Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 22 NO. 7  -  July 2019

North Itasca Electric hosts Annual Meeting


Board Secretary Lloyd Kongsjord read the notice of meeting and certified its mailing in the WATTS News.

Chair Larry Salmela (District 3) spoke on the challenge of the times as he sees it; transitioning to the renewable energy sources of wind and solar. It’s important, he said, to tell the whole story - not only the benefits of capturing free sources of energy, but also the cost of storing and using that energy. Since there are times that the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, technology must solve the problem of energy storage.

CEO Brad Dolinski recognized the dedication of the cooperative team he works with and introduced the co-op’s newest employee, Katie Smith. He also thanked the families of the cooperative staff – often linemen must leave family events or leave in the middle of the night to deal with emergencies.

The cooperative’s energy supplier Great River Energy has done very well. GRE is a generation and transmission cooperative owned by North Itasca Electric and 27 other electric cooperative which share in its capital credits. The cooperative intends on its fuel sources being 50 percent carbon free by 2030 and to that end has negotiated favorable power purchase agreements.

Dolinski pointed out the importance of being engaged in the political process and making personal connections with lawmakers. He also spoke on how cooperatives are trying to prevent mandates and urged members to help by contacting their legislators.

He spoke on the emphasis North Itasca Electric has put on safety during the year, even beginning each board meeting with a safety message. The annual meeting included a video on staying safe if downed lines are on the road or the car by remaining inside the car until help arrives.

Major projects during the coming year include construction of the Scenic substation, cable relocations on County Road 45 and the intersection of Highways 6 and 286, running 3 phase on the Alder Road in Marcell and preparing for construction on Highway 6 next year.

The open District 4 board position will be chosen through a special election, either by ballot or by interest expressed through candidate packets handed out at a June 6 district meeting ad available in the office. A decision will be made at a board meeting on June 27. The term will be until the next annual meeting election in 2020.

In response to an audience question, Line Superintendent Daryl Pederson said there are now 740 miles of overhead line and 580 miles of underground line on the system. To the question of whether overhead or underground wires have more line loss, Dolinski said it depends on such factors as the age of the underground installation, or the age of the insulators and size of the conductors for overhead. On generator safety, Dolinski cautioned that the line department will come out to make sure generators are islanded, and that the cooperatives Briggs and Stratton generators are designed for cold weather with battery warmers and trickle chargers.

Election results for the board of directors were announced after the canvassing committee had completed work. In District 7, incumbent Bruce Leino was re-elected. In District 8, Jeff Kilian was elected. In District 9, unopposed incumbent Roy Bain was re-elected. Other candidates for office were thanked for their interest, including Joan Hoeschen, Teresa Kittridge, Jeanette Remers, Karen Senger and Elliot Wolfson.

A bylaw amendment regarding arbitration was passed by the membership by a vote of 382 to 86.

The grand prize of a gas grill of choice was won by member Gary Waldron.

Return to the July 2019 Issue