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MAY 2016

VOL. 17 NO. 1

Energy Rx Wall Drug Looks for Prescription for Savings P8-9



Wall Town Voltage Conversion This winter continues to throw some surprises at us. One day it is 75, the next, several inches of snow. Our sales have been flat this entire winter. We will see what summer brings. As you may recall in Wall, we had intended to do a voltage conversion within the town in October 2013. Does anyone remember Atlas? It “slightly” derailed our plans! Well here goes our Dick Johnson second time at this! 10471500 CEO/General Manager The week of May 9, we are planning on completing a conversion of lines within the Town of Wall to 14,400 Volt operation from the current 7,200 Volt system. So why do we want to do this? The benefits of voltage conversion are numerous. Among those are a cut in our line loss helping to save money to West River on our power bill, less strain on some hardware, and it will make it substantially easier for us to provide backup service from another substation in the event of problems in our Wall substation. This means an increased ability to back-feed Wall from the next adjacent substation located at Wicksville approximately twenty miles west of Wall. The biggest issue within the town you will see is with the transformers now in place. As we have changed transformers out or added services the last few years, we have installed a dual rated primary connection for both 7,200 and 14,400 Volts. Those transformers can continue in service. However, if it is not a dual voltage transformer, a replacement of the transformer will be needed. Most members within the town of Wall will need to have

2 Ma y 2 0 1 6 • cooperative connections

their transformers changed out. This will require a scheduled outage to make the change. The transformer changes will be grouped into sections. Each member will be contacted to let them know when there will be a scheduled outage in their section. It’s usually not a long process and often is completed in a matter of an hour or two. The linemen will be inspecting each structure as a whole and make any necessary repairs needed. With a change of this magnitude, I am sure there will be some hiccups no matter how much planning we do. If something does happen, we will do our very best to try and address those problems as soon as possible. You will see the line crews from all 3 offices helping. You may also see them working nights and early mornings to accommodate many of our commercial accounts. Again, this conversion will only affect the Town of Wall. This is another example where West River Electric plans for the future to maintain a safe, reliable electric system. Thanks to our members for their patience during this conversion. I thought I would also remind you of the rate change effective April 1. The main change you will see is a change to the base rate for residential/farm accounts. It will raise from $18.50 to $20.75. The kWh energy charge will remain the same. The commercial accounts will see a small increase in their base charge but the kW demand rate will increase to $5.50 for the first 25 kW. We had hoped to lower our kWh charge for our residential accounts when we increased the base charge, but we had a 6% increase in our power costs for 2016. To recoup those additional power costs, we left the kWh charge the same.

Employee Biographies Bonnie Almeida - 5 Years I grew up in Chadron, Nebraska, where I attended K-12 school. After graduation I moved to Rapid City where I got a job at Landstrom’s Black Hills Gold Jewelry where I worked for the next 7 years. I met, my brother’s friend, Steve, whom I fell in love with and married in 1988. He was serving time in the military and in 1995 we were transferred to North Carolina where I was a stay at home mom until 2000 when I applied for a customer service position at an Auto Insurance Company. In 2001 we had the opportunity to return to Rapid City where I accepted a position as a customer service representative for Montana Dakota Utilities where I worked until 2009 when they moved the customer service out of Rapid City. I was offered a position at Black Hills Federal Credit Union where I worked until the opportunity became available at West River Electric in April of 2011 to become a Member Services Representative. I enjoy serving the membership of West River Electric on the phone or at the counter. I take great pride in being able to solve the member issues or directing them to the person who can. My husband, Steven and I have two grown children. Together we enjoy attending the Rush Hockey games, playing cards with our children, traveling, hiking and going on walks with our grand dogs Nova and Athena.

Dakota Douglas - 4 Years I grew up in and attended school in Bayard, Nebraska. I graduated from High School in 2010, I was on the wrestling team and played football for the Bayard Tigers. After high school, I went on to attend the Western NE Community College for Powerline Construction and Maintenance which I gradu1236601 ated from in 2011. After graduation I was hired on for summer help by Lacreek Electric in Martin, SD. In 2012 I had the opportunity to begin working for an electric cooperative, Highline Electric Association, out of Holyoke, Colorado. In May of 2015 I became a Journeyman and after working at Highline Electric for 3 1/2 years I became a lineman for West River Electric I married my High School Sweetheart, Cortnie in August of 2014. Together we enjoy hiking, camping at the lake with our two dogs Sage and Rouge. We enjoy snow boarding, traveling and seeing different areas of the Midwest. We like to take in an occasional Cornhuskers Football game. I enjoy working for West River Electric, the opportunity to get to experience South Dakota at it’s finest and the awesome members we serve. The opportuniMy family, back row myself and wife Cortnie. Front ty to work outdoors and keep the power flowing to each of you makes my day. row, my dad Rick, mom Tina and sisters Tessa and Linz.

cooperative connections • Ma y 2016 3



D.I.Y. Electrical Safety Each year, thousands of people in the United States are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires, accidents or electrocution in their own homes. The current economic downturn has inspired more homeowners to tackle do-it-yourself projects than ever before. Faced with declining home values and aging properties, homeowners may choose not to pay for the services of a licensed electrician. However, most do not have the training or experience needed to safely perform home electrical work, increasing the risk of immediate injuries and electrocutions and potentially introducing new dangers into the home. Working with electricity requires thorough planning and extreme care and cutting corners can be a costly mistake.

