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APRIL 2017

VOL. 17 NO. 12

Working with

The Grain Page 8-9



Weather Dependent It would appear that March is going to come in like a lamb. Recent weather forecasts have been mixed on what the spring will bring. One source tells me it will be cooler than normal across the northern tier of the country with above average precipitation. However the National Weather Service is predicting above average moisture but near to above normal Dick Johnson temperatures. Who knows; CEO/General Manager just look at February. We started out very cold then we ended with several days of record temperatures. I have had many people question their bills during December and January. Our sales had been very lackluster during the fall. Then winter really hit! We set a new all-time record for kWh purchases from Rushmore in December by 12.4%. We then blew up our all-time kWh sales to our members in January at 9.8% above the previous all-time high. Now you can see why our bills were so high during this period. I know my personal bill was a record for January. Our member service people have taken many, many calls regarding high usage. Many of the calls regard using supplemental heat sources; i.e. space heaters. Members had been plugging them in to support their main heat, or in a bedroom or garage, to heat a smaller space. Those types of heaters are not on our heat rate and run at our full rate. It can get very expensive in a very short time. I never had a chance to update you last month on our annual results. We had a flat year for total sales at .7% above last year with the revenues at 3.9% over 2015 figures thanks to a good December. We added 287 new accounts during the year. Our new and existing commercial accounts continue to help us in added sales. However, we see a slow decline in average sales each year in that category. We believe that is due to new LED lighting and more efficient heating and cooling equipment being installed. Our financial results overall showed that we ended the year with total margins of $3.6 million compared to $2.4 million last year. You might say that was quite an increase. However, the increase was due to a much higher Basin Electric allocation of $1.6 million. Our operating margins, which determine many of our margin requirements from regulators, were basically the same as last year. We were not able to put any additional money into our revenue deferral plan which could hamper rates in the future. Our operating expenses were higher this year especially on things like tree trimming and outside operation expenses. However, those are areas where 2 A p ril 2 0 1 7 • cooperative connections

I feel we need to continue a strong program as it affects our reliability greatly if we cut these expenses too drastically. Your equity in the coop increased from 31% to 32.5%. At the last Board meeting, we spent a great deal of time reviewing our rates and strategy moving forward. Our strategy has been to raise the base charge by $2.25 per year to get us to a $27.00 base charge per month by 2019. After much discussion, it was decided to continue that path forward. We will be raising the base charge on residential by $2.25 per month starting with the bill you receive during May. We did not adjust anything on the Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) or any of the current energy charges. This would be about a 1.6% increase for the average residential account. For commercial accounts, especially smaller commercial accounts, we will be raising the demand charge per our strategy to $8.25 per kW for all kW under 25 along with the base charge change. 1832100 We had the same base charge change last April but had to increase the PCA charge to $.006 in September when Basin took a large increase. Financially, if we had not taken the PCA increase, we would not have met most of our ratios. As it turned out, we probably should have taken a larger PCA, but we were able to cut some things to meet our financial requirements. We are in the process of doing a new rate study to see where we stand and where we should be at to cover all our revenue requirements. One of the points of the study will be to look at other options we might be able to offer member/owners to help them manage their energy costs. This was one of the goals from our strategic plan last fall. Options might be better time of use billing options, different pricing during peak electric demand, and demand rates on residential accounts. We will spend a great deal of time over the next few months crunching numbers and discussing strategies. We continue to work hard to offer member/owners the reliable, low cost electricity they deserve. Remember the value you receive with 24x7 electricity. It opened my eyes again when I looked at my personal bills for the year and see where I spend as much, or more, for my basic telephone, cable TV, internet and cell phone. I hope you have a great spring! Remember – stay safe. Step back and take an extra second to make sure you are doing everything safely.

