February Cooperative Connections

Page 1

West River Electric February 2019 Vol. 19 No. 10

Commanding, Controlling Energy Savings Page 8

A Matter of Territorial Integrity Page 12


Looking forward

2019 Outlook I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I had a great Christmas with family and a few days of “unwind” time. New Year’s was a busy weekend as always with getting projects completed before 2019 (like this column!)

Dick Johnson dick.johnson@westriver.coop

“Very good margins for 2018, thanks to lower power costs.”

For 2018, our kWh sales are about 5% over last year’s. We had very good margins for the year thanks to lower power costs. Along with our own margins, Rushmore Electric surprised us with a bill credit for December. Our final numbers aren’t in yet, but the Board has briefly discussed considering a small bill credit this spring. Currently we have good equity, even with our growth, and we don’t need to allocate margins above normal. We will have a discussion on a bill credit at our January Board meeting after we know what our financials are for 2018. If we do or don’t give a bill credit, we are still a cooperative. Any and all margins, regardless of amount, are allocated back to you, the members of the cooperative. We recently approved our 2019 budget. This year’s budget was not anything at all out of the ordinary. We have some initiatives we hope to add or expand as the year moves forward. Our line construction continues, the new services, new lines to meet the growth, and replacement/upgrades of existing older plant. We are estimating over 300 new services. We have several new apartments in our area under construction that will add 250 new services on top of that. We feel we are very conservative with these numbers, as we have had several developers start larger developments in the greater Rapid City area. If they come to fruition, the number of new services could be doubled! We have planned for seven miles of line rebuild along Middle Alkali Road, 14 miles of line north on Creighton Road, and 9 miles along Hereford Road along with other smaller line rebuilds. We have evaluated our power needs in the Industrial Park north of our Rapid office and may need to add another circuit/upgrade of the line coming in there. We are in the final planning stages for work in our Wall substation. We will be replacing the control house and some controls on the transformer. We have in the plan to add more electronic reclosers around the Airport and Haines subs. These reclosers are expensive but are newer technology that allows better switching when needed. New meters and transformers alone are about $1.4 million. All told, we have about $9.4 million in new line construction planned. That doesn’t include another $700,000 in additional outside operations expenses for things such as tree trimming, pole testing and recloser/regulator repairs. We are replacing an older digger for just shy of $250,000. It takes a lot of money to keep the lights on! We will be adding a couple of new servers to increase storage of data. We have in the budget for the addition of 6 more AED’s (automated external defibrillator) for our service vehicles. Our safety requirements now have AED’s as a new suggested best practice should the unthinkable happen on a job site. We are in a 3 year 10314700 program to place AED’s in all of our vehicles. We have budgeted for an electric car. How many electric cars do you see around the area? Not very many. That is why we feel it is important to be out ahead of the curve on adoption of this technology that has exploded around the country. We feel this will be not only valuable information for our members, but the information from a car will help us in planning on our system as more and more of them are purchased and added to our electric load. It appears it will be a very busy year. And as one of my banking friends tells me, we will have to “whip and spur” to get it all done this year! Have a blessed and prosperous year in 2019.


Cooperative Connections | February 2019

Safety Demonstration at Appreciation Days.

MORE THAN A CUSTOMER You’re a Member Veronica Kusser veronica.kusser@westriver.coop

Author Anthony J. D’Angelo observed that, “Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.” This reflects West River Electric’s philosophy toward our member-owners and the broader service territory that we serve. As a cooperative, we have a different “bottom line.” While our priority is always to provide safe and reliable electricity, there is another equally important part of this equation. Your well-being and that of the larger community that we serve are of paramount concern. To us, you are not just a customer; you are a member of West River Electric and without you, we would not exist. In 1939, West River Electric Association was founded to fulfill a vital need in our community that would not have otherwise been met. Eighty years ago concerned local leaders came together to build this co-op and bring electricity where there was none. At that time, members of the community understood we were different because they likely knew someone who helped to create West River Electric. For most people, our founding and its circumstances have been long forgotten. Over time, folks in the community may have come to think of us as simply another energy provider. But we are not. We are a co-op that is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the communities we serve, and we are able to do this because of members like you. Since our inception, we have sought feedback and engagement from you and that of the larger community to

