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West River Electric April 2018 Vol. 18 No. 12

Getting the DIRT on Underground Damages Page 8

A Day with a Lineworker Page 12


Spring is in the air

With that a 2017 Recap It is March Madness time. There is basketball at every turn from high school to college. I just love this time of year. With every tournament game there are the statistics. With statistics in mind, I thought it would be a good time to give you a peek at how our 2017 year ended. Our sales of 287 million kWh for 2017 was an increase of 5.3% from 2016. Our revenue was up 9% over 2016. Our final margins were $2.4 million after deferring $300,000 of our revenues to offset expenses in future years. We had total margins of $3.6 million in 2016. The difference in margins is mostly due to the Rushmore/Basin Electric allocation which was $1.6 million last year vs. $900,000 this year. I have a graph at the left that shows where each dollar of revenue was spent.

Dick Johnson General Managerl

Our employees worked safely in 2017 ending with with a 0 DART rate.

We added about 260 new services this year much in line with last year. We continue slow, steady growth. Our total assets at year end were $117 million with our debt of $69.7 million. We added over $6.6 million in new plant and retired $1.1 million. We added 20 miles of underground but retired over 40 miles of overhead line. Most of that reduction in overhead was the final close out of the Enning transmission line that went down in 2013. I like to look also at what our members’ bills did. Our “average” rural member used 1,200 kWh with the average bill of $146.46. Contrast that to 2016 of 1,160 kWh and bill of $137.33. To do some calculations, your average kWh price you paid was 12.2 cents per kWh. Our urban members used an average of 955 kWh compared to 932 in 2016, and their average bill was $124.01 this year compared to $117.11 in 2016. They paid an average of 13 cents per kWh. The reason the urban cents per kWh is higher is because the base charges are the same for both classes ($23.00), but the rural members used more kWh. Therefore they had more kWh to spread that fixed cost over. The old adage rings true that the more you use the more the per kWh cost goes down. All these statistics should matter to all of you. REMINDER – you are a member/owner of West River Electric. The growth helps you. The margins of $2.4 million are allocated back to you in capital credits that we retain for a period of years to help fund that growth. 3032600 We return those capital credits in future years when the member elected Board decides it is prudent to do so financially. You will see those annual capital credit allocation statements in your mailbox shortly. One statistic I am proud of is that our employees worked safely the entire year with a 0 DART rate. DART is an acronym for the number of days someone is away from work due to work related injuries. Zero is the number we always shoot for, but as you know, it is very difficult with our line of work. I am proud of our guys and gals for all they do to work safely. It won’t always be 0, but we will do everything we can to keep it there. I hope as the weather warms, outdoor projects begin, farming starts, and calving is in full swing, you take an extra second to do it safely. I love having our members around for a long time!


Cooperative Connections | April 2018


Digger/Derrick was used a great deal during the clean-up from the October 2013 Storm that we experienced.

DIGGER/DERRICK What do we use them for? Mike Letcher info@westriver.coop

As discussed previously a digger/derrick is a vital piece of equipment for linemen. It consists of a telescopic crane with an auger attached. This unit is mainly used for digging holes and setting poles. They are also used to screw in Digger/Derrick anchors for guy is a vital piece wires to support of equipment for lines.

lineman restoring power after a storm in our rural areas.

Here at West River Electric our diggers range from 40-60ft. with lifting capacities up to 20,000 lbs. The cost of the standard digger is $250,000, but has a life expectancy of up to 30 years. The typical digger/derrick is mounted to a two or four wheel drive truck for mobility. These are used the majority of the time, but, we do have one that is mounted on a track chassis.

This, commonly referred to as a track digger is, used mainly for storm work or for special projects where the line is not accessible by wheeled vehicles. The track digger performs the same functions as a regular digger truck once on site, but it can get to any job site, no matter the weather or soil 10650000 conditions. While it will go anywhere, it travels at a very slow rate of speed. It needs to be hauled as close to the site as possible and then unloaded and driven, at a whopping 9MPH, to where the work is being done. While it is slow and not used all that often, it is a vital piece of equipment to have on hand. Without it, storm restoration would take much longer. April 2018 | Cooperative Connections



Power Tools and Equipment Safety Many do-it-yourself projects involve the use of power tools. Working with power tools requires skilled instruction and training. They can be deadly if not properly used or maintained. The most common scenario for power tool-related electrocutions is when the equipment comes in contact with live electrical wires while it is being used.

