April Cooperative Connections PDF Version

Page 1

West River Electric

April 2019 Vol. 19 No. 12

Keeping Calm When Things Go Wrong Page 8

All-of-theAbove Strategy Meets Demand Page 12


To Review Your Usage Check Out Our

Smart-hub Application

I am hoping that by the time you get this issue of Cooperative Connections that the weather will have moderated. You all know how brutal the temperatures have been. It harkens me back to the days when I grew up in north central SD and the cold would come early and never leave.

Dick Johnson dick.johnson@westriver.coop

The cause of increased bills is possibly due to brutal temperatures.

I am making the brave assumption that all of you that were on service in 2018 noticed the bill credit on your last statement. The Board approved giving back $750,000 from our 2018 margins on your March bills. Most of the margins were from our past year’s revenue deferral fund of $650,000 with an additional amount of $111,000 our cooperative power supplier gave back to us as a bill credit. We met all of our various financial requirements from our lenders, so we decided what a better way to show cooperative membership; you provided the revenue, we gave back any excess revenue over our expenses for 2018. When this bill credit was approved, we also discussed our rates for 2019. We reviewed the budget our finance department had presented back in December. We show we will have a margin without doing anything to our rates. After a lot of careful consideration, we could not lower the rates, but we wouldn’t need to do any rate adjustments either. You may recall, I have talked in past years about doing a 5-year rate strategy where we raised the base charge slightly each year while trying to lower the kWh charge so that the “normal” user would not see much of an increase. We have raised the base charge each of the last 4 years. This would have been the last year of our 5-year rate strategy. However, after reviewing our budget for 2019, the Board moved to forgo the last year of the rate strategy and not do anything to the current rates. That is great news for our members. If your bill increases, it is probably because of an increase in your usage, not our rates! These are 2 pieces of good news I get to deliver. The last few years have made all of us what I term “rate weary”. The power of cooperative membership shown again; we only charge what we need to run the business and give back any excess revenues to our membership. I am sure most of you have had “sticker” shock the last couple of months with your bills. We received our preliminary kWh purchases, and they were a record for the cooperative. Here is a good chance to check out our Smart Hub application on pages 10-11. The app will track your usage every day, even by the hour. When our member service personnel get phone calls, many times when they review what the members have running, it comes back to small electric space heaters that are used for supplemental heat. We love them for the sales, but you are not going to like them when you get your bill. We also see many of our rural members plugging in pickups and tractors during this cold time. They also consume a large amount of electricity. Contact one of our member services personnel and they can walk you through a quick audit of what many of these appliances use. They can also do a walk-through energy audit or will do a complete energy audit using a special blower door and devices to track where issues could be in your 4335600 house causing excess heating. As I say every spring, activity outside ramps up. Please work safely when you are doing your spring work. We love to have our members back every day.


Cooperative Connections | April 2019

Rubber Gloving is important when working the lines hot.

COMMITMENT OF A LINEMAN Lineman Appreciation Day is April 8 Veronica Kusser veronica.kusser@westriver.coop

Studies rank power line workers among the most dangerous jobs, and for good reason. Laboring high in the air wearing heavy equipment and working directly with high voltage creates the perfect storm of a dangerous and unforgiving profession. But electric lineworkers are up to the task. These brave men and women are committed to safety, as well as the challenges of the job. West River Electric’s lineworkers are responsible for keeping power flowing day and night, regardless of holidays, vacations, birthdays, anniversaries or other important family milestones. Beyond the year of specialized training and apprenticeships, it takes internal determination and grit to be a good lineworker. This service-oriented mentality is a characteristic of lineworkers. The job requires lineworkers to set aside their personal priorities to serve their local community.

co-op lineworkers’ mission of helping others often extends beyond their commitment to their work at the co-op. Lineworkers are often familiar figures in the community. They can be found coaching youth sports teams, volunteering for local charities and serving on local advisory boards. Monday, April 8 is Lineworker Appreciation Day. Given the dedication of West River Electric linemen, both on and off the job, I encourage you to take a moment and acknowledge the many contributions they make to our local community. Working the lines hot is an art.