D.i.Y. Facts and statistics • There are an estimated average of 70 electrocution fatalities associated with consumer products per year. • The most recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that there are nearly 400 electrocutions in the United States each year. • Approximately 15 percent of electrocutions are related to consumer products. Wiring hazards, including damaged or exposed wiring and household wiring, accounted for nearly 14 percent of these deaths. • An estimated 360,900 residential building fires are reported to United States fire departments each year and caused an estimated 2,495 deaths, 13,250 injuries and $7 billion in property losses. The leading cause of the largest fires was electrical malfunction. • There are about 37,000 nail-gun injuries each year; a 200 percent increase since 1991. • Electrical failure accounted for 89 percent of electrical fires in residential buildings from 2003-2005. D.i.Y. safety tips ESFI strongly recommends hiring a qualified, licensed electrician to perform any electrical work in your home. However, if you do decide to do-it-yourself, consider the following safety tips before undertaking any home electrical project: • Make an effort to learn about your home electrical system so that you can safely navigate and maintain it. • Never attempt a project that is beyond your skill level. Knowing when to call a professional may help prevent electrical fires, injuries and fatalities. • Always turn off the power to the circuit that you plan to work on by switching off the circuit breaker in the main service panel. • Be sure to unplug any appliance before working on it. • Test the wires before you touch them to make sure that the power has been turned off. • Never touch plumbing or gas pipes when performing a do-it-yourself electrical project. Source: esfi.org 4 May 2016 • Cooperative ConneCtions

Kids’ Corner Safety Poster “take care when using electricity – it has the power to kill!” Evelyn Fritz, 10 years old Evelyn is the daughter of Jamie and Kristi Fritz, New Effington, S.D. They are members of Traverse Electric, Wheaton, Minn.

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.



Comforting Casseroles Mexican spoon Bread Casserole 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef 1 large onion, chopped 1/4 c. chopped green pepper 1 clove garlic, minced 1 cup tomato sauce 1 can corn, undrained 1-1/2 tsp. salt 2 to 3 tsp. chili powder

1/2 c. sliced ripe olives Cornbread Topping: 1-1/2 cups milk 1 cup cornmeal 1/2 tsp. salt 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 2 eggs, beaten

Brown first 4 ingredients in a large skillet until onion is tender; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, corn, salt, chili powder and olives; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered while preparing cornbread topping. For topping: Mix milk, cornmeal and salt in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar cheese and beaten eggs. Turn hot meat mixture into 2-1/2-quart dish and pour cornbread mixture on top. Bake uncovered at 375°F. for about 40 minutes.

Chicken Crescent almondine Hot Dish 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup sour cream Topping: 1 (8 oz.) can crescent rolls 2/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 1/2 cup slivered almonds 3 T. melted butter

Combine the first 8 ingredients in saucepan. Cook until hot and bubbly; pour into ungreased 9x13-inch pan. Separate rolls into long rectangles and place over chicken mixture. Combine remaining ingredients and spread over dough. Bake at 350°F. for 20 to 25 minutes. Nancy Noess, Mitchell

Chicken noodle Hot Dish 1 can each chicken noodle, cream of chicken and cream of celery soups 1 lb. ground beef, browned

1 lb. lean ground beef 1 large onion, chopped 1 large green pepper, chopped 1 small head cabbage chopped 1 cup reduced sodium beef broth

1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies 1 (8 oz.) can pizza sauce 1 cup cooked brown rice 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

In a Dutch oven, cook beef, onion and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the cabbage, broth, tomatoes and pizza sauce. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until cabbage is tender; stirring occasionally. Stir in rice; heat through. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and let stand until cheese is melted. Makes 6 servings Nutritional Facts Per Serving: Calories 140, Total Fat 7g, Cholesterol 10mg, Sodium 330mg, Carbohydrates 13g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Protein 7g (3.8g from dairy), Calcium 15% Daily Value Pictured, Cooperative Connections

turkey and Dressing Casserole

Carolyn K. Wickert, Baltic

3 cups cooked and cubed chicken 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 (8 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained 1 (4 oz.) can mushrooms, stems and pieces 2/3 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise 1/2 cup chopped celery

inside-out Cabbage rolls

1 onion, chopped 1 T. soy sauce 2 cups water 1 cup uncooked rice

4 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken 3 T. chicken broth 1 box stuffing mix, prepared 1 (4 oz.) can sliced mushrooms

