June - Slope Electric Cooperative

slopeelectric.coop

June - Slope Electric Cooperative

integrity

JUNE 2011

116 East 12th St. • New England, N.D. 58647

(701) 579-4191 • www.slopeelectric.coop

accountability

innovation

Attend your

ANNUAL MEETING

NEW ENGLAND PUBLIC SCHOOL

New England, ND

WEDNESDAY,

JUNE 8, 2011

4:45 p.m.-Registration

5:15 to 6:15 p.m.-Free Dinner

6:30 p.m.-Meeting

Prizes,

entertainment,

food, and a good time

to visit your neighbors!

community POWER OF HUMAN CONNECTIONS integrity

JUNE 2011 • SLOPE ELECTRIC NEWS—C1


AMR PROGRESS IS NOT A JOKE

April 1 is typically the day of jokes, but that was the date the Bowman Substation became operational with Automated

Meter Reading (AMR). Members received an insert stating they were now live, and as of May 1 their readings would be

automatically posted through the AMR process. If they had been reading their meters in the past, there will no longer

be a space to record the reading.

The New England, Big Gumbo and Kid Creek Substations are currently in testing stages. Please watch your mail for an

insert regarding the go-live date.

Work continues at the Reeder, Mott, Amidon and Haynes substations. Rod Benz, AMR/SCADA technician, states, “We hope

to have the AMR equipment installed in the remaining substations by the end of 2011.”

Tessa Palczewski, billing analyst, encourages members to continue reading their meters until two things happen:

1. They receive a notification insert that their location is live; and

2. Their bill no longer has a space to record that meter reading.

She also encourages members to contact the office if there are questions and/or concerns.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are capital credits paid out to members when

Q. they reach a certain age, and how does the

cooperative disperse capital credits on an estate?

The bylaws of Slope Electric state the board of directors

determine the amount of retirement (cash back) each year,

based on the financial condition of the cooperative and other

considerations. These payments are usually made in late

May or early June in the form of a check. It further states

Slope Electric does not pay out capital credits when a member

reaches a certain age.

The capital credits are paid out to the estate of deceased

patrons. The personal representative may elect to receive

payment for the capital credits on the same rotating basis

as the patrons who continue to purchase power from the

cooperative or may elect to receive payment for the capital

credits in a one-time lump sum payment with the first $4,000

of the Slope Electric Cooperative capital credits paid out at

no discount. The amount ($4,000) shall be subtracted from

the oldest capital credits owed. The remaining amount of

Slope capital credits and the total of G&T capital credits shall

be paid and computed based on the present value of the

capital credits to be retired in future years.

I have a new AMR meter installed. Do I still

Q. need to submit a monthly reading?

Yes. Until you are notified otherwise by Slope Electric,

members still need to submit monthly readings. You will be

notified by an insert with your statement informing you that

you’re not longer required to send in a reading. At that time,

you will also notice there is no longer a place to submit that

reading on your stub.

Which number on the new AMR meter do I

Q. submit to Slope Electric as my reading?

AMR meters display a sequence of 3 outputs:

Output #1: ###### – DO NOT submit this

Output #2: 00000 – Kilowatt-Hour (KWH) Reading; submit

this one (should always contain five digits).

Output #3: #### – Voltage Reading (could range from 0235

to 0255 and will always be 4 digits) DO NOT submit this.

Why do the due dates on the bill constantly

Q. change?

The due dates are changing to be more consistent with

the length of time between the statement date and the due

date. This consistency allows Slope Electric to process the

friendly/harsh notices and time to perform disconnect for

non-payment procedures in appropriate time prior to the

next billing process.

The meter is not in use at this time. Why do I

Q. still have to submit a reading?

Reading your meter on a monthly basis allows you to

verify there is no excess usage being used on the meter or

that there are no other

problems at the

meter site. If a

reading is not

submitted within

a three-month

period, Slope linemen

will be dispatched to get a

reading at the expense

of the member. This fee

is $10 per service.

C2—SLOPE ELECTRIC NEWS • JUNE 2011


AMR

(automated meter reading)

Meter in first sequence – 888888

Slope Electric moves forward with

transitioning our system to AMR

(Automated Meter Reading).

This allows us to retrieve meter

readings from our office in the

future. If your meter had been

changed, you still need to submit

a meter reading until the process

is complete.

HOW TO READ YOUR METER

The new meters will display a

sequence of three digital outputs

which cycle continuously.