guide our long-term decisions. This is why we hold annual meetings, appreciation days, tailgating and other events, throughout the year. We host events like this to engage with you and obtain your feedback. We strive to find new ways to help you use energy more efficiently. We’re always looking to explore more options that will help you manage your energy use such as energy audits and walk-thrus, smarthub and EFT (electronic funds transfer). In short, we are always seeking to keep pace with the changing energy environment, evolving technology and shifting consumer expectations. West River Electric members help guide important co-op decisions that improve and enrich the community. We value the perspective of our board members, who are members of the co-op and community – just like you. As a local business, we have a stake in the community. That’s why we support local charitable organizations, and programs like Operation Roundup. When you support these efforts, you are supporting the community and making it a better place for everyone to live. While the times may have changed, our mission and outlook have not. Working together, 2501300 we can accomplish great things for our community now and in the future. We look forward to celebrating 80 years of service with you in 2019. February 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Downed and Dangerous Downed power lines can be deadly. ALWAYS assume a downed power line is live and avoid going near it or anything in contact with it.

Use Precaution Downed power lines can energize the ground up to 35 feet away. If you see a downed power line, immediately notify local authorities. Never drive over downed power lines or through water that is in contact with them. Never try to move a downed power line. Even using items that typically are not conductive will not prevent injury or death.

Know What to Do

The safe way to move away from a downed power line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. If your car comes in contact with a downed power line while you are inside, stay in the car. Do not touch any part of the car’s frame or any other metal. Use a cell phone or honk your horn to summon help. Allow only rescue personnel to approach the car. If your car is in contact with a downed power line and you must exit due to fire or another imminent threat: Do not touch your vehicle and the ground at the same time with any part of your body or clothing. Open the door to your vehicle without touching the metal door frame. Jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and so both feet land at the same time. Shuffle away so that the toe of one foot shuffles forward along the length of the other foot, ensuring that both feet are in constant contact and always touching the ground. If someone comes in contact with a downed power line or something else that has become electrified, call 911 immediately. Never touch someone who has come in contact with a power line. They are energized and pose a danger to anyone who comes in contact with them. Remember power lines don’t have to fall in order to be dangerous. Always call 811 before you dig and keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet from overhead power lines. Source: esfi.org 4

Cooperative Connections | February 2019

Getting Involved The state legislatures of both Minnesota and South Dakota convened in early January. Need to contact your legislator while in Pierre or Saint Paul? Here’s how:

Contacting Members of South Dakota’s Legislature: Go to http://sdlegislature.gov/ From there, you can search your senator or representatives, see the committees which they are assigned and send them an email. Need to reach them by phone? You can call and leave a message with the Senate at 605-773-3821 or with the House of Representatives at 605-773-3851. You can also send a fax to 605-773-6806.

Contacting Minnesota Legislators: For contact information on Minnesota house members, visit:

https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/hmem.asp For contact information on Minnesota senators, visit:

http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/members/index.php?ls=%20-%20 header

KIDS CORNER SAFETY POSTER “Don’t use electrical objects in the bathroom. It can kill you!” Gracie Biggins, 7 years old

Gracie is the daughter of Jessy and Katie Biggins, Gregory, S.D. They are members of Rosebud Electric Cooperative, Gregory.

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.

RECIPES Recipe and photo courtesy mccormick.com/recipes

Bountiful Brunch Slow Cooker Monkey Bread

Wake-up Casserole

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

8 frozen hash brown patties

7 eggs

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 (16.3 oz. each) cans flaky layers refrigerated biscuits, each biscuit cut into 6 pieces