1 (10 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup 1 (10 oz.) can golden mushroom soup

Place cubed meat in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Moisten with chicken broth. Top with prepared stuffing mix. Add canned mushrooms, if desired. Mix soups and spread over casserole. Cover with greased foil and bake at 350°F. for 45 to 60 minutes. Can be prepared and frozen; adjust baking time. Charlotte Hoverstadt, Webster

tuna Biscuit Casserole 1 can Cheddar cheese soup 1/2 soup can milk 1 can tuna, drained if using oil-packed

1 T. grated onion 1 T. parsley flakes, optional 1 pkg. or tube (10) refrigerated biscuits

Please send your favorite dairy, dessert and salad 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 2016. All entries must include your name, mailing address, telephone number and cooperative name.

Mix soup and milk until smooth. Add tuna and break in chunks, then add onion and parsley flakes. Heat just to boiling. Put biscuits in ungreased pan (9x9 or 11x2 inch.) Pour heated mixture over top of biscuits. Bake uncovered at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until biscuits pop up through the Combine all ingredients in baking dish. Bake at 350°F. for 1 hour. sauce and are well browned. Michele Hoffer, Brandon

Elfrieda Postma, Sioux Falls

Cooperative ConneCtions • May 2016 5

Payment Options Available

Ways to Pay My Bill Editor’s Note We make it easy and convenient to make your payment. Choose the best option for you and your family. By Veronica Kusser

6 M ay 20 1 6

We here at West River Electric offer many different options to pay your electric bill, making it convenient day or night to accomplish the task. Payment 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. 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. Pay by Telephone at 1-855-730-8712, follow the prompts and have your payment applied to Visa, Master Card, Discover or echeck. You can make your payment by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Auto Pay - The most convenient way to pay. You can authorize payment to be automatically withdrawn from your checking, savings or major credit card each month. You can sign up for this service by using “Smart Hub” on our website or contact either the Rapid City office at 393-1500 or the Wall office at 279-2135. 4944200 On Line - Visit www.westriver.coop and click on the Pay My Bill icon to sign up. You can pay your bill, view the bill and look at your usage history, along with other pieces of useful information. You will receive an e-mail or text telling you when the monthly bill is ready to be viewed. We also have a quick way to pay that does not require you to sign up. Click on the link Pay Now, enter your billing account number and Last Name, then you are ready to make your payment. Use your Mobile App by registering for an online account by clicking on the Smart Hub link at www.westriver.coop. Once you have an account set up you can download the App called Smart Hub from the App Store or the Android App

cooperative connections

from Google Play. These links are also available on our Smart Hub Website. This is available for IOS and Android devices. 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 Police Station, 41 Main Street in Wall, SD and at First Interstate Bank, 404 S Avenue in New Underwood, SD. 4607400 Prepaid Metering - You will not have to pay any deposits and you will not receive any late fees. You pay the same kWh rates as everyone else. Your balance is calculated on a daily basis allowing you to know how much credit you have every day. You will be notified by e-mail, or phone when your credit balance reaches $25. There is no charge if you accidently let your money run out. Simply make a payment and the power will be restored shortly. Payments can be remitted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling our IVR system at 1-855-730-8712. If you are a registered NEXUS user, you can stop in the office and swipe your finger to make a payment. MoneyGram payments are accepted at the following locations for West River Electric. Walmart, Don’s Valley Market, Advance America and Money Lenders. If you make a moneygram payment there is $1.50 charge for the payment. So as you can see there is a convenient payment option for everyone.

Why have utility poles?

Why Replace Poles? The wooden power pole is, and always has been the backbone of the West River Electric system. From the Coops beginning the wood pole and associated hardware and wire have been the preferred method for getting power to our members. Even with all the advances in technology over the years the humble wooden pole is still the most cost effective way to deliver power. Our entire transmission system is wood pole construction as is the majority of our distributions system, why? Because it works! Woods poles have proven to withstand time better than any other option. We have poles installed in the late ‘40’s that are still in service, which is a great return on our investment. Of course, unlike items sold on late night TV, they are far from “set it and forget it”. All of our lines are patrolled annually and required maintenance is performed at that time. We also hire a pole testing contractor to inspect approximately 3,000 poles every year for internal decay. At this rate every pole is inspected on a 12-15 year rotation. This process allows us to

replace decaying poles before they can be downed by storms. Typical failure rates for our poles are less than 1%. Of course poles fail for other reasons as well. Storms, vehicle accidents and lightning strikes all can damage poles to the point that they need to be replaced. When a pole needs to be replaced we typically do it “hot”, or without shutting off the line. This prevents any inconvenience for the members on the line. Our crews receive training on live line work methods and have an annual refresher course to keep them updated on new techniques and equipment. The pole change is a fairly straight forward process. One of linemen goes up in an insulated bucket and covers and ground wires or other phase wires with rubber cover-up installed while wearing rubber gloves and sleeves. He then unties one wire at a time from the pole, placing it in a wire holder on the bucket. When the lines are all free from the pole he lifts them up and back to make way for the rest of the crew to change the pole. The rest of the crew uses the digger/derrick to pull the old pole, ream out the hole and set the new pole. Once it is tamped, the lineman in the bucket replaces the wires and the job is complete. So next time you see a crew changing a pole rest assured that it is a worthwhile investment in the future of the Coop.