• The first display is 888888

signifying the start of the

sequence;

Digital meter reading you report

• Followed by the five-digit meter

reading you report;

•Followed by the four-digit voltage

output number.

Testing AMR will occur shortly and

members will be notified when

they can stop reading their

meters.

Digital voltage output

SLOPE ELECTRIC

JUNE 2011 • SLOPE ELECTRIC NEWS—C3


Don’t be in the dark about

GENERATOR SAFETY

Your electric cooperative strives to provide

you with reliable, uninterrupted service

every day of the year, but sometimes Mother

Nature creates unavoidable power outages. Then,

many homeowners use portable electric generators

until power is restored.

“Portable electric generators are a good source

of power during electrical outages. However, generators

that are improperly installed or operated

can become deadly,” noted Michael Clendenin,

executive director of the Electrical Safety Foundation

International.

A qualified, licensed electrician should install

your generator to ensure that it meets local electrical

codes.

Do not connect generators directly to household

wiring. For everyone’s sake — yours and the

co-op’s line crews — generators need to be isolated

from the electric co-op’s power lines. This

means you should install a double-throw switch

on your generator. Otherwise, the generator could

feed power back into utility lines as power crews

work to restore your electric service, putting their

lives at risk!

Portable generators can be very helpful to consumers

during outages. But we urge you to follow

these safety guidelines:

• Make sure your generator is properly grounded.

• Keep the generator dry.

• Make sure extension cords used with generators

are rated for the load, and are free of cuts or

worn insulation, and have three-pronged plugs.

• Do not overload the generator.

• Do not operate the generator in enclosed or

partially enclosed spaces. Generators can

produce high levels of carbon monoxide very

quickly, which can be deadly.

• Do not refuel a generator while it is running.

• Turn off all appliances powered by the generator

before shutting down the generator.

• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe

operation and maintenance.

C4—SLOPE ELECTRIC NEWS • JUNE 2011


North Dakota’s largest rummage sale event

JUNE 17 AND 18

North Dakota’s largest rummage sale event, the 10th annual

Highway 21 Treasure Hunt, is set for June 17 and 18. Communities

along Highway 21 in southwestern North Dakota

will host citywide rummage sales from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT.

Participating communities include St. Anthony, Flasher, Carson,

Elgin, New Leipzig, Mott, Regent and New England. Rural residents

will hold sales as well, so bargain hunters should watch for signs

along the route.

“With approximately 100 rummage sales over the 100-mile route,

this is the largest rummage sale event in North Dakota and possibly

the Upper Midwest,” says coordinator Luann Dart, Elgin. “Anyone

who loves rummage sales and is looking for a bargain will have a

great time at this event.”

Listings for each community’s sales will be available at certain

locations in that community, such as restaurants or gas stations.

“This is the only event of its kind in North Dakota, and it really is

fun to travel the route and browse all the sales in each community,”

Dart says. “You’ll find all kinds of treasures and have fun, too!”

The event began 10 years ago as a cooperative effort by the participating

communities to bring tourists into the area. Hundreds of

visitors from across the state drive the route each year.

A small group of volunteers from each community spearheads

the event each year and advertising expenses are paid with donations

from local, civic-minded organizations, including the Grant

County Job Development Authority and the Elgin Lions. West River

Telecommunications, Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative and Slope

Electric Cooperative have also supported the event with donations.

The Highway 21 Treasure Hunt is a “North Dakota Legendary” event.

Visit N.D. Tourism at www.ndtourism.com.

“This year, take a trip along Highway 21 and have some fun

during the Highway 21 Treasure Hunt,” Dart says.

For more information, contact Dart at (701) 584-2172.

Participating communities include St. Anthony, Flasher,

Carson, Elgin, New Leipzig, Mott, Regent and New England.

Rural residents will be holding sales, too, so watch

for signs along the route. More than 100 sales are

planned during the event.

Gonna dig? Call 811 first!

Building a deck? Planting a tree? Put that shovel down

and pick up the phone! Dial 811 before you begin any digging

project.

A federally mandated national telephone number, 811

was created to help protect you from unintentionally hitting

underground utility lines while working on digging projects.

Make the call and you’ll be notified of any dangers lurking

underground—like utility lines or gas lines. Once you make the

call, utility companies will mark the location of their

underground lines for free.

