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PRECorp News FEBRUARY 2013

Co-op Principle # 7: Concern for Community By PRECorp Marketing and Communications

Strong healthy communities and helping others is the cooperative way and a guiding principle of how Powder River Energy Corporation does business. There are many areas of PRECorp giv-

ing and support. Capital credits are one way PRECorp gives back to members, but PRECorp also contributes to the community through an employee committee which reviews requests; Touch-

Seven Cooperative Principles 1. Voluntary and Open Membership: Membership in a cooperative is available to all who can reasonably use its services, regardless of race, religion, sex, or economic circumstances. 2. Democratic Member Control: Co-ops are democratically controlled, with each member having one vote. 3. Members’ Economic Participation: Cooperatives provide services “at cost” and remain not-for-profit regardless of the value of benefits delivered. 4. Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are self-sustaining, self-help organizations controlled by their members. 5. Education, Training, and Information: Keeping members, directors, managers, and employees up to date on issues so they can effectively govern the co-op. 6. Cooperation among Cooperatives: Mutual support helps cooperatives improve services, bolster local economies, and deal more effectively with social and community needs.

stone Energy sponsorships which support the community and promote our cooperative as part of the Touchstone family; and the PRECorp Foundation, consisting of an independent board of directors made up of PRECorp members. Where do the resources come from? Donations, scholarships, and sponsorships to the community come from fundraising events, Operation RoundUp volunteer donations, and unclaimed capital credits. These are funds that can only be used for contributing back to the community, not for operating costs or to subsidize rates. In 2012, through the employee-based Community Involvement Committee and Touchstone Energy sponsorships, PRECorp supported more than 80 nonprofit organizations. This support was equally distributed among all five counties served by PRECorp. Examples of support include health

7. Concern for Community: Cooperatives develop communities with programs supported by the membership.

Continued on Page 7

In This Issue Regular business: 1-800-442-3630 • Report an outage: 1-888-391-6220

Power poles important part of PRECorp system

Board approves bylaw changes

Turkey Shoot sponsorship helps local community

Remember safety around power lines and poles



Knock on wood Good poles are key to reliable power

By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing and Communications Specialist

Since PRECorp started building lines in 1945, wooden poles have been a staple of the distribution system. Those early poles were treated with creosote preservative to improve their defense against boring insects and rot.

against insects and rot, but in a much different way. The methods are more uniform for kiln drying and preserving the poles, according to Jim Carter, of the Wood Quality Control division of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). Plus, many of the poles start out on managed stands of timber ranging from fir, pine, to cedar. These managed stands produce a more consistent pole as it enters the pipeline for drying and treatment.

The early treatments were effective because the preservative saturated the wood fibers of the pole and secreted the preservative into the soil around the pole.

“Every pole has different (preservative) retention and penetration,” Carter said. The finished poles are sampled to ensure they meet the standards for preservation.

This creosote buffer zone generally prevented termites from eating the wood, and blocked water from penetrating the wood and rotting the pole. The older distribution poles, which date earlier than the 1950s, were not necessarily treated in an environmentally friendly manner, however.

PRECorp District Foreman Duffy Buresh of Newcastle is a 33-year veteran in the fight against nature with regard to the distribution poles.

Wood poles quietly support the power lines that deliver essential electricity to northeastern Wyoming industries, communities and homes. But in the earth surrounding the base of these poles, there’s a war going on.

Photos by Tim Velder/PRECorp

A 1950s-era pole near Newcastle still bears a clear glass insulator. Below, a metal tag shows the date and manufacturer of a pole north of Newcastle.