Board of Director Biographies Howard Knuppe - 29 Years I was born and raised on the family ranch near New Underwood, SD. My parents bought this ranch in the1940’s, so this is where I have called home my whole life. I graduated from High School in 1962 and went on to attend SDSU graduating in 1967 with a degree in Animal Science. I married my high school sweetheart, Delores, in 1965. After we both graduated from college I worked as a County Extension Agent in Philip covering Haakon, Jackson and Washabaugh counties. We spent every Friday packing up the family and heading back to the ranch just a few miles Northeast of New Underwood where we helped mom and dad with the ranching. Come Sunday night we packed up and headed back to Philip. In 1973 we packed up one last time and headed back to the ranch, when the folks moved into New Underwood. It has been a good life and we enjoy the peace and quiet out here. I taught for a year as a Vo-Ag teacher at New Underwood Howard and Delores together with their children and grandchildren High School when there was a vacancy, served for a term celebrating 50 Years of marriage. on the New Underwood School Board, and was a former member and officer of the Pennington County Crop Improvement Association. I am a member the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, R-Calf, the American Hereford Association and the American Quarter Horse Association. In February of 1988, when Harold Benson and his wife moved to Rapid City, I was asked to finish out a board term. In October 1988 I was the incumbent director and re-elected for the next term and as the story goes 29 years later I am still happy to represent you the member on the board. This is a position that I am very glad to serve in and I feel that I have always had the best interest of the member at hand when making decisions. Coal is the most reliable source to generate electricity, so the past couple of years has been a bit challenging with the EPA and the Clean Coal thought process. Some of the biggest changes I have seen have been the growth of the cooperative, the number of meters have doubled in size going from 8736 in 1988 to 16,561 today. I want to thank you, the members for entrusting me with the responsibility of seeing to it that your thoughts are considered when making decisions for West River Electric. Delores and I are blessed with three children Pam (Travis) DeJong, Scott (Triscell) Knuppe and Carmen (John) Safstrom and 9 beautiful grandchildren. When we are not busy calving or putting up hay we enjoy going to horse sales and following our grandchildren in their school activities.

cooperative connections • Ap ril 2017 3



Paying the Price of Power Theft It’s often an “invisible” crime. Someone illegally hooks into a power supply, hooks up a line that has been disconnected or tampers with a meter to avoid recording electricity usage. Legitimate electricity consumers do not engage in these behaviors, so the impact of electricity theft – including the danger – is often unrecognized. Power theft carries deadly risks. Many thieves pay for the power they steal with their lives. Electricity theft is not just dangerous for those who steal. If you are on the same power line as someone who steals electricity, you could pay the cost for their theft too. The power line could become overloaded with electric energy, which could harm your electronics and appliances that are designed to receive a certain, steady amount of electricity. Electricity theft makes power service less reliable and lower quality for paying customers. Electricity thieves may also unknowingly feed energy back into the power line. This is dangerous for linemen who may assume that the power line they are working on is de-energized. Safe Electricity reminds that everyone can help prevent and reduce power theft: • Notify your electric utility immediately if you know of an illegally connected consumer. • Do not cut the seal on your meter base or tamper with your own meter for any reason. • Apply for a legal connection if you do not have one. • Remain aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activities to your electric utility. Most electrical theft crimes occur through meter tampering, bypassing meters and tapping power lines. Other less frequent crimes include tapping into neighboring premises, using illegal lines after being disconnected, self-reconnection without consent and electrifying fences. Possessing fraudulent electricity bills is also a federal crime and is punishable by law. Everyone is affected by power theft and detecting and reporting illegal activity will help reduce the price paid. Source: 4 April 2017 • COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS

10th Annual National Safe Digging Month Always call 811 a few days before digging

April marks the 10th annual National Safe Digging Month, which reminds residents to always call 811 72 hours before any digging project. National Safe Digging Month is formally recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and has traditionally earned the support from nearly every state governor across the country. When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both. Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811. Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after a call to 811. “As April marks the traditional start of digging season, we are using this month to strongly encourage individuals and companies to call 811 before they begin digging,” said Larry Janes, Executive Director of South Dakota One Call. “By calling 811 to have the underground utility lines in their area marked, homeowners and professionals are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe and connected.”