Facts and Statistics: „ According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are nearly 400 electrocutions in the United States each year. „ Approximately 15 percent of electrocutions are related to consumer products. „ 8 percent of consumer product-related electrocutions each year are attributed to electrical accidents with power drills, saws, sanders, hedge trimmers and other electric power tools. „ 9 percent of consumer product-related electrocutions each year are caused by accidents involving the use of lawn and garden equipment and ladders, which come into contact with overhead power lines.

Power Tool Safety Tips: „ Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) with every power tool to protect against electric shocks. „ Do not use power tools with an extension cord that exceeds 100 feet in length. „ Never use power tools near live electrical wires or water pipes. „ Use extreme caution when cutting or drilling into walls where electrical wires or water pipes could be accidentally touched or penetrated. „ If a power tool trips a safety device while in use, take the tool to a manufacturer-authorized repair center for service. „ When working with electricity, use tools with insulated grips. „ Appropriate personal protective gear should be worn when using power tools. „ Do not use power tools without the proper guards. „ When using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner or a pressure washer, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid electric shock.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): „ Safeguards on outdoor electric tools are there for a reason. Make sure that they are always in place before operating. „ Invest in the safety goggles, hearing protection, dust masks, gloves and other safety gear as recommended for each tool. A few dollars now are well worth the lifetime of good sight and hearing that they are protecting. „ Wear the appropriate clothes for the job. Wearing sandals while mowing the lawn is just asking for trouble. Source: safeelectricity.org 4

Cooperative Connections | April 2018

Five Easy Ways to


Every Day

1. Conserve water by taking showers instead of baths. 2. Turn off all lights when you leave a room. 3. Bring your reusable bags to the market and other stores when shopping. 4. Go paperless. Pay as many bills as possible online. 5. Ditch the car and walk when possible.


“Spring is coming! Don’t fly kites near power lines.” Taylor Brooks, 7 years old

Taylor is the daughter of Tyson Brooks, Lake Andes, S.D. He receives his internet service through Charles Mix Electric Association, Lake Andes. 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 Jalapeno Poppers

Southwest Chili Cups

18 fresh jalapenos cut in half 18 slices thin bacon, cut in halves (stems intact if possible), seeds and membrane Bottled barbecue sauce cleaned out (wear gloves)

1/2 lb. lean ground beef 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese


1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

2/3 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Rubber gloves or plastic bags for working with the jalapenos

4 tsp. McCormick® Chili Powder

2 green onions, chopped

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese and chopped green onion mixing gently. Stuff the pepper halves with the cheese mixture. Wrap bacon slices around each pepper half, covering as much of the surface as possible and do not stretch the bacon. Secure the bacon with a toothpick and then brush the surface of the bacon with barbecue sauce. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 275°F. for 1 hour or until bacon is done. Serve hot or room temperature. Note: These can be assembled a day in advance, kept refrigerated and then baked or baked, frozen and reheated prior to serving. Experiment with different cheeses or jellies instead of barbecue sauce.

Mocha Freeze 1/4 cup cold strong coffee

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 3/4 cup sour cream 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

Brown beef in large skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat. Add beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, 1 tsp. oregano and garlic powder; mix well. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Prepare corn muffin mix as directed on package, adding remaining 1 tsp. oregano. Spoon batter into 12 greased and floured or paperlined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. Spoon beef mixture into each cup, gently pressing into batter. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400°F. for 12 minutes or until edges of muffin cups are golden. Cool 5 minutes in pan on wire rack. Top each cup with sour cream and green onions. Makes 12 servings.