Every digging job requires a call—even small projects like

planting trees. If you hit an underground utility line while

digging, you can harm yourself or those around you, disrupt

service to an entire neighborhood and potentially be

responsible for fines and repair costs.

Smart digging means calling 811 before each job.

Whether you are a homeowner or a professional excavator,

one call to 811 will get those underground utility lines marked

for free. Don’t assume you know what’s below. Protect yourself

and those around you. Call 811 every time.

SLOPE ELECTRIC

JUNE 2011 • SLOPE ELECTRIC NEWS—C5


Entertaining

savings

Home theaters. Video game

systems. Cell phone

chargers. Electronics that

didn’t even exist a few short

years ago now consume a

large portion of electricity.

In fact, some of the largest,

high-resolution TVs can

use as much electricity

each year as a new, conventional

refrigerator.

There are ways to ease the

electronic overload on your

electric bill:

• Shop wisely. Look for

the Energy Star label, which

is given by the U.S. Environmental

Protection Agency

to identify energy-saving

products in more than 60

categories, including home

entertainment and consumer

electronics.

• Unplug the vampires.

Most modern homes never

quite shut down for the

night. Although lamps may

be off, dark rooms are typically

spotted with tiny red

and green electronic lights.

All of those little lights

and seemingly “sleeping”

electronics are using more

electricity than most would

think. For the average homeowner,

vampire electronics

represent about $100 per

year in electricity costs,

according to Energy Star.

Unplugging these vampires

effectively drives a

stake into their energyconsuming

hearts.

Unplug rarely used electronics

altogether. And plug

other appliances into a

power strip, and switch it

off when those appliances

aren’t being used.

Unfortunately, some family

room electronics, such as

set-top boxes and downloading

devices like TiVo,

can’t be turned off, because

that would disrupt the digital

data-gathering you’ve programmed

them to do. But

with a so-called smart power

strip (about $20 to $40), you

can completely turn off your

TV while leaving the alwayson

DVR plugged in.

• Reduce the brightness

of your TV. Your new plasma

or LCD TV is set by the manufacturer

to look good in the

showroom. This doesn’t mean

it’s going to perform equally

well in your living room. So

adjust the brightness and

contrast settings of your

television to extend its life

span, save electricity,

enhance picture quality, and

cut energy use by as much as

25 percent.

• Turn it off when it’s not

in use. Kind of obvious, isn’t

it? But old habits are hard

to kick.

• Unplug those chargers.

Unplug those battery chargers

or power adapters whenever

they’re not in use, because

even if they’re not connected

to electronics, they can still

consume energy.

• Sleep and hibernate.

Your TV may have this power

saver option to minimize

energy use. And your PC

and laptop will certainly

have sleep and hibernate

features to reduce power

consumption during periods

of inactivity. Enable these

features and you’ll be doing

your energy bill – and the

planet – a huge favor.

• Reconsider that plasma

TV. A typical plasma TV (less

than 40 inches) consumes

441 kilowatt-hours of

electricity per year, according

to the American Council for

an Energy Efficient Economy.

That translates into about $50

(based on 11.3 cents per

kilowatt-hour). Opting for an

LCD (liquid crystal display)

TV will cost about $8 to

operate annually – for an

annual savings of about $42

over the plasma. Of course,

weigh your decision against

the cost of a new TV.

C6—SLOPE ELECTRIC NEWS • JUNE 2011


When to turn off

computers

If you’re wondering when you

should turn off your personal computer

for energy savings, here are

some general guidelines to help you

make that decision.

Though there is a small surge in

energy when a computer starts, this

small amount of energy is still less

than the energy used when a computer

is running for long periods of time. For

energy savings and convenience,

consider turning off:

• the monitor if you aren’t going to

use your PC for more than 20 minutes

• both the CPU and monitor if you’re

not going to use your PC for more than

two hours

Make sure your monitors, printers

and other accessories are on a power

strip/surge protector. When this

equipment is not in use for extended

periods, turn off the switch on the

power strip to prevent them from

drawing power even when shut off. If

you don’t use a power strip, unplug

extra equipment when it’s not in use.

Most PCs reach the end of their

“useful” life due to advances in

technology long before the effects of

being switched on and off multiple

times have a negative impact on their

service life. The less time a PC is on,

the longer it will last.

Which gaming system is most efficient?

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) tested three top-selling video game systems to find out where they

ranked in terms of power consumption. And the winner?