cooperative connections • Ma y 2016 7

A Prescription for Energy Savings Wall Drug Turns to Co-ops for Tips to Save


By Brenda Kleinjan

hen Rick hustead, chaiRman of the Wall Drug Store in Wall, S.D., wanted to look at ways to cut the tourist destination’s energy bill, he knew just who to call: his local Touchstone Energy® Cooperative, West River Electric Association in Wall. Wall Drug has historically been one of WREA’s largest using members, and easily the largest user in the eastern half of the co-op’s territory which extends from Rapid City to the Badlands and north into southern Meade County. “We’re thrilled in Wall, S.D., to have WREA here, to have a major power company headquartered in a town of 800 is a big thing. When we have questions about our consumption and bill, we know who we’re talking to,” said Hustead. The Hustead family started The Wall Drug Store in 1931 as a simple pharmacy by Ted and Dorothy Hustead, Rick’s grandparents. “They were slowly going broke in the Depression.


There was a constant drone of tourist cars going West on US16, which was a packed dirt road. Dorothy thought how hot and dusty travelers were,” Rick explained. The Husteads began advertising free ice water and once they could get the customers to stop then they could tempt them with purchasing items in the store and at the old fashioned soda fountain. The plan worked. The attraction, which Hustead notes is America’s No. 1 roadside attraction, which has grown from a single, 24 foot by 50 foot storefront pharmacy to encompass more than a square block, welcoming visitors from across the world to the prairie town year round. The store occupies 78,000 square feet on the street level. Storage areas extend below the store and above on a second story not open to the public. And as a business owner, Hustead looks for ways to make the operation run more efficiently while still

Shining a Light on Energy Savings

Left: West River Electric Association’s Robert Raker, Willy Nohr and Adam Daigle inventory the more than 5,400 light bulbs used at Wall Drug. Right: Under the watchful gaze of one of the denizens of The Wall Drug Mall pedestrian area, Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Chad Reisenauer uses an infrared camera to look for energy leaks. Opposite Page: WREA’s Veronica Kusser and BEPC’s Reisenauer review the steps for the energy audit with Rick Hustead, Chairman of The Wall Drug Store. Cover: Using a meter, Reisenauer measures the lumens emitted from one of the 3,100 light fixtures at Wall Drug.

giving their guests the best experience possible. (By one estimate, more than two million people will visit Wall Drug each year.) “We want to be continually improving,” said Hustead. “In visiting with Veronica (Kusser) at WREA about our bill, I asked if we could have an energy audit, thinking there must be things we can do to improve our usage and consumption. We had started doing what we could to switch to LED lighting.” Kusser and her co-workers enlisted the assistance of Chad Resienauer, a certified energy manager at Basin Electric Power Coopera-

Home energy use is different for everyone and hinges on several factors, including size of home, members in your household, your location and preferences. Knowing how your energy is divided will help you prioritize your energy saving habits. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration www.EIA.gov

tive, in Bismarck, N.D. The group spent a day inventorying and assessing Wall Drug’s energy usage. One thing that was immediately apparent was that Wall Drug has a lot of lights. A lot of lights. More than 5,400 bulbs housed in 3,100 fixtures throughout all levels of the business. Combined, the six different types of bulbs used – if turned on all at once – would account for more than 125 kilowatts of load. So, Hustead’s steps to convert to LED lighting were certainly a good start. Reisenauer’s recommendations included continuing to convert the lights to more efficient bulbs, examining the amount of lumens of light needed for different tasks and sizing the lighting appropriately (in some instances, spaces may be over lit and fixtures can be removed, in other areas more lights may be needed.) While Resinaer’s recommendation are unique to Wall Drug, the basic concepts apply to most all homes and businesses: look for the things that use the most energy and see how they can become more efficient. For appliances, make sure that gaskets are tight and filters are clean and consider upgrading the appliance to an EnergyStar® model. Often times, the energy saved can cover the costs of the upgrade in a short timeframe.

Traditional lighting can amount to 11 percent of your monthly energy use. Energy saving light bulbs can slice lighting costs by 75 percent. • Replace outdoor lighting with its equivalant outdoorrated LED bulb. LEDs work well in cold weather. • Use fixtures with electronic ballasts and T-8, 32 Watt fluorescent lamps. • Use outdoor security lights with a photocell and/or a motion sensor. • Turn off unnecessary lighting. A lumen is a unit used for the measurement of visible light. A traditional 60 Watt light bulb produces 800 lumens. See the chart below to see how many Watts other bulbs use to produce the same amount of light.