Pictured, Cooperative Connections

1 T. chocolate syrup 1/2 cup crushed ice

Combine ingredients in blender; blend well. Makes 4 servings. Becki Hauser, Tripp

Triple Berry Special 1 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup raspberries

1-1/2 cups strawberry yogurt

1 cup blueberries

2 T. honey

1 cup milk

2 T. flax meal

Combine ingredients in blender; blend well. Hannah Schoenfelder, Cavour

2 (8 oz. each) pkgs. corn muffin mix

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 317, Total Fat 13g, Sodium 659mg, Cholesterol 67mg, Carbohydrates 38g, Protein 12g, Dietary Fiber 3g

Judy Mendel, Doland

2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened

2 tsp. McCormick® Oregano Leaves, finely crushed, divided

1 tsp. McCormick® Garlic Powder

Orange Julius 1/2 cup water

1 T. sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1/3 cup frozen orange juice

6 ice cubes

Combine ingredients in blender; blend well. Fay Swenson, Rapid City

Please send your favorite casserole, dairy and 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 2018. All entries must include your name, mailing address, telephone number and cooperative name. April 2018 | Cooperative Connections



1934 Viewfield Baseball

VIEWFIELD Named for the Panoramic View Veronica Kusser

Lodge School 1910 veronica.kusser@westriver.coop

The year was 1882, when Mr Benjamin Oliver, better known as uncle Ben, made his way to a new townsite which would become Viewfield. He established the Viewfield post office and store. That was just the beginning of a community that served as home to many. Mr. Oliver and his wife Debbie were known for opening their home to early day travelers. There was always a hot meal and a place to lay your head for the weary travelers, everyone was welcome. The Viewfield Post Office was the place to come for the mail as well as the news. Viewfield even had a newspaper, known as the Elk River Eagle, which was published right there in the upstairs of the post office, by Mr. Frank Rehnard. The post office delivered news to the community from 1882 to March 13, 1964, when rural carriers started Postmarks from Viewfield Post Office

delivering the mail out of the New Underwood post office. The dry years of the 1930’s when the drought seemed to be it’s worst and people had more time than money, baseball became the main source of entertainment. The highlight of the Viewfield community was the baseball team. A gentleman by the name of G.A. Bahr, who was a former Nebraska league baseball player, moved in to the community, and baseball became very popular. Mrs. Bridgman was one of the early day teachers in the Viewfield area. At one time she taught just about everyone around there. The school was previously a saloon and a billiard hall, but easily filled the need for the children of the


Cooperative Connections | April 2018


Early day Church & Sunday School gathering.

community to get an education. The Viewfield Church and Sunday School building which was started in 1908, was completed and dedicated in 1909 as the Viewfield Presbyterian Church, with Rev Everett Graham being the first to minister from the pulpit of the church. In 1912 the church merged with the Congregational Church of New Underwood. That didn’t mean that the church would close, it just meant that the two churches would be served by the same pastor. In November of 1957, the people of the community were devastated by the fire that burned the church to the ground. There was a need and a desire so a new community church was completed and dedicated in 1960.

The Women of the community at the hall in 1938.

Viewfield Community Hall was incorporated in November of 1921 and construction started in 1923. The hall was lit originally with gasoline lanterns until 1935 when they purchased a Westinghouse Light Plant that was used until 1950 when West River Electric came thru providing power to the hall. Over the years the hall has hosted many events to include Grange meetings, wedding & baby showers, wedding anniversaries, 4th of July celebrations, plays and dances. People came from near and far to attend events.

Viewfield Church in 1957

Clarence Oliver and his wife Charlotte were some of the early settlers in the community. They had an ice house on the homestead which they shared with neighbors who would come together to help fill it. The ice was brough from Elk Creek after the winter freeze. The neighbors sure enjoyed the ice cream that was cranked for the social events in the area from the ice stored at the ice house. The community enjoyed the potluck socials, dances, summer picnics and of course the baseball games. The berry picking parties, where choke cherries, sand cherries, buffalo berries were found along the creeks; they were the best. One thing they learned early on was to watch for the rattle snakes, everyone has a rattle snake tale. “Before TV’s, fast cars, and good roads, the neighbors depended on each other for entertainment and life was good for the Viewfield community”. April 2018 | Cooperative Connections


April is set aside as National Safe Digging Month, designed to raise awareness of safe digging practices and the need to call 8-1-1 before any digging projects.