To perform their jobs successfully, lineworkers depend on their years of training, experience 11129700 and each other to get the job done safely. Equally important is their reliance on a strong support system at home. A lineworker’s family understands and supports their loved one’s commitment to the community they live in during storms and power outages. Without strong family support and understanding, this challenging job would be all the more difficult. In Western South Dakota and across the country, electric April 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Protect Your Family According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical cords and temporary wiring account for more than 25 percent of the estimated 81,000 electrical system fires that occur each year. These fires can be prevented by following these essential home electrical safety tips.

Always Call Before You Dig.

Extension cord safety Don’t use extension cords as a substitute for repairing building wiring. Inspect extension cords for broken connectors, damaged insulation and missing hardware before each use. Do not run extension cords through walls, over beams, around corners or through doorways. Only use extension cords approved for the environment and loads expected. Equip extension cords with ground fault interruption (GFI) devices. Don’t use coiled extension cords. Discard damaged extension cords; don’t try to repair them. Use only surge protected power strips. Inspect the power strips regularly for damage or signs of overloading.

Temporary wiring Don’t substitute temporary and flexible wiring for repairing building wiring. Use temporary wiring only when needed for maintenance, repair or demolition activities. Limit temporary wiring for holiday or ornamental lighting to no more than 90 days. In outdoor settings, use only outdoor approved temporary wiring and extension cords. Don’t route temporary wiring across floors, around doors or through walls. Locate temporary wiring at least 7 feet above any walking or working surface. Protect temporary wiring from sharp edges, heat and sunlight to avoid breakdown of the insulation.

One easy call gets your utility lines marked and helps protect you from injury and expense. Safe Digging Is No Accident: Always Call 811 Before You Dig

Visit call811.com for more information.


Equipment power cords Inspect equipment cords for damage before each use. Don’t operate equipment cords without a ground connection unless they are double insulated. Don’t splice equipment cords to repair damage or to extend the original length.

Safeguards to install Inspect all electrical appliances to ensure they’re properly grounded. Write the purpose of each circuit breaker, fuse or switch on the panel board. Label all disconnecting switches and circuit breakers. Source: nationwide.com 4

Cooperative Connections | April 2019

“Do not use cords with bare spots.” RosaLee Masson, 8 years old

RosaLee is the grand-daughter of Steve and Ruby Niklason, Bryant, S.D. They are members of Codington-Clark Electric Cooperative, Watertown, S.D. Kids, send your drawing with an electrical safety tip to your local electric cooperative (address found on Page 3). If your poster is published, you’ll receive a prize. All entries must include your name, age, mailing address and the names of your parents. Colored drawings are encouraged.


Appetizers and Beverages Orange Glazed Turkey Meatballs

Hot Chicken Dip 3 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, 1 (4 oz.) can sliced softened

jalepenos, chopped

2 (10 oz.) cans chicken breast, drain 1 can

1 can cream of chicken soup

Mix together and heat in microwave or crock pot. Serve warm with any snack crackers or scoop chips. Nancy Stenson, Fort Pierre, SD

Crab Roll-Ups 2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese 1 pkg. frozen crab meat, thawed 1/2 to 1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix 1 pkg. large flour tortilla shells Melt cream cheese in microwave until soft enough to stir; mix in ranch dressing mix. Cut up crab meat into small pieces; mix with cream cheese. Spread over tortilla shells and roll up. Refrigerate 1 hour. Cut into 1-inch slices. Store in refrigerator.