Today’s poles coming in from the suppliers are also chemically treated

He has spent large parts of his career in the Wright and Newcastle areas tending to the structures that deliver power to PRECorp members. Continued on Page 3

“Preventative maintenance is better than a ‘fix it when it falls’ approach.” - Jim Carter, of the Wood Quality Control division of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association



Continued from Page 2

Buresh is part of an ongoing PRECorp initiative to test poles for damage, and replace the bad ones. This program tests selected poles on a rotating cycle of about 12 years. As deteriorated poles are marked, new poles are put back in their place. Buresh said a difficult aspect of visual inspections is the unknowns of what lies below the ground or inside the pole. Many weak poles look normal on the outside, but can have hollow centers from ant excavations, or rotten spots below the ground. Ants do not eat treated wood. Instead, they hollow out a cavern inside the pole for the ant colony to live. Once the untreated interior of the pole has been exposed to the elements, it is ripe for accelerated deterioration. Field inspection methods incorporate wood samples, cross-section views, soundings, and moisture content of the poles to see if the wood is compromised. Poles should last at least 30 years. However, Buresh says the age of the pole is not the only indicator of whether the wood is strong. Many of PRECorp’s older poles are

still sound, and meet strength requirements for non-replacement. A small percentage of the newer poles have suffered damage within a decade of being set. Some aspects that can threaten the life of a pole include deep gouges in the pole from equipment, vehicles or other factors; the type of soil where it is set; extreme weather damage from the wind and sun; and, untreated holes where crossarms or insulators are attached. PRECorp’s pole testing program attempts to enhance reliability and reduce preventable power outages for PRECorp members. With the proper care, the useful life of a pole can be extended and safety is enhanced for linemen who have to climb the pole during an outage. Under the current program, PRECorp will likely replace approximately 300 poles a year on its system that accounts for more than 185,000 poles.

The section of pole on the left shows no obvious signs of deterioration, but rot is visible when the section is split open as shown on the right.

“Preventative maintenance is better than a ‘fix it when it falls’ approach,” Carter said.

Major aspects of PRECorp’s 2013 maintenance plan: Substation inspections l Line inspections l Pole inspections l Outage analysis




Turkey Shoot helps Hulett community By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing and Communications Specialist

With their sponsorships of the 2013 Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot, the Powder River Energy Foundation and PRECorp are giving a shot-inthe-arm to community development activities in Hulett, Wyoming. The two organizations provide sponsorship money and materials to the Turkey Shoot to boost the funds raised for the ongoing expenses of the Greater Hulett Community Center (GHCC). The event, scheduled for May 9, 10, and 11, in Hulett, raises money for the GHCC and Wyoming Wildlife – The Foundation. The town rescued the 61-year-old building, formerly the Hulett school, from demolition in 2007. The community has since repurposed the structure for a variety of community organizations and events. One of the main reasons for saving it was the gymnasium where community functions could be held such as banquets, weddings, and funerals. The 2013 PRECorp Annual Meeting will be held at the GHCC on Saturday, August 24. The Hulett Public Library and Hulett Town Hall are also located in the building.

How you can participate: Participation in the 2013 Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot is by invitation only on private land, but there is a chance for someone from the general public to get a shot at a turkey this year. Sundance Destination Imagination, PRECorp and the PRECorp Foundation are selling raffle tickets for a guided hunt during the event. Tickets at $10 each or $40 for a book of five. Stop by any PRECorp office to purchase a raffle ticket. There is also a consolation opportunity to have your name drawn for a commemorative knife, gun case, and Yeti cooler. The deadline to enter is March 30.

Destination Imagination There are four teams in the Sundance area enrolled in the Destination Imagination program. Participants are challenged to solve open-ended problems and devise creative solutions for a team of judges. A state competition is held in Casper in April, and an international competition is going to be held in Knoxville, Tennessee, in May. Funds raised from the Turkey Shoot raffle and other fundraisers pay for dues, travel and supplies for the competitions.