Underground Excavation Damages Cost

$1.5 BILLION Common Ground Alliance www.cga-dirt.com

Damage to underground utilities from digging activities carries a hefty price tag. Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the stakeholder-run organization dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them, and their communities, released its comprehensive 2016 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report in 2017. The report, which is the sum of all 2016 data submitted anonymously and voluntarily by facility operators, utility locating companies, one call centers, contractors, regulators, and others, estimates that the total number of underground excavation damages in the U.S. last year rose 20 percent from the year prior, to approximately 379,000, and conservatively cost direct stakeholders at least $1.5 billion. The 2016 DIRT Report benefitted from a record-high number of event record submissions as well as a record-high Data Quality Index score (a measurement of the completeness of data submissions), yielding the most comprehensive analysis of damages to buried facilities ever compiled.


Data from 2016 informed CGA’s first-ever estimate of the societal costs associated with underground Cooperative Connections | April 2018

Always Call Before You Dig.

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

Visit call811.com for more information.

SAFETY facility damages in the U.S. As estimated by a very conservative model accounting only for stakeholders’ direct costs related to a damage, 2016 damages alone cost approximately $1.5 billion in the U.S. This estimate does not include property damage to excavating equipment or the surrounding area, evacuations of residences and businesses, road closures and/ or traffic delays, environmental impacts, legal costs, injuries or deaths. Customers and users of underground facilities were most impacted, shouldering just over 30 percent of the total societal costs, and emergency responders absorbed more than 23 percent. While the 2016 damage ratio, which measures damages per 1,000 one call transmissions, increased 14 percent from 2015, construction spending has risen such that the ratio of damages to construction spending has dramatically declined since 2004 (the first year the DIRT Report was issued), and estimated damages have stabilized into the 300,000-400,000 range since 2010 despite increased construction activity in the interim. “The substantial estimated economic impacts of damages to underground facilities across the U.S. likely do not come as a big surprise to damage prevention advocates who are dedicated to reducing that figure – along with the very human impacts these damages can have – on a daily basis. Nevertheless, we hope that the 2016 DIRT Report’s analysis of the $1.5 billion in societal impact is eye-opening to both the industry and the public at large, and provides clear evidence that reducing damages is solidly in the public interest,” said Sarah K. Magruder Lyle, president

and CEO of CGA. “The latest DIRT Report also examines damage prevention paradigms in other countries for the first time, which is an opportunity to consider how this information can help us can work toward our goal of zero damages.” Other significant findings from the 2016 DIRT Report include that damages caused by a failure to call 811 prior to digging have fallen to a record-low 16 percent, part of an encouraging long-term trend.

2016 damages alone cost $1.5 billion in the United States. Once again, CGA has made an interactive DIRT Dashboard accessible to the public through its website, allowing users to view and manipulate the data through the lens of a specific element, e.g., damages by state, root cause analysis, etc. It contains a series of dashboard visualizations that allow users to sort information through additional filters, giving damage prevention stakeholders a powerful tool for drilling down into the areas where they feel they can have the biggest positive impact. Added this year are the capabilities to filter several dashboards by state or year (inclusive of 2015 and 2016 data), as well as a new dashboard that centers around the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) determinations on the adequacy of state damage prevention programs. “CGA’s Data Reporting and Evaluation

Committee has worked tirelessly to recruit quality data submissions and explore new areas of analysis to inform the 2016 DIRT Report as part of its pursuit to provide damage prevention advocates and the public with comprehensive, relevant information,” said Bob Terjesen, Data Committee co-chair from National Grid. “DIRT data is more accessible than ever with the interactive DIRT Dashboard hosted on the CGA website, making it possible for any stakeholder to explore the unique ways each of us can have an impact on the staggering $1.5 billion in societal costs caused by damages to buried utilities, and on protecting the people who work near them.” The complete DIRT Annual Report for 2016 is available for download at www.commongroundalliance.com, and stakeholders interested in submitting data to the 2017 report or establishing a Virtual Private Dirt account should visit the DIRT site at www.cga-dirt.com.

