A big thank you goes out to all who participated in our 80th annual meeting on June 1st in Fergus Falls. I appreciate your interest and support of Lake Region Electric Cooperative, our Board of Directors, and our outstanding team of employees. It was great to interact with you and we hope that you found the meeting enjoyable and interesting.
Construction is Underway
We’ve started the summer construction season at a brisk pace. Our 2017 work plan is slated to be the cooperative’s largest, coming in at around $9 million. We have embarked on an extensive plan that will expand and improve the physical plant assets of our core electric distribution business. Service reliability, safety, and building for future loads are the reasons for this aggressive work plan. When you see our crews or those of our contractors working in your area, know that their work is to ensure the strength and security of the electric cooperative that you own.
As we previously announced, our subsidiary has also begun construction on the natural gas extensions into the Deer Creek and Parkers Prairie communities. Lake Region Energy Services (LRES) is using its expertise in partnership with Greater Minnesota Gas (GMG) to fill an unmet energy need in these communities. Today, as LRES is building natural gas extensions into this unserved area, it is reminiscent of the times when Lake Region Electric Cooperative first built power lines into the countryside. Just as electricity has improved lives, we fully expect that the option to have natural gas service will have a similar impact.
Another example of innovation is the recent launching of our GoWest Solar program. GoWest Solar offers for purchase a small, south-westerly facing, ground mounted solar array for installation on the member’s property. The GoWest Solar rate is built around the value of reducing peak summer demand. The array is to be situated in a way that will produce solar power when it is most valuable, during the early evening, peak usage hours of summer. In addition to supplying a portion of their own energy needs, participating members will receive a valuable bill credit during the months of June, July, and August. Additionally, GoWest Solar participants are also eligible to receive a free 100-gallon ETS rate water heater. Electric Thermal Storage (ETS) water heaters store hot water that is produced during off-peak hours. In this way, ETS water heaters provide a perfect complement to electricity produced by wind. Please contact our office for program details and qualifications.
These are just a few of the latest steps Lake Region Electric Cooperative is taking to serve our members’ energy needs. Providing electricity will always be our core mission. Yet, we also recognize that this cooperative can develop other ways to remain relevant and useful to the membership. Our new endeavors, as well as those that will come, will always be measured by this standard—it must help Lake Region’s members and serve to strengthen the cooperative.
Keep Safety a Top Priority
It’s great to see people outdoors, active in all sorts of activities. This is an appropriate time to remind everyone to slow down, look all around, and always keep a safe distance, a minimum of ten feet, from power lines. Accidental contact with power lines can be deadly. Please think about this warning each time you raise an irrigation pipe, swimming pool skimmer pole, ladder, dump truck box, or move farm equipment. Also take time to note the location of underground electric transformers and junction boxes, as well as guy wires that stabilize power poles.
If you are doing any digging or excavating, always call 811 first. Don’t start on your project until underground utility facilities have been flagged.
Lately, there have been some heartbreaking incidents of electric shock drowning in the United States. This can happen when electric wiring on a dock is improperly installed or becomes damaged. It can create a situation where the lake water surrounding the dock becomes energized. Coming into contact with the water in a situation like this can, and has, become deadly. Always remember, water and electricity do not mix! That’s true for a flooded basement, a bathtub, and a lake!