One of the most popular reasons for saving the building is that it holds so many memories because it was a school for so many people. An important tenant is the Hulett Public Library which hosts several meetings and programs. Athletic tournaments, the Turkey Shoot, and large-group conferences are also regulars in the building. There is also a wonderful display in the hallway honoring our veterans. Funding from the Turkey Shoot helps the GHCC board budget for utility costs and capital improvements to enhance the offerings of the facility. Wyoming Wildlife – The Foundation Wyoming Wildlife – The Foundation funds projects that benefit threatened game and non-game species that are in decline. WWTF gives money for research, education, and projects that improve habitat and water quality by enhancing the land and water to sustain and manage wildlife. The WWTF also funds conservation and education projects for youth to consider careers in the great outdoors. For more information go to:


PRECorp needs to know your primary phone number By Tim Velder, PRECorp Marketing and Communications Specialist

When Powder River Energy employees need to contact members about service problems, billing questions, planned outages, or safety issues, the information can be delivered more quickly when they have a current phone number on file. As people change residences, or turn off land-line telephones for cellular phones, their contact information can quickly become outdated. Your primary contact phone number for your account is printed on the payment stub at the bottom of your billing statement. This number can be a home phone, a cell phone, a business phone - or all three. PRECorp representatives rely upon these primary numbers, especially during emergencies.


If the phone numbers shown on your statement are incorrect, please share the preferred telephone numbers you would like PRECorp to use. Powder River Energy WILL NOT sell or share these numbers with other organizations. Our automated notification system will let you know about planned outages or reasons for an outage, as well as other important information from PRECorp. These updates could also be sent via e-mail, to keep you informed about PRECorp’s operations. If you would like to take care of your phone number update right now, fill in the form on this page. You can mail this with your bill payment, drop it off at our office, or call Member Service at 1-800-442-3630 during business hours.

Member Information update form

Please help us keep updated contact information for your account. Name _________________________________________________________________________ Home Phone ____________________________ Cell Phone ____________________________ Best number to reach you during a power outage: ___________________________________ Work Phone (daytime) ___________________________________________________________ E-mail address __________________________________________________________________ You can mail this with your bill payment, drop it off at our office, or call Member Service at 1-800-442-3630 during business hours.




PRECorp Board approves bylaw changes By PRECorp Marketing and Communications

As Powder River Energy Corporation adopts its new vision and mission, the Board of Directors is making it possible for PRECorp to sell wholesale power. Part of the new vision states, “PRECorp will be an innovative leader through growth in territory, services, and membership.” The PRECorp Board of Directors approved changes to its

bylaws to lay the groundwork for this vision. The major change is the creation of a Class C member and a new seat on the PRECorp Board. The language enables PRECorp to make wholesale power transactions. See the updated bylaws at or, pick up a printed copy at any PRECorp office.

Notes to remember for line, pole safety By PRECorp Marketing and Communications

What should you do if you’re driving a tractor or other large piece of equipment and you become tangled in an overhead power line? • First, don’t climb out. Unless you’re in immediate danger, stay where you are and summon help. • Most utility lines are not insulated, just bare wires. Do not let your body become a direct link between the power line and the ground. • If you must leave the tractor or piece of equipment, jump as far away as you can, making sure that no part of your body touches the machinery and the ground at the same time. • Once you’re off the vehicle, do not go back until your local lineman disconnects the power line.

How can you avoid a mishap with a power line or power pole? • Look over work areas carefully for overhead power lines and utility poles. • Make sure there are ample overhead and side clearances from power lines and poles when driving and turning large machinery such as combines, lifts, excavators, or front-end loaders. • When stacking or moving items, look up and be aware existing power lines. The area beneath the power line is a designated right of way. Do not store anything beneath the line. This could render that area a fire hazard if a line goes down; and, impedes PRECorp linemen who are responding to an outage. • Be extra careful when working around trees and brush that often obstruct power lines and poles. • Train all workers on how to properly operate machinery near overhead power lines.

Call One-Call of Wyoming at 1-800-849-2476 at least two business days before you intend to dig.


PRECorp giving...

Continued from Page 1

The Foundation has awarded more than $90,000 to 50-plus community organizations since 2007. In 2012 the Foundation donated approximately $24,000 to 25 organizations in all five PRECorp counties.