About CGA CGA is a member-driven association of nearly 1,700 individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. Established in 2000, CGA is committed to saving lives and preventing damage to North American underground infrastructure by promoting effective damage prevention practices. CGA has established itself as the leading organization in an effort to reduce damages to underground facilities in North America through shared responsibility among all stakeholders. For more information, visit CGA on the web at http://www.commongroundalliance.com.

Key Takeaways This year’s DIRT Report highlights several key takeaways that demonstrate that despite the increase in damages submitted to DIRT, the industry continues to make progress in several key areas: „ Estimated total U.S. damages increased 20 percent, from 317,000 to 379,000. „ Since 2010, damages have stabilized into the 300,000– 400,000 range despite there being a rebound in construction spending. „ Damages per 1000 transmissions increased 14 percent, from 1.54 in 2015 to 1.76. „ However,the rate is lower than the 2013 and 2014 rates of 2.07 and 1.84 respectively, indicating a long-term trend of

improvement. „ The ratio of damages to construction spending has declined dramatically from 0.63 damages per million dollars of construction spending in 2004 to 0.41 in 2016. „ Call before you dig awareness remains consistent with historical findings at 45 percent (survey taken June 2017). „ The societal costs associated with underground facility damages in the U.S. in 2016 are estimated at $1.5 billion. This is a minimum estimate based on routine costs for stakeholders directly connected to a damaged facility. It does not include costs such as property damage, evacuations, road closures, environmental impacts,

lawsuits, injuries, and fatalities

April 2018 | Cooperative Connections



Power Lines whipping in the wind. Photo Courtesy Cheryl Walker

WIND & POWER LINES With Ice, It Is Not A Good Combination Veronica Kusser veronica.kusser@westriver.coop

Lane and Cody were awakened at 1:45 a.m. on Monday morning, March 5. They quickly dressed and headed to the shop to see what was going on. One step out the door told them that the wind had something to do with the outages that were going on. As predicted by the National Weather Service on Friday, we were in for a little wind, dense fog and maybe some snow.

Justin Wermers restoring power. Photo Courtesy Dakota


Starting with the dense fog, that caused the ice up to 1 inch in diameter. It didn’t appear that we got any new snow, but the winds caused drifting of the snow that was already on the ground. Shortly thereafter came the high winds. Gusts up to 65 mph and ice build up on the lines, is not a good combination. The outages began and continued throughout the day on Monday into Tuesday. Early Monday 10929100 morning the crews from Wall set out to help Lane and Cody, but it didn’t take long to find that we had scattered outages in the Wall area, so crews from the Rapid area were recruited to help . All outages were restored by late Tuesday morning when mother nature let the wind die down. We want to thank our members for your patience and understanding in our power restoration efforts. We take pride in providing 10

Cooperative Connections | April 2018

quality power to our members and being there for you 24/7 in the event of an outage.


Fresh Start Grocery.

Photo courtesy Willy Nohr

WORKING TOGETHER For The Membership Veronica Kusser

Photo Caption veronica.kusser@westriver.coop

Monday, March 5 was a busy day for the linemen of West River Electric. Around 2:30 p.m., 4709200 Christine Ritter took a phone call from a, member saying someone hit our transformer. They then yelled there is a fire in our building, and we are being evacuated. Christine quickly dispatched a call to Mike Letcher who headed to the Fresh Start Neighborhood Market on Timmons Blvd. Upon his arrival he found that there was a car on a trailer that became detached from the pickup that was pulling it. The car and trailer went thru a fence, taking out the transformer, and hitting a gasline on the westside of the building which started a fire. It didn’t take us long to realize that it was a good sized outage affecting approximately 575 members who were without power for about 15 minutes. Mike and Ross were able to get the power restored in a timely manner by re-routing power from another substation to the members on the St Patrick Substation. Electricians worked through the night to get the secondary wire from the building to the transformer replaced. Early Tuesday morning the WREA crews were on the ground replacing the the transformer, and