Kids’ Corner Safety Poster “Never play by power lines.” Addison Hovorka, 9 years old

Addison is the daughter of Roger and Audra Hovorka, Tabor, S.D. They are members of Bon Homme Yankton Electric Association, Tabor, 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 Country Ham and Swiss Dip

Hot Cocoa Mix 1 large box instant dry milk 1 (16 oz.) box Nestles Quick

1 (6 oz.) jar of Coffee Mate 1 cup powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients and store in air-tight container. Add 1/4-cup mixture to 1 cup hot water. Top with marshmallows, if desired. Emily Luikens, Tea

Easy Sausage Appetizers 1 lb. sausage 2 cups baking mix

8 oz. shredded or grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Crumble uncooked sausage with cheese. Mix in baking mix. Shape into small balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet or parchment paper. Bake at 375°F. for 20 to 25 minutes until browned. Elaine Rowett, Sturgis

Holiday Punch 11 cups water, divided 2 cups sugar 1 (6 oz.) pkg. red gelatin

1 (46 oz.) can pineapple juice 2 tsp. almond extract

Boil together 2 cups water and sugar for 1 minute. Remove from stove and stir in gelatin. Pour into 5-quart plastic container. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well, cover and freeze. Three hours before serving, remove from freezer. When soft, break up with spoon and fluff with electric mixer. Clarice Roghair, Okaton

Texas Caviar 1 can shoepeg corn 1 can pinto beans 1 can black-eyed peas 1 small jar pimento 1 red pepper, chopped 1 green pepper, chopped 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped 1 medium onion, chopped

Cilantro, to taste 1 cup sugar 3/4 cup apple cider 1/2 cup olive oil 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. pepper Scoop chips

1 cup milk 1 pkg. McCormick® Pork Gravy Mix 1 (8 oz.) container whipped cream cheese 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1 T. yellow mustard

1 cup cubed ham 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese Pickle chips, optional Sliced baguette or crackers

Gradually stir milk into gravy mix with whisk in medium saucepan. Stirring frequently, cook on medium heat until gravy comes to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Stir in cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard and ham. Spread mixture in glass pie plate sprayed with no stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with pickles, if desired. Bake at 350°F. for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with sliced baguette or crackers. Makes 16 servings, 2 T. each. Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 95, Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 7g, Cholesterol 21mg, Sodium 323mg, Carbohydrates 4g, Dietary Fiber 0g, Protein 4g Pictured, Cooperative Connections

Dried Beef Log 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 T. prepared horseradish

1/3 cup chopped green olives 1-1/2 oz. dried beef, finely snipped Crackers

Blend cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and horseradish. Mix in olives. On waxed paper, shape mixture into 2 6-inch rolls. Wrap and chill several hours or overnight. Roll in snipped beef. Slice and serve with crackers. Tina Haug, Pierre

Tortilla Pinwheels 1 (8 oz.) container sour cream 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chili’s, drained 1 (4 oz.) can diced black olives 1 (2 oz.) can diced jalapeno’s

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese 1/2 cup chopped green onion Garlic salt to taste 8 to 10-inch tortilla shells Salsa, if desired for topping or dipping

Drain and rinse corn, beans, peas and pimento. Combine sugar, cider, oil, salt and pepper. Mix together all vegetables and marinate in dressing. Serve with chips.

Mix thoroughly all filling ingredients. Divide filling and spread evenly over tortilla shells. Roll up tortillas. Place on individual pieces of plastic wrap and roll tightly. Refrigerate overnight. Unwrap tortillas; cut in slices 3/4- to 1-inch thick. An electric knife works great for this. Lay pinwheels flat on plate to serve. Top each pinwheel with a small amount of salsa, if desired.

Brad James, Vermillion

Monica Johnson, Marion

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 2017. All entries must include your name, mailing address, telephone number and cooperative name.


Co-op news

Capital Credit Allocation Notices Mailed in April Each member who was on service in 2016 will receive a capital credit allocation notice in the mail during April. West River Electric is a not-for-profit organization owned by you, its members. The revenue that covers day-to-day operating costs of the cooperative comes directly from members paying their monthly electric bills. Member rates are established to provide: •  A sufficient amount of revenue to cover all operating costs, •  Funds for  capital requirements, such as trucks, equipment, and other items not funded by the RUS loans, •  Sufficient  revenue to meet our financial requirements set by our lenders, •  Revenue  for additional capital items to keep pace with growth. Revenue over the amount needed to keep the co-op operating is called a “margin”. These