Incandescent bulb CFL LED


60 60 Watts

13W 7W

Source: Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives 101 Easy Ways to Save Energy and Money For more tips and helpful videos, go to: http://www.touchstoneenergy.com/together-we -save/energy-saving-tips/


Our Future Our Youth

Youth Tour Update E

ducating our youth is important not just in the school systems, but educating them on

what an electric cooperative is and what it means to them and their families is important as well. The Directors and employees here at West River Electric take this job very seriously. For the past 4 years West River Electric has offered a Youth Tour trip for a student or students

Editor’s Note What Does My Electric Coop Mean to Me and My Family? Here is what the Youth Tour delegates had to say about it... By Veronica Kusser

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who are going to be Seniors in the fall. This is a trip to our Nations Capital where they are given the opportunity to see how our government is involved in the electric cooperative and what the two have in common. This year Cade Venhuizen, Corbin Olson and Aaron Kukla will have the opportunity to be a part of the trip. Included are the essays they wrote to qualify for this opportunity.

Cade shared with us “What Does My Electric Coop Means to Me and my Family?”. It is important that our Electric Coop shows a strong sense of commitment to the community they serve. West River Electric exemplifies the many attributes that are a part of being committed to the community they serve. Employees of West River Electric work hard to help their business thrive. In addition to contributing to the success of their company, the employees of WREA also are very involved in the communities that they call home. Not only are West River Electric employees extremely dedicated to their job, but they also serve with a helpful hand and a friendly smile. When asked questions, the employees answer politely and professionally while providing the best possible answer. During power outages West River Electric restores electricity in a timely manner, no matter the weather conditions. They are committed to providing the best possible service to their members, and they can be counted on to provide their service in a timely manner. My family and I know that we need not worry about our electricity during a blizzard or other natural disaster. We know that we can count on our good friends at West River Electric to get the power back on as soon as possible. We seldom need to call and report a problem because the employees are already working on a solution before we notice the problem. We might need to use the generator for a while, but rest assured, West River Electric will have the power back on in no time. Without our Electric Coop my family would likely not have electric service. Due to our geographical location, other electric companies would not consider us profitable. Therefore, West River Electric is a vital part of our daily lives. West River Electric is committed to their community. Many of their employees volunteer in the community they reside in through the ambulance and fire departments. Without them, ambulance and fire departments would not be possible, especially in small communities. West River Electric also contributes to their communities through a program called “Operation Roundup”. This program benefits many different organizations throughout the communities. If members choose to be a part of the program. West River Electric will round their electric bill up to the nearest dollar. All of the extra change goes into a fund that certain organizations or groups can receive donations from. Involvement and dedication to the community and its residents are what makes West River Electric so great. Commitment to the community is very important to my family. West River Electric and their employees strive in this aspect by portraying the many features that make a great worker and community member. Our community and its different organizations would not be so successful without the help of West River Electric and their hard-working dedicated employees.

cooperative connections

Aaron wrote the following essay on “What Does My Electric Coop Mean to Me and My Family”. My Electric Coop means so many things to me and my family. A lot of important reasons come to mind, that include comfort, convenience, entertainment and education. When I think of comfort, I think of warm nights in the winter and cool days in the summer in my home. I think of being able to flip a switch and have a room light up in front of me. Thanks to the reliable source of electricity we are not only able to get fresh water whenever we need it, but we are also able to have it hot or cold. With the power our Electric coop provides, my family and I are able to live comfortably. When I think of convenience, I know I will be able to use things when I want them. We are able to keep ample food both fresh and frozen in our refrigerator thanks to electricity and enjoy it at any time. I am able to make a bag of popcorn as a late night snack or have cold milk for my breakfast. Having the power of electricity means I have what I want when I want. When I think of entertainment, it means playing a game with my family in a warm and bright room on a cold winter’s eve. I think about being able to turn on the television and cheering for my team. Thanks to our Electric Coop, there is never a boring moment in my household. When I think about education, I know I will always have a well-lit room so I can tackle my math homework. I never think twice about being able to come home and turn on my computer and be instantly in touch with the world. With the help of our Electric coop and the services it provides, I am a more educated and more developed individual. In the fall of 2013, winter storm Atlas knocked out the power at our home. My family and I were affected greatly by this event, because we lost each of the things I just described. I never knew how much we depended on our electricity until it was no longer available. Thanks to the hardworking people at our Electric Coop, my family and I regained power after only three days. Now there isn’t a moment that goes by that I’m not thankful for the power that my family and I are receiving from the Electric Coop. My Electric Coop means much more to my family and I than just comfort, convenience, entertainment, and education; it also means that my family and neighbors have an important say in the services we receive and the benefit we gain. My family and neighbors are just as important to our Electric Coop, as the Coop is to my family and neighbors. Corbin Olson wrote the following essay on “What Does My Electric Coop Mean to Me and My Family”. When I was asked to write an essay on the importance of my Electric Co-op, I must admit that I was stumped. However, after interviewing different family members and researching the topic online. I was surprised to learn of all of the benefits provided by a co-op. I was very interested to learn that my family’s electric co-op has a great deal of importance, and we are very fortunate to be able to be a part of it. I believe that a coop provides a tremendous service to its customers for many reasons. First, I would like to evaluate the fact that a coop is owned by customers. Whether we admit it or not, if something does not belong to us, we simply do not care about it as much. I believe that this applies perfectly to a business model. If one person was in charge, and he/she was not a customer who felt the effect of corporate decision, they would be much more likely to make decisions that were potentially unfair to customers. However, in the example of a coop, corporate leaders would never make decisions that would be unfair to customers because they are a customer. Secondly, I believe that a coop demonstrates what the Bible teaches about being selfless and working together. Today’s society has created a multitude of people who are worried solely about advancing themselves and becoming wildly successful, It is incredible to think about the fact that people involved in a coop are selfless enough to contribute to a