the melted primary wiring from our transformer to the underground wiring coming in. The meter socket and meter on the building were burned up as well and had to be replaced. As Brandon Bisgaard said, it was basically a total rebuild for the line crews. We had power to the Fresh Start Market restored by noon on Tuesday. We apologize for the outage and want to thank our members for your patience. April 2018 | Cooperative Connections



A DAY WITH A LINEWORKER Cooperatives’ Dependable Problem Solvers Paul Wesslund NRECA Contributing Writer

Larry’s typical day as an electric co-op lineworker actually started the night before. He was getting ready for bed when a woman reported her power was out. It was Larry’s weekly overnight to be on call, so the co-op truck was already in his driveway. He drove it to the woman’s house, ID’d a problem in the base of the meter, installed a temporary fix until an electrician could get out the next day and returned home two hours later. He would report for work at the co-op office by 7:30 the next morning. “I like hunting down problems,” said Larry. “I know I’m doing something the members can’t do themselves. They depend on us.” Larry’s like a lot of electric utility lineworkers, said Mark Patterson, director of safety and loss control for the South Dakota Rural Electric Association. “There are more people who can’t do this work than can do it,” said Patterson. “It takes specific skills and intestinal fortitude. They’re a ‘get it done’ type of personality.” Larry isn’t like a lot of lineworkers, he is a lot of lineworkers. He’s actually not a real person, but a combination of the real people interviewed for this story about a typical day for a lineworker. 12

Cooperative Connections | April 2018

Following procedure Larry started his day in a room with the rest of the lineworkers, leafing through stacks of paper – checklists, maps, work orders – planning the day’s work. They compared notes, asked who was familiar with the area they were headed to and analyzed last night’s college ball game. In addition to taking time to coordinate the plans and paperwork, these guys (there are a few women among the more than 15,000 co-op lineworkers around the country) need to keep track of a lot of equipment. Neatly organized shelves in the warehouse hold saws, drills, climbing hooks, insulated work poles, trash cans and binoculars. They need to be wearing safety gear or have it close at hand – hard hat, safety glasses, fire-retardant uniforms, steel-toed shoes, regular work gloves, hot-line safety gloves. One more delay kept the crews from driving off to their first jobs, and it was probably the most important reason of all – the weekly safety meeting. The co-op’s safety coordinator opened the meeting. He said that while catastrophic contact with electric current is always top concern, today’s meeting would focus on avoiding “slips, trips and falls that can cause very big issues.” A safety specialist from the state co-op association told the group that he disagreed with the common idea that a lineworker’s job is dangerous: “It’s hazardous and unforgiving, but it doesn’t have to be dangerous if you follow

the right procedures. We have the tools, the rules and the knowledge that can keep it from being dangerous.” By mid-morning, the convoy was ready. Three lineworkers drove three trucks: a service truck, a bucket truck pulling a trailer with a large spool of wire and a digger truck with a huge auger on top and pulling a trailer carrying a backhoe. They headed across the county for the day’s job – moving a ground-mounted transformer 500 feet up a hill, closer to an underground connection to a new barn. “It’s going to be muddy out there after the rain we’ve had,” said Larry. “When you’re working on underground connections, mud is not your friend.”

They’re a ‘get ‘er done’ type of personality. We neared the site by late morning. To avoid interrupting the field work, the team stopped for an early lunch. Over burgers, I asked Larry about his training and his typical day.

We don’t say ‘hurry up’ “There’s nothing routine,” he said. A work plan might get changed because someone crashed their car into a utility pole. Tomorrow he would be presenting a safety demonstration to a group of elementary school students. He told about the satisfac-


tion of traveling out of state to help repair hurricane damage.