1 egg

1 lb. ground turkey

1/4 cup milk

1 T. olive oil

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tsp. salt

1 cup orange marmalade

1/2 tsp. McCormick® Poultry 1 T. white wine vinegar Seasoning 1 pinch McCormick® Red 1/4 tsp. McCormick® Black Pepper, Ground Pepper, Ground Beat egg and milk in large bowl. Stir in bread crumbs, salt, poultry seasoning and pepper. Add ground turkey; mix well. Cover. Refrigerate 1 hour. Shape into 1-inch meatballs. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Place meatballs in single layer in skillet. Cook until well browned on all sides. Remove meatballs from skillet. Set aside. Mix orange marmalade, broth, vinegar and red pepper in skillet on medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring to release browned bits in bottom of skillet. Return meatballs to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and sauce has reduced to glaze consistency. Makes 15 (2 meatball) servings. Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 123, Total Fat 3g, Protein 7g, Cholesterol 37mg, Sodium 245mg, Carbohydrates 17g

Patricia Cerny, Gregory, SD

Rise and Shine Smoothies 1 cup fresh strawberries

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1 banana

2 T. honey

1 ripe mango

1 cup ice cubes

1/4 cup orange juice Wash and hull strawberries. Peel banana and cut into chunks. Pit, peel and slice mango. In a blender, combine all ingredients, blending until smooth. Pour into glasses. Makes 2 servings.

Pictured, Cooperative Connections

Cappuccino Mix 1 cup coffee creamer

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup chocolate drink mix

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2/3 cup coffee crystals

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients. Add 3 tsp. mix to 1 cup hot water. Verna Nelson, Wakonda, SD

Eileen Holzerland, Waubay, SD

Cocktail Weiners 1 cup brown sugar

1/3 to 1/2 cup grape jelly

1 cup ketchup

2 pkgs. cocktail smokies

Combine all ingredients; simmer on low heat. Linda Rauscher, Aberdeen, SD

Please send your favorite casserole, dairy or dessert recipes to your local electric cooperative (address found on Page 3). Each recipe printed will be entered into a drawing for a prize in June 2019. All entries must include your name, mailing address, phone number and co-op name. April 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Bend Sunday School in 1915

BEND, SD “The Good Old Days” Veronica Kusser veronica.kusser@westriver.coop

Where is (was) Bend, SD. Near as I can tell it looks as though it was located west of Viewfield in southwestern Meade County, north and a little east of Ellsworth AFB, SD. In 1886 the members of the community in this area were delighted to find out that they would soon have a post office where they could get the news of the day and their mail would be delivered nearby.

Captain Howes was the first postmaster to the Bend Post Office. The post office was housed in his home, and named after a bend in the creek at the location. Twice a week the mail came from Piedmont and was kept at the Bend post office for the people to come and pick up. Captain Howes was the postmaster until 1899 when he moved away and the post office was moved around to several locations. Many postmasters served the Bend Post Office, but it was always located within a couple of miles of the original location. Several of the postmasters housed groceries in their homes for the people to be able to get staples close by. The postmaster was paid by the number of canceled stamps. Back in the early 1900’s, they were getting 2 cents a letter, so as you can tell it wasn’t a profitable business to be in.


Cooperative Connections | April 2019

Big Red Bend School in 1919

There was a larger population in the Bend area in the early 1900’s than there is today. They traveled by foot, horseback, buggy or wagons to get their mail and receive the latest news about the neighbors. People ordered by mail back in the day, Sears Roebuck was a popular catalog to order from. Newspapers were scarce, but some did subscribe to keep up with what was going on back home (meaning where they homesteaded from). In 1911 the mail route changed, the mail started to come from Box Elder, a much closer location, which allowed them to get news three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Mail was picked up from the Bend Post Office when it was convenient for the patrons of the USPS. Because the post office was in the home of the postmaster, it was open at all times for people to stop by and stay for a visit. The last Bend Post Mark was dated January 30, 1941 by Mrs. Mabel Smith. Mail would be delivered by a carrier route from then on. The Bend Social Club was started in October of 1915. What is a Social Club? The Bend social club filled many roles of need in the community. During World War 1 they sewed for the Red Cross, social events were planned, they did quilting, and made gowns for the Sioux Falls Children’s Home. The Bend Social Club dissolved in 1922, but prior to that they had a long list of members who paid dues of .25 cents per year.