4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup milk

1 T. ground cinnamon

Spray 6-quart slow cooker and outside of wide mouth glass jar with no stick cooking spray. Place glass jar in middle of slow cooker. Melt butter in small saucepan on medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir to combine; set aside. Place cinnamon and granulated sugar in large resealable plastic bag. Add biscuit pieces in batches and shake to coat. Place 1/2 of the biscuit pieces in slow cooker around glass jar. Pour 1/2 of the butter mixture over biscuit pieces. Place remaining coated biscuit pieces in slow cooker. Sprinkle with any remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture in bag. Pour remaining butter mixture evenly over top. Cover slow cooker with clean kitchen towel then with slow cooker lid to secure towel. Cook 1 hour on HIGH. Carefully remove slow cooker insert and rotate. (This allows monkey bread to cook evenly.) Cook 1 hour longer or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. With towel and lid still secure, remove slow cooker insert from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Carefully remove glass jar. Invert monkey bread onto serving platter. Makes 18 servings. Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 302, Total Fat 14g, Saturated Fat 8g, Protein 3g, Cholesterol 27mg, Sodium 491mg, Carbohydrates 41g, Fiber 1g Pictured, Cooperative Connections

Oatmeal Pancakes 2 eggs, separated

1/3 cup flour

2 cups warm milk

2-1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 cups quick cooking oats

1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup oil or shortening Beat egg whites until stiff. In separate bowl, add warm milk to oatmeal; let set a few minutes. Add egg yolks. Mix in oil, flour sifted with baking powder and salt; mix well. Fold in whipped egg whites. Heat a nonstick griddle over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Spoon about 2-1/2 T. batter per pancake onto griddle. Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles; cook until bottoms are lightly browned. Elfrieda Postma, Sioux Falls, SD

2 cups cubed ham

1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder

Place hash brown patties in a single layer in a greased 9x9-inch glass dish. Sprinkle with cheese and ham. In bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt and mustard together. Pour over ham and cheese. Cover and bake at 350°F. for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes until edges are golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 8 servings. Mary Jessen, Holabird, SD

Eggs Benedict Casserole 8 large eggs

into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cups milk, divided

6 English muffins, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 green onions, chopped 1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. salt

1 (.9 ounce) pkg. hollandaise sauce mix

3/4 lb. Canadian bacon, cut

1/4 cup butter

Spray 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Whisk eggs, 2 cups milk, green onions, onion powder and salt together in a large bowl until well mixed. Layer half the Canadian bacon in prepared baking dish. Spread English muffins over meat and top with remaining Canadian bacon. Pour egg mixture over casserole. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle casserole with paprika; cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 375°F. until eggs are nearly set, about 30 minutes; remove foil. Continue baking until eggs are completely set, about 15 more minutes. Whisk hollandaise sauce mix with 1 cup milk in a saucepan. Add butter and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer and stir until thickened, about 1 minute. Drizzle sauce over casserole. Cortney Reedy, Tea, SD

Please send your favorite seafood, appetizer, beverage or casserole 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.

February 2019 | Cooperative Connections



SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE Deadline January 30, 2019 For the 28th Year, West River Electric is offering college scholarships to high school seniors’ graduating in May of 2019 as well as students currently in post-secondary education. This year we will once again be offering five scholarships. A $1,000 scholarship provided by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, our power generation cooperative, and four WREA $500 scholarships. All to be awarded to the students in April. Applicants for the scholarships must be a member or dependent child of a West River Electric member and a U.S. citizen. They must be planning to enroll or in attendance in a full-time graduate or undergraduate course of study at an accredited two-year or four-year college, university or vocational/technical school.

Scholarship recipients will be chosen by a selection committee based on academic record, potential to succeed, leadership and participation in school and community activities, honors, work experience, a statement of education and career goals, a written essay and an outside appraisal. Completed applications and supporting documentation must be returned to West River Electric Association in Rapid City or Wall before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. Winners will be announced in April. For more information, or to request an application, go to our website at www.westriver.coop, stop by or call us at 393-1500 or 279-2135. Applications are also available at the local high schools.