When the caravan arrived at the work site, the trucks drove up the packed, crushedrock driveway, avoiding the soft ground on either side. The three lineworkers gathered near the front of one of the trucks for what a lot of co-ops call a “tailgate meeting” and this co-op calls a “job briefing.” They read through forms, noting the address, cross street, job and account number. All three men signed the form. They broke their huddle and de-energized the lines they would be working on, calling to let the office know the power had been cut. The next step was to use the backhoe to dig around the new connection pipes sticking out of the ground, making room for a ground-mounted transformer. When the backhoe finished digging around the new transformer location, it drove down to the old transformer site. The crew unhooked the electric connections then chained the transformer to the backhoe’s loader bucket to be carried up the hill. But to keep the backhoe from getting stuck in the mud on the trip up the hill, the trucks had to be backed down the driveway to clear the way for the backhoe to drive up on firmer ground. Two of the crew pulled new wire underground, then cut and spliced the two-inch diameter wires into the transformer box. They secured the connections before cleaning up the work site. On the return trip, the convoy visited the truck stop to top off the gas tanks. Back at the co-op, they checked the paperwork for the next day’s jobs, then stocked the trucks with the equipment they would need for an early start. Before we said goodbye, I asked Larry what thought of the time it took to follow all the procedures of their work day. “We don’t think, ‘this is taking a long time,’” he said. “We just think, ‘this is how you do it.’ We don’t say, ‘hurry up.’ We look out for each other.” Paul Wesslund writes on cooperative issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-forprofit electric cooperatives.

April 2018 | Cooperative Connections



Deadline to apply is May 15, for the Youth Excursion Tour to Bismarck, N.D.

Youth Excursion West River Electric will sponsor area students to the South Dakota Rural Electric Youth Excursion. This four-day event will be headquartered out of Bismarck, North Dakota. Young people attending the excursion will learn about the basics of cooperatives, how the region’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives work together and the career opportunities available at the cooperatives. The trip promises to provide an opportunity to meet new friends from other rural electric cooperatives across South Dakota. Students will tour the Great Plains Synfuels Plant, Coteau Properties Freedom Coal Mine, Antelope Valley Station Power Plant and a drive thru the 40-mw Wilton Wind Farm north of Bismarck. Evenings will be spent swimming, dancing, taking a cruise, shopping and making friends. All area high school freshman, sophomores and juniors whose parents or guardians are members of WREA are eligible to enter. Students will be picked up Monday morning, July 23, and will arrive back home Thursday, July 26. The trip is funded by WREA except for personal/shopping money. Fill out the form on the right to have your name put into the selection process.

Skyler Huber Welcome to Wall Skyler attended school in Lemmon South Dakota where he played football, basketball and ran track. He graduated from Lemmon High School in 2011. He then went on to achieve a Business Degree from the Univeristy of Mary in 2015. In 2015 he went to Bismarck State College taking the Energy Lineworker Program. Skyler worked for Grand Electric as a

West River Electric Assn, Inc. Statement of NondiscriminationI

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 10878000 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


Cooperative Connections | April 2018

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 veronica.kusser@westriver.coop. summer intern during the summer of 2016 and then was hired by Ottertail in Bottineau, ND. He started as an Apprentice Lineman for West River Electric in our Wall office February 12 of 2018. Skyler and wife Chelsea enjoy traveling, biking, hiking and hanging out with their Golden Doodle, Lilly. responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202)720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800)877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_ filing_cust. html and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 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: program.intake@usda.gov WREA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Know what’s below call Before You Dig

Use South Dakota 811 to locate underground utilities before you dig. Excavators planning to dig, drill or trench should make the required locate request to South Dakota 811 two working days before the planned work. Homeowners and landowners planning their own excavation activities are required to notify South Dakota 811 as well.

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Make sure your refrigerator door seals are airtight for maximum energy efficiency. Test the seal by closing the door over a piece of paper (so that it’s half in and half out). If you can easily pull the piece of paper out, your seal may need to be replaced or the latch may need to be adjusted.


