is compromised in any way we will receive a report on the poles, at which time we will change out the bad or damaged poles.

Over the past year we had a higher reject rate than normal as we have changed out more than 100 poles. In the picture you can see our guys working to change out a pole as safely possible. Many of the times we will change out the pole with the power still on but in certain situations we will shut power off to these poles and our members during this process (Line is de-energized in these pictures.) We would like to thank our members for their patience with us during these time as we know it can be a frustrating and inconvenient time.

Roxanne’s Sales Talk  

by Roxanne Prather, member services representative

Have you noticed how much appliances have changed (especially washers and dryers)? There are so many additional settings on them that a person can get confused how to operate them.

The reason I’m talking about this is because I came across an issue last week that I hadn’t seen before and thought it should be shared. We had a dryer where the back metal screen became discolored and looked like something had melted on it. We contacted our distributer and asked what would cause this. They informed me that it was normal for the outlet cover to become discolored from heat. However, a black coating can be caused by synthetic fiber garments dried with excessive heat. Higher temperatures can cause the fibers to be “baked” onto the outlet screen as they brush against it.


Speed limits to go up on some area roads  

by Sally Sedgwick

New speed limits will be posted on some area highways, thanks to the results of a 5-year study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The 55 mph speed limit found on many rural two lane highways dates from 1974, when the Emergency Highway Conservation Act established that as the national maximum speed limit. In a five year study ending in 2013, MnDOT increased the limit to 60 on 1,550 miles of rural highways. Now another five year study has been completed and over 5,200 more miles in the state will be re-signed to the higher limit. Statewide, 81 percent of two lane rural highways will be posted at 60 mph, according to the study.

The new speeds will go into effect once the signs are posted.


Right-of-Way Clearing Notice – Removal of Trees and Brush  

Trees and power lines make lousy neighbors; North Itasca Electric Cooperative will be removing trees and brush in the following townships: Marcell and Unorganized Townships that will include the Scenic, Suomi, Talmoon, Marcell and County Road 45 areas. Clearing within the right-of-way areas will begin in early January 2019 and continue through December 2019.

Please see the maps on the following page 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 or brush will be removed.


February 2019 Calendar of Events 

Family Nordic skiing with EOWSKI at Scenic State Park; 1-3 p.m. on Saturdays in February. More info: 743-7025.
5 Mizpah City Council meets in Mizpah Community Center, 7 p.m.
10 Valentine’s Party at Spring Lake Store, Co. Rd. 4, 1-2:30 p.m.
11 Women of the Woods meet at 10 a.m. at Sand Lake Community Center. Call Pat Sievertson at 659-2157
11 "The Club I Never Wanted to Join," a breast cancer support group, meets at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. oin the Grand Rapids Area Library Group Study Room. For more information, contact Lynn at lynn_ettl@msn.com
11 Effie City Council, 6 p.m. at Effie Community Center.
11 Deer River ISD 317 School Board, King Elementary Media Center, 6 p.m. Public forum 5:45 p.m.