margins are allocated in the spring of each year based on the amount of electricity you have used for the previous year (your patronage) and are called “capital credits”. The allocation notice you receive will state your balance prior to the 2016 allocation. In the middle it shows the amount that has been credited to your capital credit account for the year 2016 for each service location you have on service. At the end it will show your total capital credits allocated to date. These capital credits provide equity for the co-op and you. As a reminder, this allocation notice is not a check and cannot be cashed, nor can it be used as a credit on your energy account. 10495700 On the notice you will notice line items listed as “COOP”, “G&T” and “DGC”. The “COOP” line is for the margins derived strictly from West River Electric. The “G&T” line is for the margins that have been allocated by our power supplier, Basin Electric Power Cooperative (BEPC), of which we are a member. The “DGC” line is for margins that BEPC derived from the coal gasification plant that BEPC owns, called Dakota Gasification Company (DGC). “DGC” allocated a margin in 2008, when they had high natural gas prices resulting in a large margin. If you don’t have a dollar amount indicated for this line item, you would not have been on service with us in 2008. Each year, the Board of Directors review the financial condition of West River Electric to determine if a capital credit “retirement” (payment of capital credits) will be possible for the year. If one is approved, you will find this information in the October edition of the Cooperative Connections. If you have further questions, please contact our office at 279-2135 or contact us by email at

West River Electric Association, Inc. Statement of Nondiscrimination 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 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) 6329992. 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; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: WREA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

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Youth Excursion

One Day Member Tour

Road Trip to Bismarck, ND Deadline is May 19, 2017

Dry Fork Station, Gillette WY Deadline is May 1, 2017

Youth Excursion Road Trip this summer? 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.

West River Electric will sponsor an all-expense paid bus tour to Dry Fork’s power generation facilities just outside of Gillette, Wyoming. We will together discover how Dry Fork Station uses America’s abundant coal resources responsibly to generate power for rural America. Members are encouraged to send in the form below if you would like to attend the tour.

Up to forty members will join us for a one day tour of the Dry Fork Station and Mine. We will depart from the Rapid City office early the morning of May 31, 2017 and return late afternoon. 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 fun, sight-seeing and an opportunity to meet new friends with participants from other rural electric cooperatives from 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, dancing, taking a cruise, shopping and making friends. 9848300 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 24, and will arrive back home Thursday, July 27. The trip is funded by WREA except for personal/shopping money. Fill out the form below to have your name put into the selection process. 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 at 605-393-1500 or e-mail

Names will be drawn out of those sending in their entry by May 1. The tour group will visit the Dry Fork power plant and the Dry Fork Mine outside of Gillette Wyoming. Name_______________________________________ Address______________________________________ City________________________________________ State___________________________Zip__________ Phone Number________________________________ Age______________________ Send registration to West River Electric Association, Member Tour, PO Box 3486, Rapid City, SD 57709. Contact Veronica Kusser at 605-393-1500 for more information regarding the tour or e-mail cooperative connections • Ap ril 2017 7

Working with Wood Co-op Board Member Makes Handcrafted Creations


Ben Dunsmoor

orthern electric cooperative board president Mike McHugh finds inspiration for his woodworking projects in many places. If you step into his Brown County home, you’ll see some of those projects filling up many spaces. “I like to see pictures of something and then go build it,” McHugh said. Like the first table, he built out of a piece of wood known as ‘flame birch’ that now sits in the living room of his house just eight miles north of the Northern Electric Cooperative headquarters. McHugh, who also sits on the South Dakota Rural Electric Association board, crafted the table after seeing a picture of a similar one about eight years


ago. His wonder for the world of woodworking has continued to grow ever since he finished the piece. “After I quit farming, and semi-retired from farming, it was something to do,” McHugh said. McHugh took over the family farm after he graduated from college and cultivated crops and corralled cattle for several decades before he retired in 2000. He went to work for Wells Fargo following his time on the farm until he retired for good in 2014, which is when he really started kicking up dust in the woodshop he retrofit in the back of his old horse barn. “Really when I got started was in 4-H,” McHugh said.