The Bend Hall was built in or around 1890-91. With the addition of the Bend Hall, the community organized the Literary Society. They held their 1st recorded meeting in December 1891. They held meetings once a month. These meetings were family outings where they

Bend, a quiet community on the prairie of Western South Dakota. had an organized program of songs and recitations in addition to debate. They were given topics to debate on. Some of the said topics were “does wealth cause more crime than being poverty stricken,” “a bachelor’s life is a failure,” “a woman is intellectually superior to a man,” “the movement of artificial rain is detrimental to the country,” “should we have restrictions on immigration,” and “should the President of the United States be chosen by popular vote of the people”. The group absolved in October of 1894. From all accounts it appears that the society had editors and sent out a newsletter called the Elk Creek Boomerang. The area had Sunday School and Church, from around 1910 into the 1940’s


sometime. Sunday school was held each week during the summer and fall months. Church was held when they could get a minister to come out, generally from Rapid City. They used to meet at the Red School House, at the Bend Hall or at the home of one of the Homesteaders. Some of the pastors that came to the area over the years were W.L. Hood, JN Strain, McAuley, Corbett, LG Lockwood, Rew Walz, J.B. Stahl, and Curtis Winkle. There was quite a bunch of members from the community that came together to celebrate the word. They came dressed in their Sunday best and would stay for a potluck picnic before returning home to do chores.

Bend School started sometime before 1891, and was known as the red school, because it was covered with red tin. The red school was used up until 1928 when a new school was built. The school served students thru the 8th grade. The school taught 2 to 3 terms each year depending on the weather and the availability of teachers. In the 1890’s a teacher would receive around $30.00 a month, and as time went on, the wages increased. In 1929 the Bend School closed and the students were transported to Douglas School at Ellsworth Air Force Base where they could attend thru high school. The neighbors in the Bend area claimed these were “The Good Old Days”.

First Bend Post Office in 1886

April 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Planting season brings reminders for the importance to keep equipment away from power lines.

KEEPING CALM Know the Steps if an Accident Occurs Brenda Kleinjan editor@sdrea.coop

In the spring of 2017, an operations manager of a cooperative in western South Dakota cooperative got a call from a member. There had been an accident and the member’s tractor was now resting against two broken poles which were supporting an energized 115-kilovolt line. Even though the power line did not ultimately belong to the cooperative, it served to illustrate an on-going concern: accidents between agriculture equipment and power lines appeared to be on the rise. Cooperatives have engaged in educational efforts to inform people what to do to first avoid the accident and secondly what steps to take if an accident occurs. The first thing to keep in mind is to avoid the accident. Know the height of your equipment, the width of your equipment and the location of various electric facilities that should be avoided. Then, make sure that all involved are taking the steps to avoid having equipment come in contact with electric utilities. 8

Cooperative Connections | April 2019

A 2017 planting season accident in western South Dakota broke the poles of a 115-kV line which stayed energized.

But if an accident does happen, knowing the steps to take could save your life and those around you. If your equipment does come in contact with a power line:

The member immediately called the cooperative and stayed inside the cab of the tractor. Thankfully, a fire did not start so the member did not have to exit and hop away.

Accidents involving underground cabinets – commonly called the green boxes – have Wait for electric crews to clear the also been occurring as equipment gets area and keep others away from the wider. And, the sheer volume of snow accident scene. accumulation that occurred in the winter of 2018-2019 If the equipment resulted in several catches fire and one cabinets being hit must exit the cab, If an accident does or buried during there’s a process to happen, knowing the snow removal follow, too. operations. steps to take could “Tuck your arms The equipment up and give save your life and housed in the yourself a bear those around you. cabinets is hug and hop clear. energized and can Don’t touch the pose the same equipment and the issues that occur when equipment contacts ground at the same time. Then hop away,” overhead lines. said Courtney Deinert, communications director at Central Electric Cooperative in In either case, the best option is to prevent Mitchell, S.D. the accident from occurring by being aware of the location of the equipment. One of Central Electric’s members was But, if an accident does occur, call your involved in an incident involving a grain local electric cooperative, stay inside the cart and a power line on a farm near vehicle’s cab and keep others away from Mitchell. The auger of the grain cart the scene until co-op crews arrive. became entangled in the lines. Stay inside the cab and call 911.