HIGH SCHOOL JUNIORS Are you interested in going to D.C.? June 13-20, 2019 more than 1500 students will travel to Washington DC to participate in the Rural Electric Youth Tour. During this action-filled week, students learn what it is like to be involved in politics, community service, cooperative philosophy and rural electrification. You will have the opportunity to meet with your elected representative in the US House and Senate and discuss the process of government and the issues that we face today, while increasing your knowledge about the electric cooperative utilities. The student will be selected and sponsored by West River Electric. South Dakota Rural Electric Association (SDREA) coordinates arrangements for all South Dakota students. Among the sites that are toured are the National Cathedral, The White House, Washington Monument, U.S. Supreme Court, US Capitol, Ford’s Theatre, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, The Smithsonian, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. All area high school juniors whose parents or guardians are a member of WREA are eligible to apply for the Youth Tour. The funding of the tour is provided by WREA, which includes the student’s transportation, room and board, and sightseeing events. Students will be required to provide their own personal spending money. Each student is required to submit an essay, not to exceed 500 words on “What does it mean to be an American?”. All essays must be typed and include a cover sheet to include the students name, parents name, physical address, phone number and school they attend. West River Electric must receive all essays before February 1, 2019. If you have questions please contact Veronica Kusser at 605-393-1500. 6

Cooperative Connections | February 2019

Using the infrared camera to look for temperature differences in the homes walls & ceilings.

ENERGY AUDITS Looking For Air Leaks Adam Daigle adam.daigle@westriver.coop

West River Electric recently made a new program available to our membership. We are offering two types of energy audits to help you figure out how efficient your home might be and if there are any issues that need your attention. The first audit we offer is a simple walk-thru of the home. We do a survey of the home and point out things that are visible to us that need to be fixed. For example we might see that a piece of skirting is missing from around the home, or that the caulking around the windows has begun to crack and needs to be replaced, windows are not sealing all the way, and so on. When we come to your home we will bring a copy of your previous bills and print outs of your electrical use to discuss things that might help to lower your usage. This service takes about 2 hours and is free of charge to our membership. In addition to the option listed above West River Electric offers a second type of energy audit. The second one includes everything that the first one does along with a couple added tests. After doing a visual test of the home, we perform a blower door test. For those of you that may not know what a blower door test is, let me explain it to you. A blower door is a powerful fan that mounts into the frame of an exterior door. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then Checking for air leaks around outlets.

flows in Checking for air through all leaks with a vapor unsealed stick. cracks and openings. This test determines the air infiltration rate of a home. While the blower door test is being performed, we walk around the inside of the home with a vapor stick identifying air leaks around windows, doors, lights, electric outlets, etc. While the blower door is operating we walk around the home with an infrared 9006202 camera. The infrared camera helps us locate temperature differences in the homes walls and ceilings caused by air infiltration. All of the data from these tests is placed into a program and an official energy audit report is mailed to you. In the report, you will find estimates for return on investment, pictures of issues we found, information on how efficient your home is at its current state, and what issues make financial sense to fix. This audit can take anywhere from 4 to 5 hours at the home and the report can take up to a week to be finished. The cost for this audit is $100.00. These services require an appointment with the homeowner present. Weather does play a big part in both of these audits. The ideal time to perform these tests is late spring, summer, and early fall. If you would like this service, please call 605-393-1500 and ask for Adam or Willy.

Preparing for Blower Door Test.

February 2019 | Cooperative Connections



Your HVAC system could learn your schedule and regulate heating and cooling for your comfort based upon when you are home.

COMMAND, CONTROL AND ENERGY SAVINGS Co-op Members Can Benefit from Technology Derrill Holly NRECA

Artificial intelligence is changing the way we live and that has the potential to bring major changes to the way we use energy.

Smart home automation, with a utility connection, allows folks from all income levels to become more energy efficient to varying degrees. Using a platform to further tie together appliances and loads, consumers can pick and choose their preferred efficiency routes depending on their lifestyle and budgets.

Turning Words to Actions According to the Consumer Technology Association, about 5.5 million Wi-Fi-enabled devices are added to the internet each year and by 2020, the total is expected to surpass 21 billion. That has designers and manufacturers of consumer products looking for new ways to add value to their products with Wi-Fi enabled features. 8

Cooperative Connections | February 2019

More than 5.5 million Wi-Fi-enabled devices are added to the internet each year. By 2020, the total is expected to surpass 21 billion.