(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. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Board President: Andy Moon

Update your Information It is important to keep your information updated with us for planned outages. If you have made a change to your phone number, email or address please send a note to info@westriver.coop or call us at 605-3931500 or 605-279-2135.

Locate Your Account Number If you locate your account number anywhere in this issue of the West River Electric Cooperative Connections you4695100 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.

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

West River Electric Office Hours

Editor Veronica Kusser – veronica.kusser@westriver.coop

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

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 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.

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

Service & Billing Questions? Contact 393-1500 or 279-2135 during offices hours. E-mail us at info@westriver.coop for questions on your account. After Hours Power Restoration: 605-393-1500 or 605-279-2135.

Other correspondence to: West River Electric Cooperative Connections, PO Box 3486, Rapid City, SD 57709; telephone (605)393-1500, Exts. 6519, 6517, 6531 or 6522; fax (605)3930275; e-mail veronica.kusser@westriver.coop.

April 2018 | Cooperative Connections



Now though May 24

Box Elder/Douglas School District Community Library, Monday-Thursdays, Douglas High School Library

March 24

March 24

Community Education, Basic Digital Photography, Wall Community Center, Wall, SD, 605-394-5120

March 25

RV United Methodist Church Palm Sunday Ham Dinner/ Silent Auction, Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1526

March 27

Community Education, Let’s Decorate Your Easter Table, Philip High School, Philip, SD, 605-394-5120

March 29

Badlands Bad River Regional College & Career Expo, Wall High School Gym, Wall, SD, 605-279-2658

March 31

Riverdance 20th Anniversary World Tour, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Fine Arts Theatre, Rapid City, SD, 1-800-GOT-MINE

April 7

April 28-29: Quilters Guild 2018 Quilt Show, Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Swiftel Center, Brookings, SD, 605-690-8281 or mcfarlas@brookings.net April 7

Community Education, Biking Basics: Let’s Get Out There, Wall, SD, 605-394-5120

April 13

Suzie Cappa Art Center Art Nights Twenty Eighteen, Rapid City SD, suziecappaart.com

April 14

Spring Craft Show, Minneluzahan Senior Citizens Center, 315 N 4th Street, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-1887

April 14

Community Education, Introduction to Yoga, Wall Community Center, Wall, SD, 605-394-5120

RV United Methodist Church Multi-Family Indoor Rummage Sale, Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1526

April 14

April 7

April 14-15

Community Education, Introduction to Yoga, Wall Community Center, Wall, SD, 605-394-5120

Community Education, Biking Basics: Let’s Get Out There, Wall, SD, 605-394-5120 Dakota Territory Gun Show, Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 1-800-GOT-MINE

April 19

Wall-Badlands Area Chamber of Commerce 50th Annual Meeting, Wall Community Center, Wall, SD, 605-279-2665

April 21

The Catalyst/Good Neighbor Club Banquet, Honoring 6 Good Neighbors, Wall Community Center, Wall, SD

April 21

Community Education, Introduction to Yoga, Wall Community Center, Wall, SD, 605-394-5120

April 25

Day of Excellence, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 1-800-GOT-MINE

April 27-29

Youth and Family Services Kids Fair, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 1-800-GOT-MINE

May 5-6

Spring Parade of Homes, Rapid City, SD, 348-7850, blackhillshomebuilders.com

May 8-9

First Annual Energize! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference, DeSmet, SD, igrow.org/events

May 10

Chris Young, Don Barnett Arena, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD, 605-394-4115

May 12

Wall High School Practice Rodeo, Wall Rodeo Booster Club, Wall, SD

To have your event listed on this page, send complete information, including date, event, place and contact to your local electric cooperative. Include your name, address and daytime telephone number. Information must be submitted at least eight weeks prior to your event. Please call ahead to confirm date, time and location of event.

Photo courtesy: Brookings Quilters Guild

SD High School All-State Band Concert, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Fine Arts Theatre, Rapid City, SD

Profile for West River Electric Association

Wrea april 2018  

PDF Version of the April 2018 Cooperative Connections

Wrea april 2018  

PDF Version of the April 2018 Cooperative Connections