When it’s go-time, it’s go-time. We understand that every second counts during planting season, but taking a moment to be mindful of safety during this anxious time could save you a lot of heartache in the long run. Remember to check your equipment, be aware of power lines, keep your cellphone on you at all times, dress appropriately and stay rested this spring.

Together we are

FAR M SA FE T Y A Northern Electric Facebook post from October discussed an accident in Spink County where the operator took the right steps after being involved in an accident with an overhead line. April 2019 | Cooperative Connections



You are able to look at the monthly usage History through Smarthub.

WHAT IS SMARTHUB How Do I Get Signed Up For It? Veronica Kusser

Sign up to access our Self Service site hyperlink. veronica.kusser@westriver.coop

Create a New Account With SmartHub Web, you can pay your bills, manage the bank and card information for stored payment methods, view your usage, report problems with your service, contact your provider, and more. Getting started is easy. If you don’t already have online access to your account, you can quickly sign up for it. This document shows you how.

2. Enter your Account Number with your provider. 3. Enter the last name or business name associated with that account. 4. Enter a valid email address. This will become your username.

Register for an Account 1. From the SmartHub login page, https://westriver. smarthub.coop/Login.html#, click the New User? 5. Click the Submit button


Cooperative Connections | April 2019


West River Electric Association, Inc. Statement of Nondiscrimination

6. Enter the security information required by your provider. Note: Security information may vary. You can be asked for a variety of verification information. Examples include: • Last bill amount • Last 4 digits of your Social Security Number • Birthday (Month and Day) • Security Question and Answer • Billing ZIP Code 7. Type the characters displayed in the security picture. 8. Click the Submit button. A Registration Complete alert appears. SmartHub also sends a temporary password to the email address just provided. 9. Click OK. 10. Check your email and get the temporary password.

11. From the SmartHub login 10499200 screen, enter your email address as your username and the new temporary password. 12. Click the Login button. Your account is created and you are free to access SmartHub and all its features. If you have any questions concerning how to get signed up for SmartHub, contact us at 605-393-1500 or 279-2135. You can stop in either the Wall or Rapid City office for assistance in getting signed up.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/ parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Person with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape , American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202)720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800)877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/ complaint_ filing_cust.html and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1)

mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;




email: program.intake@usda.gov

(202) 690-7442; or

WREA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. April 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Extreme cold temperatures put the components of wind towers at risk of failure, which is the reason many wind towers in North Dakota and South Dakota shut down at the end of January.

POWERING THROUGH WINTER Extreme Cold Requires An ‘All of the Above’ Approach to Meet Demand for Electricity Ben Dunsmoor bdunsmoor@northernelectric.coop

Weather stations installed on wind turbines automatically shut down the wind tower when temperatures drop to 22 degrees F below zero. Those temperatures put the components of the wind tower at risk of failure.


The record-setting cold and snow in South Dakota this winter led to record demand for power. The cold snap also highlighted the need for the continued use of coal and natural gas generation as many wind generators in the region had to be shut down as a result of the frigid weather. Extreme cold descended into the Upper Midwest in January and didn’t release its grip for several weeks. East River Electric Power Cooperative in Madison, S.D., which supplies wholesale power to 24 rural electric cooperatives and one municipally owned system in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota, experienced an all-time record peak for electric demand on Jan. 29 and 30. Wind chills dipped to 20 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit below zero during that time period.

in Bismarck, N.D., as well as hydropower from the Western Area Power Administration. Basin Electric owns and operates the coal, gas, diesel and wind generation resources needed to meet the demand of member co-ops located in nine states in the middle of the United States. “Basin Electric is your cooperative,” said Dave Raatz, Basin Electric senior vice president of asset management, resource planning and rates. “We are trying to do what we can to ensure everyone has the appropriate power so they do have the ability to have the electric heat and they do have the ability to have electricity at the house.”