McHugh made a few projects during his 4-H days as a kid on the farm after his dad purchased a piece of equipment called a Shopsmith, but in the past few years, McHugh has made everything from tables to bowls to the gavel he now uses to preside over monthly meetings at Northern Electric. “I’ll probably spend 15 to 18 hours a week (in the shop),” McHugh said about the time he spends on his various projects. But McHugh points out that his woodworking is different than a fulltime job because he can create the projects he wants to make when he wants to make them. Two years ago, he built a large entertainment center that now sits in the middle of his living room. He was shopping online with his wife, Mary, for a piece that would hold their flat-screen TV when they found one they liked but sticker shock deterred them from adding it to their cyber shopping cart. McHugh said he would build one instead. The McHughs ended up with a handcrafted oak ensemble that now supports their 60-inch flat screen. Woodworking in the Great Plains, however, can be difficult because there is often a lack of product to produce projects. “Trying to find the wood can be a challenge,” McHugh said. It’s why he keeps his eyes open as he travels for exotic slabs that he can craft. Last summer he built two coffee tables out of California redwood. He has two more unfinished pieces of redwood sitting in his shop ready to be turned into furniture. “It’s relaxing and it’s still challenging,” McHugh said. The fruits of most of McHugh’s labor have ended up in the homes of family and friends, but he’s running out of corners in his own home for new handcrafted pieces. He said he may try selling a few items at festivals and ‘arts in the park’-type events this summer, but he cautions that it’s not going to be a job; just something he likes to do. “It’s just the challenge of it that I enjoy.” Which is why he will continue to search for inspiration anywhere he can find it as he makes plans for future creations.

Left: Two tables McHugh made from California Redwood trees last summer. Opposite Page, Inset: Among McHugh’s creations are “crazy bowls.” Below: The first table Mike McHugh made from wood known as ‘flaming birch.’ Below: McHugh’s creativity is not limited to just his wood projects. Here, a repurposed baby stroller serves as a portable clamp cart.

Below: Mike McHugh works in his shop at his farm north of Bath, S.D. Opposite Page: An entertainment center McHugh built himself two years ago.

Left: A clock McHugh made out of a wood burl sits on a shelf of the hand-crafted entertainment center in McHugh’s living room.


Leadership & Personal Growth

FFA and the Opportunities I

FFa? i Found myselF wonderdistrict FFa leadership development events this past Fall. why join FFa? what will FFa do For me in the Future? I had a lot of unanswered questions. So I turned to my friend Google and then I thought, you know, the Wall School has a very active FFA Chapter, I wonder what those students could share with me? So off I go, heading east on I-90 to the Wall School, Dani Herring, Wall FFA Advisor, and her students welcomed me into their classroom to take pictures and learn about the Wall High School FFA Chapter. First thing I learned is that FFA stands for Future Farmers of America, a dynamic Shown above are the officers of the Wall FFA Chapter Back Row, Left to youth organization that changes lives and prepares Right: Taylor Richter, Trista Reinert, Katy Bielmaier and Sierra Wilson. Front members for premier leadership, personal growth Row Left to Right: Elle Moon, Shelby Ruland and Karlie Dartt. and career success through agricultural education. were granted full FFA membership privileges at the To Sierra Wilson “FFA means people coming National Convention, today 45 percent of the FFA together as one to form a “Sea of Blue”. It means membership is female and half of the state leadermeeting new people, learning new ways, and being ship positions are held by females. a part of something great!” As for those blue corduroy jackets that the young FFA has been around since 1928, when 33 ladies above are shown in, they were adopted as the students from 18 states gathered to form Future official dress back in 1933. That is something that Farmers of America. At the time, boys were losing has never changed. interest and leaving farm life behind, so FFA was As you can see from the picture below it is not all formed to offer a greater opportunity for self expresabout farming, there is so much more to it. Such as sion and the development of leadership. They were able to develop confidence in their ability and pride the leadership and the public speaking skills that are learned, it is an incredible opportunity. in the fact that they were farmers. In 1969 females ask what is

ing aFter being asked to judge at the

Editor’s Note: Another opportunity for me to learn. Thank you to the Wall FFA for sharing something so near and dear to them with our members.

By Veronica Kusser

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cooperative connections

Some of the Wall FFA Chapter students had the pleasure of meeting Senator John Thune.

FFA members learn how to incorporate the skills learned with the interaction of FFA into their everyday lives. Whether they are preparing for State High School rodeo, patrolling the highways of South Dakota, preparing for the regional basketball games, participating in the State Golf Tournament or making dessert for the family dinner, they are putting their FFA skills to work.

had the opportunity to ask questions and interact with them both, with a feeling of confidence. Today there are nearly 630,000 student members who belong to one of 7757 local FFA chapters. The mission was to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. They taught us that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting - it’s a science, it‘s a business and it’s an art. Today, the National FFA Organizations remain committed to the individual students, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. FFA continues to help the next generation rise up to meet those challenges by helping its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of agricultural career pathways. So today, they are still the Future Farmers of America; but, they are the Future Biologists, Future Chemists, Future Veterinarians, Future Engineers and Future Entrepreneurs of America too.