Results from the experiment showed that a Nintendo Wii

system uses six times less power than a Sony PlayStation 3

or Microsoft Xbox 360 in active mode.

EPRI tested each system for one hour of active play. EPRI

found that the Nintendo Wii system used an average of 13.7 watts,

the Sony PlayStation 3 used an average of 84.8 watts, and the

Microsoft Xbox 360 used an average of 87.9 watts.

“We included only a small sample of the many gaming systems available,

but it reveals that the differences in energy use can be significant,” said

Mark McGranaghan, vice president of power delivery and utilization for EPRI.

The EPRI tests also found that all three systems now demand less power than their

earlier versions.

JUNE 2011 • SLOPE ELECTRIC NEWS—C7

SLOPE ELECTRIC


Does your home have a

window air conditioner?

Make sure that your window

unit is properly weather

stripped, and clean the filter

monthly. Keep “fresh air”

vents on window A/C

units closed.

—Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Spring SAFELY into fieldwork

Crops are not the only thing sprouting

in the spring. The rate of agricultural

injuries increases during

the planting season, brought on by the

press of machinery preparations and

fieldwork.

“Although the maintenance work on

equipment and preparation for the

planting season may seem routine, precautions

need to be taken to complete

those tasks safely,” advises George

Maher, an agricultural safety specialist

with the North Dakota State University

Extension Service.

During the spring rush, don’t overlook

the power lines that bring electricity

to your home or farm.

“Watch out for power lines and

poles,” Maher warns. “Turning the

equipment at the end of the fields can

be dangerous. Don’t snag the equipment

on the tractor’s rear wheels in

tight turns.”

Your electric cooperative offers these

other safety tips for the farm:

• Make sure you, your family and your

employees know the location of overhead

power lines, and map out routes to

avoid the lines when moving equipment.

• Maintain at least a 10-foot clearance

between the power line and the top of

any equipment. Don’t guess. Know the

height of the lines and the transport

height of your equipment.

• Be aware of increased height when

loading and transporting larger, modern

tractors with higher antennas.

• In the field, watch for electric cooperative

equipment, including guy

wires. Leave plenty of distance between

your machinery and these hazards.

• Always lower portable augers or

elevators to their lowest possible level

before moving or transporting; use care

when raising them.

• Avoid placing new storage bins

near overhead power lines.

• Avoid moving large equipment

alone. Have someone watch as you

move equipment to ensure that you

are clear of any power lines.

• Use qualified electricians for work

on grain drying equipment and other

farm electrical systems.

Electricity doesn’t allow mistakes.

And neither should you.

SLOPE ELECTRIC

COOPERATIVE INC.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Jim Kerzman, President ...................................Mott

Terryl L. Jacobs, V. Pres................................Regent

Steve Wegner, Sec. ......................................Reeder

Jerome D. Caron, Treas. ...........................Scranton

John Lee Njos ...............................................Rhame

Lyle Narum ................................................Bowman

Lauren Klewin.............................................Amidon

Anthony Larson........................................Hettinger

EMPLOYEES

Don Franklund, Clayton Hoffman .................Managers

Rex Sadler ...................................................Chief of Staff

Travis Kupper .............................Chief Financial Officer

LaWanna Wilhelm ..................Key Accounts Executive

Rodney Benz...........................AMR/SCADA Technician

Lynn Klein.........................................................Secretary

Beverly Braun.......Bookkeeper/Consumer Accts. Rep.

Judy Kirschmann................................Customer Service

Rep., Slope Services

Tessa Palczewski .....................................Billing Analyst

Kathy Lentz .................................................Receptionist

Daniela Howie ........................Operations Coordinator

Darlene Heberholz.............................Plant Accountant

Arlin Reindel .........................................Line Technician

Leonard Gartner ...................................Line Technician

Darwin Wilke .........................................Line Technician

Kenneth Dobitz.....................................Line Technician

Lyle Kovar..............................................Line Technician

Dean Volk...............................................Line Technician

Craig Turner...........................................Line Technician

Jeff Boynton...........................................Line Technician

Andrew Sonsalla...................................Line Technician

Christopher Backhaus......................... Line Technician

Kyle Binstock.................... Apprentice Line Technician

Cody Braaten.............................Apprentice Lineworker

Dustin Hoff ................................Apprentice Lineworker

Roger Wipf .............................................Warehouseman

C8—SLOPE ELECTRIC NEWS • JUNE 2011

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