“The East River system performed well under these extreme weather conditions with very few issues,” said East River General Manager/CEO Tom Boyko.

Basin Electric had plans in place to meet the demand of co-op members during the extreme cold in January and February despite the challenges the frigid temperatures caused its generation resources. Basin Electric saw many of its wind towers in North Dakota and South Dakota shutdown as a result of cold temperatures and had to rely on natural gas and coal generation as well as market purchases.

Member co-ops of East River Electric depend on a reliable supply of power from Basin Electric Power Cooperative

According to Basin Electric Senior Vice President of Operations John Jacobs, wind towers become brittle and cannot operate

Cooperative Connections | April 2019

CO-OP NEWS during extreme cold. Weather stations installed on each turbine automatically shut down the wind tower when temperatures drop to 22 degrees F below zero. Those temperatures put the components of the wind tower at risk of failure. “The best analogy I can give is a rubber hose,” explained Jacobs. “If you warm it up enough, it will melt. If it gets too cold, it will get too brittle.” That is the reason production from Basin Electric’s wind resources bottomed out in the early morning hours of Jan. 30 when the Bismarck area saw air temperatures of 31 degrees F below zero in North Dakota and the National Weather Service in Aberdeen, S.D., reported record low temperatures of 33 degrees F below zero or lower in Aberdeen, Watertown and Groton. Basin Electric’s fleet of natural gas and coal-fired power plants paired with energy purchases from the market provided co-op members with a reliable supply of electricity during that period. “That’s why we have gas peaking units and you have that coal resource base that just continued operating despite cold weather over the entire area,” Raatz said.

‘All of the Above’ Approach Basin Electric uses an ‘all of the above’ approach to supply electricity to member co-ops throughout South Dakota. Nearly 45 percent of its generation portfolio comes from coal-fired resources while 20 percent comes from natural gas units and another 20 percent from wind generation. Basin Electric is also a member of four power pools, which are large regions of the United States where utilities can buy and sell electricity in the market, and Basin Electric has the contractual transmission rights to more power between these regions.

in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Iowa. Raatz said that regional diversity is just as important to providing reliable power as a diversified generation mix. “That’s so valuable in coming up with a power supply. You don’t necessarily see that cold weather over the whole area,” said Raatz.

“People take electricity for granted. Sometimes that is good because it means we are doing our jobs.” That regional diversity was evident during the cold snap in North Dakota and eastern South Dakota at the end of January. Rushmore Electric Power Cooperative in Rapid City, S.D., which supplies power to eight electric cooperatives in western South Dakota saw higher demand for electricity during those time periods but never saw a record peak like the East River co-ops experienced. During that period, Basin Electric was also able to pull generation from resources in Montana and Wyoming because it wasn’t as frigid in those states. Raatz said load management programs

which control water heaters, grain bin fans and other large loads during peak demand periods are also a piece of the power-supply puzzle. Raatz said the team at Basin Electric which forecasts electric demand can rely on members who have load management devices installed at their service locations to make those peaks less extreme. “As you get into these types of conditions when it gets really cold, it is easier to predict because load management is taking out the spikes. It is really valuable,” Raatz said.

Maintaining Reliability The main goal of electric cooperatives is to provide safe and reliable power for members at the end of the line. Jacobs said it takes a dedicated team of co-op employees to achieve that mission whether it is the operators at Basin Electric’s power plants or the co-op linemen at the local level. “We see the importance of having to turn on that (light) switch because most of the time when the weather is bad, our employees are at work,” said Jacobs. “There is a reason for what we do and a good feeling when you walk away.” And when the Great Plains and Upper Midwest experiences extreme weather, the goal of maintaining reliability becomes even more important. “People take electricity for granted,” Raatz said. “Sometimes that is good because it means we are doing our jobs.”

“It is a combination of all those owned-assets and market purchases that come to bear to serve member load obligations,” Raatz said. Basin Electric generates electricity for 141 electric co-ops in nine states and has power plants and resources April 2019 | Cooperative Connections






Metering Foreman

Byron Frank graduated from Gregory High School in 1985. He then attended school at SDSU in Brookings for Animal Science before choosing to attend Mitchell Vocational Technical School for Powerline Construction and Maintenance graduating in 1987.