As artificial intelligence devices create opportunities for home automation, consumers will play larger roles in deciding how and when systems in their home are controlled. Smart thermostats have been around for a while and models that interconnect with home automation systems, like Amazon’s Echo, the Wyse Hub and Google Home, get a lot of attention. Apps developed for those products are also available for both Android and iPhone. Many electric cooperatives are offering discounted smart thermostats to not only encourage member savings, but also help manage peak energy demand.

Changing Sources, Changing Needs As the energy sources we use to generate power evolve and management of the electric grid becomes more agile and sophisticated, the true potential of energy load control provides opportunities for more savings through wholesale power supply. That’s challenging electric co-ops to find additional ways to strengthen partnerships with consumer-members who are more interested than ever in actively managing their energy use. Two-way, real-time communications and artificial intelligence offer opportunities to learn consumer preferences and how best to reduce energy during peak demand periods.

New All-Electric Homes Home automation controllers and smart phone apps are producing an endless string of new commands daily and while

many may not work seamlessly, they are likely to continue to improve.

about when their water is heated as long as it is available on demand.

“We could soon see serial commands allowing your appliances to interact with other devices,” said Keith Dennis, senior director of strategic initiatives for the

“Manufacturers and vendors are actually building shared access and control into these systems with utilities,” said Dennis. “The most successful models in the end will work seamlessly with the co-op to provide value to the member and not necessarily something that is directly managed by the member.”

An all-electric home with energy efficient products and automation features could enhance a consumers’ experience. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), who cited household systems including heat pumps and heat pump water heaters as examples. “Your HVAC system could learn your schedule and regulate heating and cooling for your comfort based upon when you are home,” said Dennis. “Instead of maintaining a steady supply of hot water when no one is home to use it, water could be heated during periods when demand is lowest and electricity costs less and then boosted to ideal temperatures to meet specific needs like bathing, laundry or washing dishes.” Many electric co-ops have supported water heater load control programs for decades. Consumers are not overly concerned

According to Dennis, new induction stovetops, energy efficient convection ovens and some countertop appliances offer more opportunities for efficiency in the kitchen – and the common trait of these efficient products is that they are all electric. An all-electric home with energy efficient products and automation features could enhance a consumers’ experience. While consumers are not expected to quickly embrace many of these new options until they reach the “plug-andplay” level of convenience, smart appliances and home automation systems could within a few years lead to rebates and other incentives designed to encourage electric co-op members to retire older appliances to enhance their home’s energy efficiency. Derrill Holly writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape.

WiFi-enabled kitchen countertop appliances are already available and manufacturers are introducing refrigerators and stoves to the marketplace in 2019. February 2019 | Cooperative Connections



HOW TO PAY YOUR BILL We offer 8 Different Ways At West River Electric we offer many different options to pay your electric bill, making it easy for you to accomplish the task at your convenience day or night. PrePaid Metering • Pay ahead, just like putting gas in your car. • No deposits or late fees. • Same rates as normal, but your balance is calculated on a daily basis allowing you to know how much credit you have. • To find the balance on your account call the IVR or sign up to receive text or email messages via SmartHub. • Go to www.westriver.coop and click on the “How to Pay Your Bill” tab. You can download a Prepaid Service Agreement or sign up online. • Pay as often as you like. If your money runs out your power will be shut off until money is added to your account. As soon as the payment is made, your power is restored. MoneyGram • Can be used at 4 different locations in Rapid City. Go to www.westriver.coop and click on the “How to Pay your Bill” tab. • Use the receive code 15509 and the payment should hit your account in about 20 minutes. This is a great way to make a cash payment after hours.

SmartHub Features • Provides 24-hour access to your account • Sends an e-mail or text notification when your new electric bill is generated. The e-mail includes a link for easy navigation to your billing information. You can use SmartHub to review account information and pay your electric bill, or you may choose to pay in a different manner. • Allows you to pay electronically using a Visa, MasterCard, Amercian Express or an electronic check transaction. • Displays posting of payments in real time. • Provides current and historical billing information and payment history. • Outlines energy usage in graphs. • Includes a free app for your smartphone or tablet. Download it by searching for “SmartHub” on either the Apple Store or Android Market. Once the app is open, type in “West River Electric Cooperative” as the provider. The login information is the same for both the web and mobile app. • Allows you to enroll in Paperless Billing. • Lets those with multiple accounts pay with a single payment.

