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2014 annual meeting recap

Capital Electric Cooperative members Marvin and Marlene Hochalter came to the annual meeting to pick up their capital credit check. The co-op’s board of directors approved the capital credit retirement of all unretired capital credits from 1998 totaling $1,033,000. Prior to the business meeting, employees distributed checks.
Capital Electric Cooperative members Marvin and Marlene Hochalter came to the annual meeting to pick up their capital credit check. The co-op’s board of directors approved the capital credit retirement of all unretired capital credits from 1998 totaling $1,033,000. Prior to the business meeting, employees distributed checks.

Every vote makes a difference

Every vote made a difference at Capital Electric Cooperative’s 68th annual meeting held June 3 at the Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck. More than 1,000 members attended to learn about co-op issues; to collect a capital credit check if they qualified; to enjoy entertainment and eat a free meal; and to cast their vote and elect three members to serve on the board of directors.

Three members were elected to serve three-year terms on the board of directors. Rodney Eckroth of Bismarck ran unopposed and was re-elected to represent District 1. In an extremely close election in which the Election Committee consulted the bylaws prior to making an announcement, Kyle Hilken was re-elected to represent District 2 and William Patrie defeated Rex Hollenbeck to represent District 2. Just as the second cooperative principle states under democratic member control: one member, one vote.

In this year’s election, a handful of votes made the difference. Capital Electric congratulates Rodney and Kyle, and welcomes Bill to the board. The co-op also thanks Rex for serving as a board director for the past six years, and Curtis Jundt for running for a seat on the board.

Business meeting highlights

Prior to the business meeting, the Capital Electric membership was greeted by Bismarck City Commissioner Mike Seminary. Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley and State Senator and U.S. Congressional candidate George Sinner were also on hand to address the membership. North Dakota’s Congressional delegation provided video greetings as well.

During the business meeting, Jerry Doan, board president of the Charitable Trust, gave a report on the cooperative’s Operation Round Up program. He encouraged members to opt in, if they do not already support the program.

Jonathan Materi, a graduate from St. Mary’s Central High School in Bismarck, accepted the student scholarship. He plans to attend North Dakota State University and major in engineering.

During the president’s and manager’s combined report, Wrangham and Lars Nygren, manager, shared some of the events and activities at Capital Electric Cooperative from the past year, updated the membership on power supply issues, and gave an update on the progress of infrastructure improvements. Wrangham reported the cooperative continues to see an increase in kilowatt-hour sales. Nygren added, “In the past 10 years, our consumer levels have seen steady growth.”

Wrangham said the consolidation of Capital Electric’s transmission and substation assets with Central Power Electric Cooperative was considered effective Jan. 1. Paperwork is still being reviewed and approved, and the consolidation should be complete this year.

Tom Meland, general manager and chief executive officer of Central Power, gave an overview of Central Power and discussed how Capital Electric fi t into the membership following the consolidation.

Nygren reported that Basin Electric Power Cooperative is still in the power supply-building mode. It continues to add new generation to meet the needs of its 137 member-owners. The cooperatives that serve the oil and gas industry in western North Dakota are continuing to see huge increases in demand.

“We are hoping to see our wholesale power costs level off over the next few years,” Wrangham added. “We hope we can hold rates steady for next year.” Capital Electric continues to grow and meet the needs of its expanding consumer base. During 2013, the co-op added $5.8 million in plant additions. Linemen have also been rebuilding approximately 25 miles of overhead line per year.

Wrangham reported the co-op is planning to automate the Wing and Erickson substations that serve northern Burleigh County. This automation will allow cooperative personnel to monitor and control breakers in the substations from co-op headquarters.

Wrangham updated the membership on SmartHub, an online tool that allows members to access their accounts by computer or mobile device day and night. He also reported that the linemen are using iPads to make their jobs easier and more efficient.

Nygren reflected on the co-op’s prepaid billing system, and said the members who are using it seem to like it. He also noted that 2014 has been designated “International Year of Farming” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He recognized and thanked the farmers in the co-op’s service area for serving a vital role in providing high-quality food.

Current and former directors were recognized, and current and former employees were recognized. Nygren congratulated the current employees for having an incident-free year, as they continue to do their jobs safely.

“We are proud to have been named a top-performing safety cooperative by our insurance carrier, Federated Insurance. This means we are in the top 10 percent of co-ops in the country based on our safety record over the past five years,” Nygren said.

He also gave special recognition to Jim Siirtola, a meter reader and repairman who retired in April after 37 years of service.

After the election results were announced and approved, the business meeting was adjourned.

 

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