Service Technician

Tyson Gunn graduated from Wall High School in 2002. He then attended Mitchell Technical 195900 Institute in Mitchell, SD for Powerline Construction and Maintenance graduating in 2003.

Byron worked for Bon HommeYankton Electric in Tabor until February of 1993 when he made the change and moved west of the river. He received his Journeyman while working with Bon Homme. He worked as a Journeyman until just a month ago when he was promoted to Metering Foreman upon the retirement of Ross Johnson.

Tyson began work for West River Electric Association as an Apprentice Lineman in 2003. He received his Journeyman in July of 2009. He has enjoyed his time climbing poles, restoring power in outage situations, and building new line to energize the members at the end of the line. With the promotion of Byron Frank, an opportunity presented itself and Tyson has accepted the position of Service Technician helping with metering.

Byron is excited to work more closely with our members on metering for the Coop.

Congratulations and Best of Luck to these two gentlemen.


West River Electric will sponsor area students to the South Dakota Rural Electric Youth Excursion. This four-day event will be headquartered out of Bismarck, North Dakota. Young people attending the excursion will learn about the basics of cooperatives, how the region’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives work together and the career opportunities available at the cooperatives. The trip promises to provide an opportunity to meet new friends from other rural electric cooperatives across South Dakota. Students will tour the Great Plains Synfuels Plant, Coteau Properties Freedom Coal Mine, Antelope Valley Station Power Plant and a drive thru the 40-mw Wilton Wind Farm north of Bismarck. Evenings will be spent swimming, 9894101 dancing, taking a cruise, shopping and making friends. All area high school freshman, sophomores and juniors whose parents or guardians are members of WREA are eligible to enter. Students will be picked up Monday morning, July 22, and will arrive back home Thursday, July 25. The trip is funded by WREA except for personal/ shopping money. Fill out the form and return by May 23 to have your name put into the selection process. 14

Cooperative Connections | April 2019

Name_____________________Male_____Female____ Parent or Guardian _____________________________ Address______________________________________ City______________________State_____Zip_______ Telephone_____________T-Shirt Size_____ Age_____ School Attending________________Grade__________ Send to West River Electric Association, Youth Excursion, PO Box 3486, Rapid City, SD 57709. For more information regarding the Youth Excursion contact Veronica Kusser at 605-393-1500 or e-mail veronica. kusser@westriver.coop.



#218 Bucket Truck

West River Electric has the following item for sale by sealed bid. Bids will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Wednesday April 10, 2019 Please include the item number when bidding. Sealed bids can be sent to any WREA office. Item sold “as is”, WREA reserves the right to reject any and all bids.

Item # 218 2005 telelect HR-37 aerial unit on 2011 Dodge 5500 4X4 Chassis, Diesel, 110,000mi. (7,700hours) Bid $_________________ Name


Address_________________________ _________________________

The following vehicle can be seen at our Rapid City office at 3250 E. Hwy 44. Ask for Dwight or Brendan.

Phone Number___________________

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Streaming content with electronic equipment that has earned the ENERGY STAR® rating will use 25 to 30 percent less energy than standard equipment. Source: energy.gov

Our Mission: West River Electric Association, Inc. shall strive to continually improve customer service and satisfaction by providing safe, reliable, efficient and reasonably priced electricity and services, while leading in the development of our community for the well being of our members. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Board President: Andy Moon

Did you change your phone number or email It is important to keep your information updated with West River Electric. We would like to be able to keep you updated on planned outages or other important information that may affect your service. Contact us at 279-2135 or 393-1500 to make changes to your information.

Locate Your Account Number

Board of Directors Stan Anders – Vice President Jamie Lewis – Secretary Larry Eisenbraun – Treasurer Jerry Hammerquist Howard Knuppe Marcia Arneson Chuck Sloan Sue Peters CEO and General Manager: Dick Johnson – dick.johnson@westriver.coop

If you locate your account number anywhere in this issue of the West River Electric Cooperative Connections you will be a winner. There will be five account numbers placed randomly throughout the Connections. If you spot your account number and notify our office before the 10th of the next month, you will receive a $10 credit on your next bill.