Freshman FFA members are called “Greenhands”. During National FFA Week, Sierra Wilson, Brianna Schreiber and Emma Michael had their hands painted green a couple years ago as an induction into the FFA. The Wall Chapter FFA had the privilege of meeting Representative Kristi Noem.

The students that I had the opportunity to meet with all expressed their gratitude to the FFA program at the Wall School for the opportunity to work on their leadership skills. They are now able to take on the lead role in the organizations that they are involved in, the strength to be more competitive in a professional manner and working on being a better friend to those

The Distric 5 FFA 1st Place Ag Issues team are left to right Emma Michael, Brianna Schreiber, Katy Bielmaier, Allan McDonnell, Savanna Deutscher , Jessica Casjens, and Elle Moon.

who need one. Members of the chapter had the opportunity to meet State Senator John Thune who came to the school, and Kristi Noem, House of Representative for South Dakota. They

The FFA Creed I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds - achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years. I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny. I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil. I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so--for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me. I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task. cooperative connections • Ap ri l 2017 11

Private Generation Supporting cooperative members through a responsible approach to distributed generation What Is Private Generation?

Private generation (also known as distributed generation) is the generation of electric power from a energy source, such as wind or solar. Private generation systems are built at a member’s location and are designed to offset or supplement electricity generated by the local utility. A common form of private generation is the use of solar panels to generate electricity at a home. The electricity generated is typically used to satisfy a portion of a homeowner’s energy needs. If generation exceeds a home’s usage, the extra energy may be sold back to the electric cooperative at a prespecified rate. Adding private generation to the grid must be done in a responsible manner. In the view of electric cooperatives, regulatory requirements to interconnect private generation into the grid shouldn’t risk degrading electric reliability or safety and shouldn’t unfairly shift costs to the cooperative’s other members who do not receive any benefit from the addition of the privately-generated energy.


As interest in private generation rises, cooperatives continue assessing their rate structure to ensure those rates match the changing grid. For example, we must assess whether the rate the cooperative pays a member for excess privately-generated energy that flows back on the grid accurately reflects the value of that energy. If the rate paid for privately-generated energy is inflated, the cooperative’s other members are the ones who ultimately pay the price, resulting in a cost shift. We must work together as a cooperative family to integrate private generation sources onto the grid in a manner that won’t shift costs to members who won’t stand to benefit from those private energy sources. As a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative, our primary focus remains providing the reliable, affordable and safe energy that you need to power your home. Any margins (profits) are invested into the electric system or allocated to our member-owners in the form of capital credits.

Two member homes before private generation. Power costs are similar, fixed costs are shared equally.

Two member homes after private generation was installed in the form of solar panels. Power costs are reduced for the member with solar. Fixed costs are shifted unfairly to the member without private generation.

Co-ops Support Renewables

Electric cooperatives are committed to further diversifying their energy generation portfolio and are continuing to add more renewables to the mix. The amount of renewable energy added to the electric co-op power supply mix continues to rise.

If you have questions about whether private generation is worth the investment, contact your local electric cooperative to find out more.


Co-op news

Rate Review, Base Rate Change, kw Rate Change In 2015 the Board approved a 5 year rate strategy to help guide our future rate changes. The overall strategy was to slowly raise the base charge over the next 5 years while adjusting the kWh energy down and bill more kW demand to more accurately reflect the true cost of service.

Back in 2015 the Board discussed the “fixed costs” of doing business, those costs being the substation, poles, wires and meters that cost the same each month regardless of how much electricity is used by our members. Our actual fixed costs are about $45.00 per month per residential meter. We are currently charging $20.75. Sticking to the plan this year, we will increase the base charge to our members by $2.25 per meter per month. Your May billing statement will reflect the new cost of $23.00 per month, we will be 1/2 way there. That being said the average member using 1,000 kWh per month will see about a 1.6% increase or $2.25 per month. The commercial member will see a small increase to $8.25 per kw of 25 or less kw of demand in addition to the increase to the base charge. 2201500 We will be working with PSE on a complete rate study which we hope to have done by later this summer. Please watch for the results of that rate study to see how your future bills will be affected. Please call us at 279-2135 or 393-1500 if you have any questions. Our goal is to provide safe, reliable, efficient and reasonably priced electricity and services to you our members. 14 A p ril 2 0 1 7