Examples of Foundation support include, the Weston County Library Bookmobile program, the CAM-Plex Arts in the Community programs, Johnson County YMCA, CHAPS Equine Assisted Therapy, Sundance Kid’s Daycare Reading Readiness, and many more.


and wellness programs such as hospice, senior living facilities, and wellness fairs. Education, arts, and youth were supported in the form of community theater productions, youth activities, advocacy and resource centers, and post-prom parties. Economic development support recipients included chambers of commerce, community events, and downtown associations. Physical and substance abuse relief support services include RENEW, the Volunteers of America, and Crook County Family Violence. Capital and civic improvement donations include giving to historic associations, community buildings, and donations for improvements to services or the buildings that house those services.

Community support doesn’t stop with financial donations, PRECorp employees volunteer in their communities. They are Salvation Army Bell ringers, Habitat for Humanity builders, Little League coaches, church singers, and event organizers. PRECorp employees are very involved in public service in their respective communities. Members interested in supporting the PRECorp Foundation, can do so by signing up for the Operation RoundUp program. Call a Member Service Representative at 1-800442-3630, go online at, or check the blue box on your next bill. There is another way you can help the Foundation: Whenever PRECorp retires Capital Credits, members receive a check or bill credit for their share of the retirement. Members can donate that money to the Foundation with the option of donating all future Capital Credits to the Foundation.

OPERATION Nonprofit organizations


PRECorp also awards at least five scholarships funded by unclaimed capital credits, one for each county each year. The PRECorp Foundation, through the generosity of Tony and Julie Swanda family scholarship, awards a scholarship to a Crook County high school student planning to study agriculture.

® interested in requesting sponsorships or donations should contact PRECorp Marketing Communications at 1-800-442-3630 or email


PRECorp Mission Powder River Energy, your electric cooperative, will deliver high quality, competitively-priced electric power and services enhancing the quality of life by providing leadership and service in our communities. 8 to our member-owners, P R E C O R P while NEW S

CEO Straight Talk

Str a The tegic me s

Internal Processes



Do you recall my article from last month that paralyzed our nation is based upon this either/ described PRECorp’s Strategy Map? If so, I or thinking. hope you found it helpful to understand our I believe our strength, the realization of our PRECorp will be an innovative leader through growthand in territory, services, Mission and Vision the Strategy thatand we membership. We will be strategically aligned as we purpose, and the fuel for strive our passion, lies in increase economies of scale, leverage opportunities for diversification, and improve team engagement. We will to influence use to realize that vision. I think it is interest“both/and” thinking. Webe can bothofhighregulation and political policies at all levels of government through involvement of our stakeholders. We will anhave example ing to note that the articles in this month’s excellence to our cooperative network and will be the electrical power service provider, and employer of choice in theelectric region.powquality and competitively -priced PRECorp news fall under each of the Strategic er and services, we can improve the quality of M4. Themes in ourM2. Strategy Map. These were That provide M1. M3.the life by providing service PRECorp is aboth good leadership aand truly PRECorp’s rates are fairMemberPRECorp At PRECorp my voice is grey boxes between the Perspective is easy to do corporate citizen and leads in our communities. cooperative and competitive heard with and the Internal Process Perspective business as shown by example member experience on the diagram. Our theme areas for our straLet’s go back to our roots and the very reategic objectives are Member and Community son for our existence that our founders disF3. our formation. Here F1. F2. Ensuring Engagement, Sustainable Growth, and Operacerned during you will Retire Capital Credits Distribution Manage Wholesale Power Cost stewardship m i kControl e eas l e y , Operating Costs tional Excellence. see a strong and unyielding passion to make and financial CEO strength our communities even MEMBER AND COMMUNITY OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABLE better places ENGAGEMENT EXCELLENCE GROWTH to live. The P1. P5. electricity that was brought to rural WyoP9. Member connectivity through Thediversification article on Pole TestSeek Maintain financial stability ming then, and now, is an essential element innovation, education, loadunder mix our Opering of falls communication to our quality of life. ational Excellence Theme, P7. Bylaw P2. P3. the article on the Electricity feeds us when we cook with it, it P6. P11. To Maxmize Support Maintain P10. Amendment falls under our keeps us warm in winter and cool in summer, Expand Leverage successfully engagement and proactively Achieve economies technology deliver the Sustainable Growth it entertains with Theme, encourage balanced excellence in us as it powers our entertainment Strategic of scope and to drive political regulatory and the Articlewholesale on Concern core business systems, and it saves lives by running our medProcesses scale efficiencies power supply relevancy framework for Community falls under ical facilities. It helps our kids learn. The coopour Member and Community erative model of neighbors helping neighbors, P12. Maintain P4. Support and Engagement Theme. It is easy made an incredible amount of sense when this P8. Manage risk of competitive and fair rates develop community stranded to see how weinvestment strive for aligncooperative was created, and I think it makes for all resources ment in our strategies and what even more sense today and into our future. T1. it isT2.we do. T3. T4. of asuccession cooperative is cooperation. Maximize Team Alignment We will This Appropriately Deploy Achieve a greater Team At the heart Embrace empower with Strategy and Right nowBased many of understanding you might of bebenefits calls usplanning, Directive and Team knowledge to do more for you than just provide a our Team Execution Leadership and these compensation transfer, and thinking to yourself: “Mike, are commodity. Ourretention business model depends on really interesting things, but why don’t the Seven Cooperative Principles outlined on Keeping Members First • Sustainable Growth • Competitive Rates and High Quality Service you just focus on keeping the lights on the first page of this month’s PRECorp GuidedNews. Support and Develop the PRECorp Team • Enhancing the Quality of Life of our Members by what and the power costs low?” This was a question matters and These principles, vibrant communities, that we asked ourselves during our preparamost Safety • Integrity • Innovation • Accountability • Commitment Community engagedto(and informed) members-owners are tion for our August 2012 strategic retreat, and both the reason for our successful past and the I am sure it is one that we will continue to ask. key to our future. The value of your cooperaThe short answer is that we do not live in an tive is in both providing power, and in making “either/or” world, it is much more complex our communities an even better place to be. than that. Take what is currently happening in Washington, D.C. The partisanship that has PRECorp Mission

