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NPEC holds annual meeting

Nearly 200 members and guests attended the Northern Plains Electric Cooperative annual meeting April 8 at North Dakota Farmers Union in Jamestown. TJ’s Catering, Cleveland, provided the meal.

Keeping electricity reliable and affordable was among the many topics presented at the annual meeting. Board President Tracy Boe gave a president’s report and said Northern Plains Electric members re-elected directors Bruce Olsen of Cando, N.D., Curtis Wiesz of Heaton, N.D., and Russell Carlson of Jamestown at the district meetings in February.

Boe also reported on accidents between farm equipment and power poles and how deadly those can be. The number of farm-related accidents increases during the planting and harvesting seasons, he said, and the number of accidents continues to increase annually.

“Our main concern is the safety of anyone who tangles with our equipment,” Boe said. “Our lines and equipment are energized at dangerous voltages. Even with protective devices which operate to de-energize the line after an accident, it is still a dangerous situation for the person close to the line.”

Vice Chairman Curtis Wiesz talked about regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency and their effect on electric rates. The recently proposed EPA regulations will require newly built coal-fired power plants to reduce carbon emissions by up to half — from an average of more than 2,200 pounds per megawatt hour to less than 1,100 pounds per megawatt hour. Technology to do that isn’t commercially viable yet, he said.

“We understand the concern with carbon dioxide and agree that we, as a responsible utility, need to do our part” Wiesz said. “We do believe, however, that there is a better way to get from where we are now to where we will have to be in the future.”

The cooperative also highlighted the work of power lineman Josh Hoffman of Carrington for helping install electricity to homes in northern Haiti. As part of his second mission to the Caribbean nation, Hoffman spent two weeks providing reliable power there. Only 13 percent of Haitians have access to reliable electricity, according to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association International Foundation.

Also at the meeting, Northern Plains recognized scholarship recipient Audra Montgomery of Carrington and Youth Tour recipient Cole Christensen of Courtenay.

For more information, call 1-800-882-2500.

In the first time in the history of the cooperative, Northern Plains Electric selected a $1,000 winner at its annual meeting.

Each year, the Northern Plains Electric draws names from the 11,000 accounts in the system. If present, the winner receives $1,000. The winner this year was Judy Frey of Jamestown.