cooperative connections

Educators Sought for 2017 Lignite Seminar On June 12-15, 2017, the Lignite Energy Council will conduct an education seminar for approximately 130 elementary and secondary teachers from Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The seminar was totally revamped in 2009 and made into a two-credit class which lasts for four days. The teacher education seminar is sponsored by the Lignite Energy Council, in cooperation with four North Dakota colleges and universities. During the seminar, teachers hear presentations by educators, researchers and lignite industry representatives. One day is devoted to touring mining operations, reclamation sites and coal conversion facilities. Question and answer sessions in the classroom and on the tour give teachers the opportunity to find out what they need to know for their individual classroom needs. Two graduate professional development credits are available through the Center for Economic Education at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D., North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., or Minot State University, Minot, N.D. To receive the credits, teachers must attend all portions of the seminar and prepare lesson plans demonstrating how they will use the seminar information and materials in their classrooms. Teachers attending the seminar will receive lecture outlines on each presentation, examples of lesson plans, classroom exercises, coal and ash samples, audiovisual materials and information on the facilities they tour. In addition they also receive resource guides listing publications and audiovisual material available for energy education. The seminar which will be held at Bismarck State College, Bismarck, N.D., will provide teachers with the information and educational material they need to teach their students about how lignite is mined and used to produce electricity for homes, farms and businesses in the Upper Midwest. In addition, the seminar covers lignite’s economic impact on the region, as well as important environmental issues affecting the lignite industry. Since 1986, more than 3,200 teachers have attended the Lignite Energy Council’s teacher education seminar. The Lignite Education Seminar is a no-cost seminar for K-12 teachers in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota and Iowa to attend. Teachers may incur transportation costs to and from the seminar. The Lignite Energy Council provides housing and most meals during the seminar. Graduate professional development credit are paid for on behalf of the Lignite Energy Council. Applications will be accepted until the seminar is full or until April 15, 2017, whichever occurs first. Typically, all eligible teachers are accepted. To register, go to teachers-seminar/out_ofstate_teachers/


Sign Up Fill out and send to: West River Electric Assoc. Cooperative Connections, PO Box 3486, Rapid City, SD 57709 or drop it in with your payment.

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operation Roundup Budget Billing Pay By Bank Automatic Credit Card Payment I am interested in more information on: Marathon Water Heater Radiant Cove Heat Generlink Special Electric Heat Rate Geothermal & Air-to-Air Heat Pumps Rebates Radiant Floor Heating Demand Response Unit Be sure to include your name and address if you mail this coupon or E mail: veronica.kusser@

west river electric oFFice hours rapid city oFFice 3250 e. hwy 44, rapid city, sd monday-Friday 7:00 am to 5:00 pm 605-393-1500 wall oFFice 1200 w. 4th ave, wall, sd monday-Friday 7:00 am to 5:00 pm 605-279-2135

enerGY tip Dishwasher Efficiency Tip: Air dry clean dishes to save energy. If your dishwasher does not have an automatic air-dry switch, turn off the dishwasher after the final rinse and prop the door open slightly so the dishes will dry faster. Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Don’t Post Your Signs on Our Poles Posting signs and announcements on utility poles not only presents DANGER to West River Electric Linemen, it is also against the law. We ask you to show concern for our linemen’s safety and respect for the law by not placing signs and posters on our utility poles. In addition, if you see announcements affixed to a pole, please feel free to remove them, just remember to pry the nails, staples or tacks out of the pole.

Locate Your Account Number If you locate your account number

anywhere in this issue of the 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 next month, you will receive a $10.00 credit on your next bill.