West River Electric Office Hours Rapid City Office

Wall Office

3250 E Hwy 44, Rapid City, SD Monday-Friday 7:00 am-5:00 pm 605-393-1500

1200 W 4th Ave, Wall, SD Monday-Friday 7:00 am-5:00 pm 605-279-2135

A night depository is available at both offices for your convenience.

(USPS No. 675-840)

Editor Veronica Kusser – veronica.kusser@westriver.coop WEST RIVER ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS is the monthly publication for the members of West River Electric Association. Members subscribe to Cooperative Connections as part of their electric cooperative membership for $6 a year. West River Electric Cooperative Connections purpose is to provide reliable, helpful information to electric cooperative members on matters pertaining to rural electrification and better living. Nonmember subscriptions are available for $12 per year. Periodicals Postage paid at Wall, S.D., and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to West River Electric Cooperative Connections, PO Box 412 , Wall, SD 57790-0412. Other correspondence to: West River Electric Cooperative Connections, PO Box 3486, Rapid City, SD 57709; telephone (605)393-1500, Exts. 6519, 6517, 6531 or 6522; fax (605)3930275; e-mail veronica.kusser@westriver.coop.

April 2019 | Cooperative Connections



March 22-24

Youth & Family Services Kids Fair, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4115

March 23

Community Indoor Rummage Sale, Rapid Valley United Methodist Church, Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1526 Working Against Violence, Spirit of Peace Beach Ball, Ramkota Convention Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-341-3292

April 15-16: Banff Mountain Film

March 29-31

BH Home Builders Home Show, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-348-7850

March 30

April Fool’s Un-Nature Hike, Outdoor Campus West, Rapid City, SD

April 2

Breaking Benjamin, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

April 5-6

Creative Quilt, Art and Craft Market, BH Quilters Guild, Ramkota Hotel, Rapid City, SD, 719-306-2151

April 5-6

Sound of Music, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Fine Arts Theatre, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

April 6

BH Symphony Orchestra, The Red Curtain, Performing Arts Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1786

April 6-7

Cubfest, Bear Country USA, Rapid City, SD

Festival World Tour, Elks Theatre, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4101 April 10

April 20

May 3

April 13

April 20

May 11

April 13

April 23

May 11

April 13-14

April 26-27, May 3-4, May 10-11

Rain A Tribute to the Beatles, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Fine Arts Theatre, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 Angostura Iron Man, Angostura Reservoir, Hot Springs, SD Good Neighbor Club Banquet, Wall Community Center, Wall, SD 605-754-6768 Dakota Territory Gun Show, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

April 18

First Day of National Park Week, Free Admission All National Parks April 20 only, National Park Service Eggstravaganza, Main Street Square, Rapid City, SD, 605-716-7979 Killer Queen, Performing Arts Center, Rapid City, SD

Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake, Robbinsdale Lanes, Rapid City, SD, 605-343-1488

John Mellencamp, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Fine Arts Theatre, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

April 27

April 19

May 1-5

Red Green, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Fine Arts Theatre, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

Spring City-Wide Yard Sale, Sturgis, SD, sturgisareachamber.com BH Film Festival, Black Hills of SD, blackhillsfilmfestival.org

The Gold Camp Players Present Oliver, Historic Homestake Opera House, Lead, SD, 605-584-2067 Great American Book Festival, Main Street Square, Rapid City, SD, 605-716-7979 Black Hills Coin & Stamp Show, Spearfish Senior Center, Spearfish, SD, 605-717-8375 To have your event listed on this page, send complete information, including date, event, place and contact to your local electric cooperative. Include your name, address and daytime telephone number. Information must be submitted at least eight weeks prior to your event. Please call ahead to confirm date, time and location of event.

Photo courtesy: RJ Ripper Film

March 23

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