Powder River Energy, your electric cooperative, will deliver high quality, competitively-priced electric power and services to our member-owners, while enhancing the quality of life by providing leadership and service in our communities.

M1. At PRECorp my voice is heard

M2. PRECorp’s rates are fair and competitive

F2. Manage Wholesale Power Cost

F3. Retire Capital Credits




Internal Processes

P1. Member connectivity through innovation, education, communication

P2. Support and encourage political relevancy

P5. Seek diversification of load mix

P3. Maintain proactively balanced regulatory framework

P6. Expand economies of scope and scale


People and Team Culture

P4. Support and develop community resources


M4. PRECorp is a good corporate citizen and leads by example

M3. PRECorp is easy to do business with

F1. Control Distribution Operating Costs

T1. Maximize Team Alignment with Strategy and Execution

P7. Maxmize engagement with wholesale power supply

Keeping Members First • Sustainable Growth

T3. Achieve a greater Team understanding of benefits and compensation

P11. Leverage technology to drive efficiencies

T4. Embrace succession planning, knowledge transfer, and retention


• Accountability • Commitment to Community


We will empower our Team

• Competitive Rates and High Quality Service

• Enhancing the Quality of Life of our Members


To successfully deliver the Strategic Processes

P12. Maintain competitive and fair rates for all

Support and Develop the PRECorp Team •

Ensuring stewardship and financial strength

P9. Maintain financial stability

P10. Achieve excellence in core business

P8. Manage risk of stranded investment

T2. Appropriately Deploy Directive and Team Based Leadership

That provide a truly cooperative member experience

Guided by what matters most



People and Team Culture



PRECorp will be an innovative leader through growth in territory, services, and membership. We will be strategically aligned as we increase economies of scale, leverage opportunities for diversification, and improve team engagement. We will strive to influence regulation and political policies at all levels of government through involvement of our stakeholders. We will be an example of excellence to our cooperative network and will be the electrical power service provider, and employer of choice in the region.


Regular business: 1-800-442-3630 • Report an outage: 1-888-391-6220