Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 20 NO. 3  -  March 2017

CEO Report


These meetings provide North Itasca Electric with the opportunity to let our legislators know what is important to your cooperative and the surrounding areas we serve. While the majority of the legislative session will be focused on transportation and health care, we wanted to educate them on pending energy issues as well.

At the forefront, the primary issue for electric cooperatives is the ability to maintain local democratic control. Electric cooperatives function as self-help democratic organizations who are controlled by their member-owners that comprise their elected regulatory boards. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has been attempting to extend their reach into the electric cooperative business. This over-reach has cost electric cooperatives and their members’ a great amount of time and money. It is our hope that we will be able to eliminate the potential for duplicate regulation.

Local democratic control, concern for the community, and focus on member benefit are cooperative principles and what sets us apart from investor-owned utilities. These principles provide our members protection greater than any private business or government regulatory process.

The “Local Democracy” legislation recently passed easily through the House with much support from republicans and democrats alike. Currently, Senate File 141 (SF 141) awaits a hearing with the Senate Finance committee. I will provide more information as this moves forward.

Operation Round-Up®

Thanks to the generosity of many of our member-owners, the North Itasca Electric Community Trust Board (Operation Round-Up®) will be meeting in April to distribute approximately $10,000 to various organizations and communities in the service area. The deadline for® grant applications is Friday March 31. Application forms along with instructions can be obtained by calling the office at 218-743-3131 or 1-800-762-4048, on this website under "Forms", or by email to roundup@nieci.com. Grants will be awarded in mid-April.

Return to the March 2017 Issue