Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 21 NO. 9  -  September 2018

CEO Report


Underground cable is a wonderful thing, but it too can have some issues.† Number one is itís expensive!† The cost of putting in underground is much higher than overhead power lines.† If we just went out and dropped underground everywhere across our system, wellÖ You would be in my office with the rest of the members to escort me out.† Our bills would go through the roof, it would take many years to recover from that investment and the costs would be overwhelming.† Another hiccup is some of our UG line is getting old, we have almost 800 miles of underground line across our system in different age classes.† When UG wire was first available, it didnít have a jacket; the neutrals were bare.† Over the years the neutrals can break down and dissolve into the soil, lightning can get into the cable and cause weak points.† I believe we are going to chase this issue for months after the storms this summer, there was a lot of lightning.

The last big hurdle with UG cable is you canít see the problem.† When there is a problem it can take hours to pinpoint the issue.† We had an outage yesterday; the guys found the issue was a hole in the cable about the diameter of a sewing needle.† Now, you want to talk about a needle in the haystack?† Ours was about four feet underground, it takes a while to diagnose, then fix one of these outages.† Thankfully we have a GREAT crew that knows the system watching out for us.

Are you ready for winter?† I am not!† My plan this weekend is to clean up my furnaces and install new filters.† Iím trying to get better about this, itís good for the equipment and helps save energy costs.† Iím going to take a trip around the house and make sure there isnít a spot the critters can get in or the heat can get out.

When I was on the fire department in Baudette we had a thermal camera.† That unit was amazing, you could see every stud in the wall on a cold night.† You could also see where heat loss was clearly.† Windows, doors, and attics are about the worst.† Maybe thatís what Mom was talking about when she told me not to throw money out the window?† Iíll check to see if any air is leaking to save on the heat this winter.

I should probably spend a little time on the wood pile too.† That dreaded task seems to get away from me every year but for some reason I still enjoy it once I start.† My back doesnít always agree though.

As always, I had big plans for this summer, I was going to do some remodel work on my house.† I planned to get crops in this spring, and several other to-dos that to-didnít.† I did accomplish a few things though, this past weekend we spent time with family camping in Canada.† I got to go swimming with my daughters and we even caught a few fish.

As busy as life gets these days Iím considering these accomplishments to be able to focus on friends and family also.† Weíre coming up on Labor Day weekend, our office will be closed, and Iíll be with family and friends fishing.

I wish you all the best with your fall activities, stay safe out there!

By your side,

Return to the September 2018 Issue