2015 Annual meeting recap
Incumbents (from left) Deon Vilhauer, Dwight Wrangham and Josh Kramer were re-elected to serve another three years on the cooperative’s board of directors. As board members, they receive training, in part, from the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Capital Electric Cooperative held its 69th annual meeting of the membership June 2 at the Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck. More than 1,100 members, families and guests attended to learn about cooperative issues; to collect a capital credit check if they qualified; to enjoy entertainment from Joe Friday’s Dixieland Jazz Band and eat a free meal; and to cast their vote and elect three members to serve on the board of directors.
This year, the board of directors approved the retirement of 50 percent of unretired “co-op” capital credits from 1999 totaling more than $483,000, which exclude capital credits allocated by the co-op’s generation and transmission (G&T) providers. Employees distributed checks prior to the meeting. Unclaimed checks were mailed to members who were unable to attend.
During the business meeting, three members were elected to serve three-year terms on the board of directors. Dwight Wrangham of Bismarck ran unopposed and was re-elected to represent District 1. Josh Kramer and Deon Vilhauer, both from Bismarck, were re-elected to represent District 2. Capital Electric congratulates Dwight, Josh and Deon, who will serve another three-year term, and thanks Curtis Jundt for wanting to be active and involved with his electric cooperative.
Business meeting highlights
The Capital Electric membership was welcomed by Bismarck City Commissioner Mike Seminary. North Dakota’s congressional delegation provided video greetings.
Katie Moch, a certified public accountant with the auditing firm of Eide Bailly LLP presented the annual financial report.
Jerry Doan, board president of the Charitable Trust, gave a report on the cooperative’s Operation Round Up program.
Christopher Kraft, a Century High School graduate, accepted the Capital Electric/Basin Electric Power Cooperative student scholarship. He plans to attend the University of Mary, where he will play football and study health care administration.
During the president’s and manager’s combined report, Board President Wrangham and Manager Lars Nygren shared some of the past and current events and activities at Capital Electric, 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. The co-op added 793 accounts in 2014.
The consolidation with Central Power Electric Cooperative was completed in 2014, and Capital Electric is now a fully consolidated member that purchases 100 percent of its power from Central Power. Central Power purchases its power from Basin Electric and the Western Area Power Administration (Western). With the consolidation, Central Power also owns Capital Electric’s transmission and substation assets.
“We are still the first responders to problems with the transmission system, but Central Power is responsible for routine inspection, maintenance and system improvements,” Wrangham stated.
This year, Central Power will add another substation adjacent to the Horizon substation in northwest Bismarck, and convert the Grandview Pines and Circle K substations to 115 kilovolts (KV) and increase the substation capacity. Central Power will also re-conductor part of a line that runs along 71st Avenue and Centennial Road, and upgrade it to 115-KV.
Nygren reported that the Basin Electric membership continues to grow, due in part to the oil industry in the Williston Basin. To accommodate the load growth due in the Bakken, Basin Electric plans to construct a 345-KV transmission line in northwestern North Dakota. A second high-voltage transmission line with three additional substations for power delivery are also being planned. The addition of these transmission lines will allow Basin Electric to meet the growing demand in the Bakken from its existing power plants and through purchase power agreements with other utilities, including three new wind farms recently announced in North and South Dakota.
Basin Electric has also constructed natural gas-fired peaking stations in northwestern North Dakota t meet the demand for the new load. The 135-megawatt (MW) Pioneer Generation Station has been constructed near the site of a new natural gas processing plant northwest of Williston, and a 45-MW Lonesome Creek Station has been constructed southeast of Alexander. An additional 45-MW unit is planned at Lonesome Creek and another 112-MW unit is planned for Pioneer.
“The bottom line is we will continue to see pressure on wholesale power costs, which in turn will put pressure on our retail rates,” Nygren said. “To attempt to reduce the pressure, we plan to utilize funds from our revenue deferral account to lessen the impact of future rate increases. During 2014, we utilized $380,000 of the revenue deferral funds to help meet our financial requirements. We currently have approximately $2 million left in the account to be used by 2020. This account represents dividends we received from Dakota Gasification Company from 2007 to 2011. We set these amounts aside to try to keep electric rates stable in the upcoming years.”
Nygren also noted that Capital Electric can utilize the accelerated expense of the Western drought adder to help offset potential rate increases, and that Basin Electric will likely not be retiring capital credits in the near future because their infrastructure needs will prevent them from having the cash to pay significant capital credits.
Capital Electric continues to make system improvements. In 2014, the co-op added 4.6 million in plant additions, and rebuilt 25 miles of overhead line. This year, the cooperative plans to automate the Christiana and Moffit substations, which will allow the staff to monitor and control breakers in the substations from headquarters.
Nygren also updated the membership on the territorial dispute between the cooperative and Montana-Dakota Utilities, over the Menard’s Inc. facility southeast of McKenzie.
Members were reminded about electronic payment options including SmartHub and the prepaid billing system. For information on both options, visit www.capitalelec.com or call 701-223-1513.
Nygren thanked the employees of Capital Electric for their work in serving members and for their dedication to safety. He gave special recognition to Doug Jahner, meter reader-repairman, and Les Vietz, crew foreman, who have reached 40 years of service.
Wrangham closed the meeting by stating the cooperative is strong financially.
“We will continue to strengthen as we all work together,” he concluded.