greater good. The coop business model provides more benefit to all of the customers, and it treats everyone fairly instead of electing one CEO who reaps the company’s benefits. Lastly, our electric coop provides a level of simplicity that is simply unmatched by large corporations. It is extremely beneficial to my family and I that our electric coop is very personable. It would be highly unlikely that one would receive the same treatment of being listened to regarding his/ her problems at a large corporation versus their local coop. Also, since a coop promotes customer happiness with a great deal of effort, their customer care including yearly financial returns, regular meals with company updates, and much more is lightyears beyond the service provided by a corporation. In conclusion, I am very grateful that my family has the opportunity to be a part of an electric coop. After researching this topic, I can now say with certainty that our electric co-op is extremely important to the wellbeing of our family for many reasons. I am grateful for the opportunity to be considered for this incredible experience to Washington D.C. I am also grateful for my increased knowledge regarding the benefits of an electric coop, and as I begin to grow and make plans for my future, I look forward to one day being involved in a coop. cooperative connections • Ma y 2016 11

Hot Water on the Grid Can Your Hot Water Be a Battery?


ost people think of theiR WateR heateR as

By Thomas Kirk and Brian Sloboda

Advanced community storage strategies employ electric water heaters to help electric co-ops to beat peak prices and save members money. (Illustration by NRECA)

a device designed solely for heating bath water or helping to wash a sink full of dishes. But electric water heaters can provide some of the most rapidly responding, flexible, scalable and cost-effective energy storage available. By adding bidirectional control to electric resistance water heaters, GIWHs enable a utility or third-party aggregator to quickly and repeatedly turn the devices off and on. Bidirectional control is a much more powerful tool than standard direct load control, which only allows devices to be turned off, because it effectively turns the water heater into a battery. Traditional batteries supply power when generation is low and absorb power when generation is high. In this way, they help modulate the supply of electricity to follow the load. GIWHs can’t supply electricity, but they provide exactly the same functionality by reversing this equation: They can modulate the load in order to follow generation. In times of overgeneration, fleets of water heaters can be switched on to absorb excess power, and in times of undergeneration, they can be switched off to shed load and redistribute the existing electricity on the grid. Thus, aggregated GIWHs can act as virtual power plants to quickly and effectively control the amount of power on the grid. Moreover, these fleets are completely scalable and can perform this functionality within seconds.

Benefits To The Utility GIWHs enable the utility or aggregator to shift loads, perform demand response, conserve revenue via the arbitrage of wholesale electricity, generate revenue via ancillary services, and keep the grid stabilized during unexpected events. Load shifting and traditional demand response. In addition to traditional demand response, which sheds loads in times of peak demand, GIWHs


can be used to shift loads and perform intelligent load control. Pre- or postcharging of GIWHs around peak times and smaller spikes throughout the day can smooth the load curve while maintaining customers’ supply of hot water. Instead of simply shedding the peak load, the energy consumption is redistributed to times of lesser demand Arbitrage of wholesale electricity. Electricity