By USPS Payment by mail, just be sure and allow up to three days for delivery of your payment using the convenient return envelope provided with your monthly statement.

SmartHub—Pay Now Go to www.westriver.coop and click on “Pay Now”. No registration is required. Just use your billing account number and your last name or the name of your business to pay your 4440300 bill quickly and easily. Unlike the full SmartHub site, you cannot view your usage.

Drop Box The drop boxes are still available at both the Rapid City and Wall offices for your convenience. You can drop your payment in the box anytime day or night, just please do not put cash in the box. Payments are picked up from the drop box each work day by 7:00 a.m. There are drop boxes available at the Wall or Rapid City offices, Wall Police Station, 41 Main Street in Wall, SD and at First Interstate Bank, 404 S Avenue in New Underwood, S.D.

IVR (Automated Phone System) • Pay by credit card or check using our automated phone system toll free at (855)730-8712. If you have never used this option, you need to call either the Wall or Rapid City office and set up a 4 digit pin number. You can make your payment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. • Update your credit card information for Auto Pay. • Access account information

In Office Cash or check is accepted in the Wall or Rapid City office of West River Electric between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday, except holidays.

Automated Payment (Auto Pay) • Pay your bill using Visa, MasterCard, American Express or an electronic check transaction. • Each month you will receive your bill as usual. 12-15 days after the billing date, payment will be deducted by your payment method of choice. • Enroll in the program using SmartHub.

SmartHub is West River Electric Cooperative’s free online payment system that also allows you to ask us questions and monitor your energy usage. If you are new to paying your bill online, you will need to create a SmartHub account. Go to www.westriver.coop and click on “Pay My Bill” to access your account or sign up for self service. 10

Cooperative Connections | February 2019

As you can see there is a convenient payment option for everyone. If you have any questions or need assistance with any of these

options please call us at 393-1500 or 279-2135.

Types of Heat Pumps

There are three main types of heat pump systems. Use the information below to determine the system that’s best suited for your climate and home.

Air-Source Heat Pumps • Most commonly used heat pumps • Moves heat rather than converting it from a fuel like combustion heating systems do • Can reduce heating costs by about 50 percent when compared to baseboard heaters or electric furnaces • Newer, more efficient systems now represent a legitimate space heating alternative in colder regions like the Northeast and Midwest. Note: If temperatures in your area drop below 10 to 25 F, you will need an auxiliary heating system (depending on the size of the system).

Geothermal Heat Pumps • More expensive to install but provide more energy savings for heating and cooling • Move heat through pipes buried underground • When compared to a conventional heating system, can reduce energy use by 25 to 50 percent • Effective in extreme climates • Not ideal for smaller lots and certain soil conditions

Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps • Easier to install, quiet, small in size • Flexible for heating and cooling individual rooms and smaller spaces • No energy loss through ductwork, which accounts for more than 30 percent of a home’s energy use for space heating/cooling. • Installation can be pricey, but federal incentives may be available

Heat pump systems should be installed by a licensed professional. Contact your local electric cooperative for more information about options and potential incentives. Sources: Dept. of Energy and Consumer Reports

February 2019 | Cooperative Connections



During the 2019 South Dakota legislative session, electric cooperatives are seeking fairness in territory integrity.

CO-OPS SEEK TERRITORY INTEGRITY Fairness Sought When Government Takes Over Brenda Kleinjan and Jocelyn Romey editor@sdrea.coop

As the 2019 South Dakota legislative session hits full stride this month, South Dakota electric cooperatives are seeking a fix to a decades-old issue: territory integrity.

The issue has been an ongoing one. It comes to a head periodically when municipal governments take over the territories of cooperatives or investor-owned utilities. For cooperatives, these are areas where the co-ops have served for decades and have incorporated into long-range planning.