A night depository is available at both offices for your convenience. Service & Billing Questions: Contact 605-279-2135 or 605393-1500 during office hours. You can e-mail us at on questions concerning your account. After Hours Power Restoration: Contact 605-279-2135 in the Wall or Enning areas and 605-393-1500 in the Rapid City area.

stats January 2016 Number of Meters: 16,566 KWH 28,934,404 January 2017 Number of Meters: 16,851 KWH 32,693,565

(USPS No. 675-840)

Our Mission

To inform you about your cooperative and its efforts to serve your energy needs; about how to use electricity safely and efficiently; and about the people who define and enhance the quality of life in communities served by electric co-ops. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer

President Andy Moon, Creighton, S.D. Vice President Stan Anders, Union Center, S.D. Secretary Jamie Lewis, Rapid City, S.D. Treasurer Larry Eisenbraun, Wall, S.D. Directors Howard Knuppe, New Underwood, S.D. Chuck Sloan, Piedmont, S.D. Marcia Arneson, Rapid City, S.D. Jerry Hammerquist, Caputa, S.D. Terry Peters, Wall, S.D. CEO/General Manager Dick Johnson Editor Veronica Kusser 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 $6.00 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 $12.00 per year. Periodicals Postageaid 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)393-0275; e-mail veronica.kusser@westriver. coop.

Call before you dig: All underground cable location requests for the entire state of South Dakota are made through the South Dakota One-Call System. The number is toll free, 1-800781-7474 (dial 811 instate). You are required to provide this one-call center with information regarding the location where you will be digging, along with a description of the type of work you will be doing. You are required to give at least a 48-hour notice before you dig. The one-call center will then notify all utilities with underground facilities in the area where you will be digging.

cooperative connections • Ap ri l 2017 15

Regional Dateline

March 25-26 SD State AAU Wrestling Tournament, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Ice Arena Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115 March 28 Badlands Bad River Regional Job Fair & Business Expo School Fine Arts Building Philip, SD, 605-441-2059 March 28 Donna Beegle in Rapid City Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Theater, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4115 March 30 I Love The ‘90s Tour, Barnett Arena, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4115 March 31-April 22 Firehouse Theatre presents It’s Only a Play, Firehouse Theatre Rapid City, SD, 605-348-1915 April 1 Polar Plunge, Be Freezin’ For a Reason, BH Harley Davidson Rapid City, SD, 800-585-2114 April 1 Mom Prom On the Red Carpet Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn Rapid City, SD, 605-348-4000 April 5 Chart Your Course for

Events of Special Note April 26-29 Black Hills Film Festival Hill City, SD, 605-574-9454


March 24-26 BH Home Builders Home Show Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD

May 29 WREA will be closed in Observance of Memorial Day Call 504-279-2135 or 605-393-1500 for an emergency

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.

Excellence, 8th Annual Day of Excellence, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Theater Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4111 April 8 BH Symphony Orchestra An Evening with Sean Chen & Symphony, RC Performing Arts Center, Rapid City, SD April 14 Suzie Cappa April Art Night Twenty Seventeen, 722 Saint Joe St, Suzie Cappa Art Center Rapid City, SD, 605-343-4581 April 22 Rummage Sale, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Minneluzahan Senior Citizens Center, 315 N 4th St Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1887 April 28 Dakota Choral Union Concert Series, Young Vocal Artists Competition, First Congregational Church, Rapid City, SD

April 28-30 Youth & Family Services Kids Fair, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 605-342-4195

May 11 West River Electric/Caterpillar United Blood Services Blood Drive, West River Electric Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1500

April 29-30 2017 Spring Parade of Homes Black Hills Homebuilders Rapid City, SD, 605-348-7850

May 12 Suzie Cappa May Art Night Twenty Seventeen, 722 Saint Joe St, Suzie Cappa Art Center Rapid City, SD, 605-343-4581

April 30 Dakota Choral Union Concert Series, Mozart’s Vespers Calvary Lutheran Church Rapid City, SD May 5-7 Naja Shrine Circus Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD, 605-343-4076 May 6 Craft Sale, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Minneluzahan Senior Citizens Center, 315 N 4th St Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1887

May 20 Walk for Wishes, Make a Wish Foundation, Main Street Square, Rapid City, SD 605-791-4500 May 31 WREA Member Tour to Dry Fork Power Plant, Gillette, WY 605-393-1500 to reserve a seat on the bus June 9 Suzie Cappa April Art Night Twenty Seventeen, 722 Saint Joe St, Suzie Cappa Art Center Rapid City, SD, 605-343-4581

Profile for West River Electric Association

April 2017 Cooperative Connections  

PDF of the April 2017 Cooperative Connections Magazine

April 2017 Cooperative Connections  

PDF of the April 2017 Cooperative Connections Magazine