providers can charge GIWHs when the price of energy is low and discharge them when the price is high, saving utilities and their customers money. This strategy can be especially useful for cooperatives and municipal utilities, where the savings can easily be passed along directly to customers. Revenue from ancillary services. Utilities can also use GIWHs for frequency regulation or other services. Frequency regulation – or just regulation – is the second-by-second matching of generation to the load. Depending on the market, there can be significant revenue potential from regulation. Furthermore, the need for regulation will only increase as more intermittent renewables are added to the grid. Solar and wind power, for example, inherently fluctuate with the availability of sun and wind, causing generation to spike and dip unexpectedly. Regulation is required to smooth these fluctuations and keep generation matched to the load. Not many resources are flexible enough to provide this service, but energy storage can do it very well. The monetary value of frequency regulation depends on the transmission organization that monitors and controls the delivery of high-voltage electricity on the grid. Regional transmission organizations (RTOs) cover large interstate areas, and independent system operators (ISOs) cover smaller geographical areas. Heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) can’t provide frequency regulation nearly as well as electric resistance water heaters can. Although they’re a great energy-efficiency technology and are gaining in market share due to efforts by the DOE and Energy Star, HPWHs can’t be cycled off and on nearly as quickly as electric resistance water heaters can. They also don’t draw as much power as electric resistance water heaters. As such, the revenue potential from regulating HPWHs is only one-eighth the revenue of electric resistance water heaters. Grid stabilization. Perhaps one of the most valuable services that GIWHs provide is the ability to respond to grid stabilization events within seconds. If a transformer trips or another unexpected event occurs, GIWHs allow the utility or aggregator to shed or increase load within seconds. Additional benefits and implications. Not all locations on the grid are created equal. GIWHs are more valuable to distribution-constrained areas than to areas with excess distribution resources because they can reduce peak demand, potentially allowing the utility to defer distribution upgrades. For territories that have plentiful renewable energy resources, utilities or aggregators can consider a renewable storage water heater (RSWH). RSWH systems use a dedicated auxiliary thermal storage tank (or tanks) to capture low-cost or no-cost excess renewable electricity. The auxiliary tank sits next to the original hot water tank and supplies the renewably generated hot water when it’s available. The tank uses a mixing valve to dilute the hot water to reduce temperatures to standard domestic hot water (DHW) levels before delivering the water to the customer.

What’s Happening With GIWHs Now? Great River Energy, a generation and transmission company in Minnesota, currently controls tens of thousands of large-capacity water heaters for arbitrage benefits to its customers. The co-op charges the GIWHs at night, when the wholesale market price for electricity is low, saving its customers money while providing the same amenity. Dairyland Power Cooperative, another generation and transmission company in Wisconsin, also has a large fleet of water heaters it uses for arbitrage.

Community Storage Gives Co-ops Flexibility By Cathy Cash –ECT.coop Energy storage—the holy grail of the electric power industry—that will save consumers money and give electric cooperatives new flexibility might be as close as your water heater. So says new research from The Brattle Group, a global economic consulting firm. NRECA, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Great River Energy, and the Peak Load Management Alliance commissioned the study, “The Hidden Battery,” to launch a “community storage” initiative to aggregate battery-like features of appliances. Electric water heaters rank third-largest in residential electricity consumption, behind space cooling and lighting, according to the research released in February. “The magnitude of this relatively untapped resource is significant.” Advanced community storage strategies can equip electric co-ops to beat peak prices and save their members as much as $200 a year – enough to pay for a gridenabled water heater within five winters, says the study. Further, these water heaters can interact with the electric grid to help with balancing and frequency response. Great River Energy controls more than 110,000 residential water heaters that can store more than 1 gigawatt-hour of electricity. Between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., 65,000 electric thermal water heaters mass enough hot water for an entire day; 45,000 water heaters are used to shave peak demand. “We believe there’s a battery hidden in basements all across our service territory,” says Gary Connett, director of member services at the Maple Grove, Minn., G&T. Community storage also is an important tool for meeting Minnesota’s “25 percent by 2025” renewable energy standard that is resulting in more variable generation resources. “When the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, large-capacity water heaters can be enabled to make immediate use of that energy to heat water to high temperatures,” Connett says. “Water heaters can be shut down when renewables are scarce and wholesale costs are high.” NRECA worked closely with NRDC in 2015 to achieve federal law that preserves the production of large gridenabled water heaters that 250 electric co-ops already rely on for energy savings programs. Editor’s Note: South Dakota electric cooperatives, especially those in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota, have a long history of using energy savings from water heating. Contact your local electric cooperative for more information. COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS • May 2016 13

Co-op news

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Youth Excursion

Road Trip to Bismarck, ND Deadline is May 20, 2016 Youth Excursion Road Trip this summer? West River Electric will sponsor area students at the South Dakota Rural Electric Youth Excursion. This four-day event will be headquartered out of Bismarck, North Dakota. 10586300 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, sightseeing and an opportunity to make 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. 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 25, and will arrive back home Thursday, July 28. 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 _____________________________________________

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.

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

Address______________________________________________________ City______________________________________State_____Zip_______ Telephone_____________T-Shirt Size_____ Age_____ School Attending______________________________ Grade__________ Send to West River Electric Association, Youth Excursion, PO Box 3486, Rapid City, SD 57709. For more information regarding the Youth Excursion contact Veronica Kusser at 605-393-1500 or e-mail veronica.kusser@westriver.coop. 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 14 Ma y 2 0 1 6


cooperative connections

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 info@westriver.coop 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.