What are the issues? There are two sets of rules that govern changes in South Dakota electric service territory. By law, electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities (IOU) must collaborate and agree upon changes in service territory between the two. Municipal governments, on the other hand, have the authority to expand their electric service boundaries and take territory from incumbent electric providers. These 12

Cooperative Connections | February 2019

differences in the rules favor government-taking of private enterprise. Electric cooperatives have built the infrastructure needed to serve all areas of their territories. When municipal utilities take away the electric service areas of those co-ops, the infrastructure, including generation, transmission, substations and distribution assets, that has been put into place to serve the load becomes useless. The municipal-taking of incumbent utility territory also greatly limits the incumbent’s ability to plan for the future in areas neighboring a municipal utility because the territory is so easily seized by the local government. Ultimately, South Dakota’s consumers are the ones being hurt when the service areas of electric cooperatives are reduced. The left-behind cooperative members bear a greater share of the fixed operating costs, increasing their electric bill. There are fewer members to cover infrastructure and generation costs when a territory is reduced in size. This is especially detrimental to affordability for the members of not-for-profit electric cooperatives.

TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY Why now? This is an ongoing issue that has never been resolved. Yes, there have been a few amendments made to the law over the years. These amendments have attempted to provide compensation for seized electric service territory. However, the compensation formula doesn’t work. Additionally, the efforts of electric cooperatives to work collaboratively with municipals in resolving this issue have been consistently rebuffed, co-op leaders say. “Applying the same rules to all electric utilities operating in the state will NOT impede municipal annexations. It will force municipal governments to engage in the same conversations about fairness and equity that an investor-owned utility and a cooperative must consider when making individual customer exchanges or making permanent changes to the boundaries,” said Ed Anderson, general manager of the South Dakota Rural Electric Association.

Territorial Integrity is Essential Current System is Flawed: Munis can. We can’t.

Municipal utilities can take utility service territory. Rural electrics and IOUs can’t.

Government Takeover of Private Property.

Munis can annex and extend service with no negotiations or PUC oversight. Selective “taking” of prime territory. Cooperatives are ready to serve and can offer highly competitive rates.

Negative Impacts on Utilities, Consumers and Economic Development.

Upsets long-term planning and duplicates services. Reduces growth opportunities and ability to spread costs to a greater number of consumers – it impacts the entire membership. Hinders economic development.

Solution: PROTECT assigned service territories RETAIN privately negotiated agreements with Public Utilities Commission approval NO RESTRICTIONS on annexation

South Dakota Laws on Electric Service Territory Boundaries The original law passed in 1975 established the purchase price for electric facilities in areas annexed by municipalities. The law gave the city 90 days following annexation to offer to purchase the facilities and services rights. The portion of the formula that covers the purchase of wires and poles has not changed over the years. What has changed is the compensation for service rights portion of the formula. As initially placed in statute, the purchasing municipal electric system had to pay 25 percent of gross receipts from power sales to consumers within the annexed area for a period of five years at the municipal utility rate. The 1975 law, which was very similar to laws passed in many states at roughly the same time, was designed to protect consumers from the costs and confusion associated with rapid growth and duplication of services associated with that growth. Since then, few states have opened this essential service to full competition and industrial customers, not the average residential or small business customer, have benefited from those changes. South Dakota chose to address the specific needs of large industrial customers by making those loads competitive. The 1992 amendment changed that part of the formula to: 25 percent of gross receipts from power sales to consumers within the annexed area for a period of seven years at the incumbent utility rate and extended the time given to the municipality to decide whether they want to purchase from 90 days to one year. The 2009 amendment changed that part of the formula to: as compensation for service rights, an annual amount equal to the sum of 25 percent of the gross revenues received from power sales to consumers of electric power within the annexed area. The obligation of the annexing municipality to compensate the utility for service rights shall continue for 11 years from the date of the offer to purchase by the annexing municipality. During the 11-year period, compensation for service rights to any one customer location within the annexed area shall be paid by the annexing municipality for a period of seven years or until the expiration of the 11-year period, whichever is less. Gross revenues received shall be determined by applying the rate in effect by the municipality at the time of purchase. So, the latest amendment extended the overall window from seven to 11 but retained the seven-year cap per customer and went back to the muni rate at the time of purchase. February 2019 | Cooperative Connections