Call Before You Dig! stats February 2015 Number of Meters: 16,288 KWH 25,998,349 February 2016 Number of Meters: 16,586 KWH 26,518,679

Co-op news

Application Deadline July 8, 2016 We invite all of our members to participate in a member-to-member contribution option that’s quick, inexpensive and unites the entire membership to help each other. Operation RoundUp is designed for ease and maximum benefits for the program. Members volunteering for the Round-Up option agree to have their monthly bill rounded up to the nearest dollar with the extra pennies going to the program. The average donation will amount to approximately $6 during the course of a year. Imagine, if 50% of West River Electric’s nearly 13,000 members signed up for Round Up, the fund would have $39,000 to be used to help local charities and civic organizations. Your last bill of the year will show your total contribution for tax purposes. Your voluntary participation will help someone else. Round-Up is voluntary! Just fill out the form below and return it with your next bill payment to your local office or drop it in the mail. Operation Round-Up will be accepting applications for funding; the deadline to apply is July 8, 2016. Anyone interested in applying for funds, please stop by to pick up an application at the Wall or Rapid City Office, call Wall 279-2135 or Rapid City at 393-1500 or go online to westriver.coop. To sign up to donate to Operation Round-up fill out the form below and return with your payment. ___ Yes I want to participate in Operation Round Up ___ Please send me more information Name ____________________________________________________ Address___________________________________________________ City _____________________________________________________ State ______________ Zip _ _________ Phone ___________________ Acct # ________________ I would like to donate an additional amount over and above the normal roundup amount of $________per month, please apply this to my bill each month. Please return with your bill or fill out and mail to: West River Electric, PO Box 412, Wall, SD 57790.

enerGY tip If you are like most Americans, you have at least one ceiling fan in your home. Ceiling fans help our indoor life feel more comfortable. They are a decorative addition to our homes and, if used properly, can help lower energy costs.

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.

(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 Bill Bielmaier, Wall, S.D. Treasurer Larry Eisenbraun, Wall, S.D. Directors Howard Knuppe, New Underwood, S.D. Marcia Arneson, Rapid City, S.D. Jamie Lewis, Rapid City, S.D. Jerry Hammerquist, Caputa, S.D. Chuck Sloan, Piedmont, 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 Postage aid 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 • Ma y 2016 15

regional Dateline

April 23 Camp Friendship, Broncos Benefit Basketball Game RC Central High School Rapid City, SD, 605-348-4540 April 24 Jeff Dunham, Perfectly Unbalanced Tour Rapid City, SD, 1-800-468-6463 April 24 BH Chamber Music Society, The Axiom Brass Quintet, First Congregational Church Rapid City, SD, 605-341-6425 April 28-30 Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake, Robbinsdale Lanes, Rapid City, SD 605-343-1488 May 5 West River Electric and Caterpillar are teaming up with United Blood Services for a Blood Drive, Rapid City office Rapid City, SD, 605-393-1500 May 6-7 Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake, Meadowwood Lanes, Rapid City, SD 605-343-1488 May 7 BH Coin and Stamp Show Senior Center, Spearfish, SD, 605-717-8375 or 605-641-2050

Events of Special Note April 29-May 1 Shrine Circus, Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 605-394-4115

Photo CoURtESY of KRYSti BUxCEl BaRnES

April 8-30 Firehouse Brewing Theatre Outside Mullingar Firehouse Restaurant Brewing Theatre Rapid City, SD, 605-348-1915

July 8 Deadline for Operation Round UpÂŽ Applications, West River Electric Association, Wall Rapid City and Enning 605-393-1500 or 605-279-2135

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.

May 14 High School Graduation, 3 p.m. Community Center, Faith, SD May 21 High School Graduation 3 p.m., High School Gym New Underwood, SD May 21 High School Graduation 1:30 p.m., High School Gym Wall, SD May 22 High School Graduation, 2 p.m. RC Christian School Rapid City, SD May 22 Douglas High School Graduation, 2 p.m., Patriot Stadium, Box Elder, SD May 22 RC Central High School Graduation, 1:30 p.m. Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD

May 22 RC Stevens High School Graduation, 1:30 p.m. Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD May 22 St. Thomas More High School Graduation, 2 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Rapid City, SD June 1-4 South Dakota Senior Games Rapid City, SD, Contact Kristi Lintz at 605-394-4168 June 3-5 Wall Regional Rodeo, Wall, SD 605-279-2665 June 17-19 Crazy Horse Stampede Rodeo and Gift from Mother Earth Crazy Horse, SD June 25 Wall 4-H Rodeo, Wall, SD 605-279-2665

July 7-9 Wall SDRA Rodeo, Wall, SD 605-279-2665 July 14, 21, 28 Wall Play Days Rodeo Wall, SD, 605-279-2665 August 4 Wall Play Days Rodeo Wall, SD, 605-279-2665 August 16-18 Dakotafest, Schlaffman Farm Mitchell, SD, 651-768-2194 September 23 West River Electric Appreciation Day, Rapid City Office, Rapid City, SD 605-393-1500 October 8 West River Electric Annual Meeting, Wall Community Center, Wall, SD 605-279-2135

Profile for West River Electric Association

May 2016  

May 2016