SEALED BIDS ACCEPTED Until February 13, 2019 West River Electric has the following items for sale by sealed bid. Bids will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Wednesday February 13, 2019 When bidding please include the item number. Sealed bids can be sent to any WREA office. All items are sold “as is”, WREA reserves the right to reject any and all bids. The following vehicles/equipment can be seen at our Rapid City office at 3250 E. Hwy 44. Ask for Dwight or Brendan. Name


Address_________________________ _________________________

#218 Bucket Truck

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

Enviro Air A/C Unit

A/C unit Enviro-Air 12,000 BTU spilt A/C unit Bid $_________________

Phone Number___________________

A NEW FACE At the Coop

ACCOUNT INFO Keep it up to date

Keeping your account information up to date at West River Electric is important. With current phone numbers and e-mail addresses, we can notify you of planned outages or anything else that may pertain to your electric service. If you currently take advantage of e-bill you can make changes to your address or phone numbers by going into 11096900 your account and then to the “Contact Us” tab and click on “Address Change”. Please update all of your information.

Clint Stangle began work for West River Electric December 10 as an Apprenctice Lineman in the Wall office. Clint graduated from New Underwood High School in 2014 where he participated in Football, Basketball, Track and Rodeo. He attended Mitchell Technical School where he graduated with a degree in Powerline Construction and Maintenance in 2015. After graduation he worked for Kainz Construction for 1 year before going to work at Grand Electric in Buffalo. where he worked for the next 3 years. Clint enjoys golf and attending barrel races with his wife Bailey. Welcome Clint! 14

Cooperative Connections | February 2019

You can e-mail changes to your account to info@westriver.coop or contact us by phone at 605-393-1500 or 605-279-2135.


West River Electric will be closed

February 18 for All Employee Training If you have an outage or other emergency, please call 279-2135 or 393-1500.

(USPS No. 675-840)

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.

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Laundry Tip: Dry towels and heavier cottons separately from lighter-weight clothing. You’ll spend less time running the dryer for lighter-weight items, which saves energy. Source: energy.gov

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 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.

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 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.

February 2019 | Cooperative Connections



January 17

WREA and BHE Electro Technology, Ramkota Event Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1500

December 15-March 31:

South Dakota snowmobile trails season, Lead, SD, 605-584-3896

January 19

Heroes Skate Day, Main Street Square, Rapid City, SD, 605-716-7979

January 25-February 3

Photo courtesy: travelsouthdakota.com

Black Hills Stock Show, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111

January 26

BH Stock Show Stockman’s Banquet & Ball, Best Western Ramkota, Rapid City, SD, 605-355-3861

January 27

Rodeo High School 20x Showcase 2019, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111

January 30

Deadline to submit West River Electric scholarship applications, West River Electric Association, 605-393-1500

February 1

Deadline to submit West River Electric Youth Tour Essays, West River Electric Association, 605-393-1500

February 8-10

Black Hills Sports Show and Outdoor Expo, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111

February 18

West River Electric will be closed for an all employee training day, Call 605-279-2135 or 605-393-1500 in case of an outage or other emergency

February 22-23

State Wrestling Tournaments, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111

February 25

Chris Brubeck’s Triple Play, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111

March 7-9

SD State Class B Girls Basketball Tournament, Huron Arena, Huron, SD

March 8-9

Wall Badlands Quilters Yearly Quilting Getaway, Community Center, Wall, SD, 605-390-3291

March 9-10

Gun Show, American Legion Hall, Philip, SD, 605-685-4768 or 605-441-8466

March 13

BH Regional Job Fair, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

March 14-16

SD State Class A Girls Basketball Tournament, Premier Center, Sioux Falls, SD

March 14-16

April 5-6

March 14-16

April 10

SD State Class AA Girls Basketball Tournament, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD SD State Class A Boys Basketball Tournament, Premier Center, Sioux Falls, SD

March 14-16

SD State Class AA Boys Basketball Tournament, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD

March 14-16

SD State Class B Boys Basketball Tournament, Barnett Center, Aberdeen, SD

March 16-17

Kinky Boots, Best Musical, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Fine Arts Theatre, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

March 29-31

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

Sound of Music, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Fine Arts Theatre, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Fine Arts Theatre, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

April 18

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