3. editorial 4. Safety Tips 5. recipes 6. Dulley 7. News briefs 10 ...

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3. editorial 4. Safety Tips 5. recipes 6. Dulley 7. News briefs 10 ...

A Touchstone Energy ® CooperativeDecember 2011 VOL. 63 NO. 123. editorial4. Safety Tips5. recipes6. Dulley7. News briefs10. HolidaySafety Tips12. TransmissionDecisions Ahead14. A Helping Hand


She saw her dad blow insulation into the attic to make the house moreenergy-efficient. Then, she got an idea. Find out how your local electriccooperative can help you lead by example at TogetherWeSave.com.ERICA BECAMECONCERNED BYTHE LACK OFINSULATION INHER DOLLHOUSE.TOGETHERWESAVE.COMbasinelectric.comtouchstoneenergy.coop


editorialGrassroots Advocacy and YouISSN No. 1067-4977Produced by the following electriccooperatives in South Dakota andwestern Minnesota:Black Hills Electric, Custer, S.D.Bon Homme Yankton Electric, Tabor, S.D.Butte Electric, Newell, S.D.Cam Wal Electric, Selby, S.D.Central Electric, Mitchell, S.D.Charles Mix Electric, Lake Andes, S.D.Cherry-Todd Electric, Mission, S.D.Clay-Union Electric, Vermillion, S.D.Codington-Clark Electric, Watertown, S.D.Dakota Energy, Huron, S.D.Douglas Electric, Armour, S.D.East River Electric, Madison, S.D.FEM Electric, Ipswich, S.D.Grand Electric, Bison, S.D.H-D Electric, Clear Lake, S.D.Kingsbury Electric, De Smet, S.D.Lacreek Electric, Martin, S.D.Lake Region Electric, Webster, S.D.Lyon-Lincoln Electric, Tyler, Minn.Moreau-Grand Electric, Timber Lake, S.D.Northern Electric, Bath, S.D.Oahe Electric, Blunt, S.D.Renville-Sibley Co-op Power, Danube, Minn.Rosebud Electric, Gregory, S.D.Rushmore Electric, Rapid City, S.D.Sioux Valley Energy, Colman, S.D.Southeastern Electric, Marion, S.D.Traverse Electric, Wheaton, Minn.Union County Electric, Elk Point, S.D.West Central Electric, Murdo, S.D.West River Electric, Wall, S.DWhetstone Valley Electric, Milbank, S.D.City of Elk Point, S.D.South Dakota Electric Cooperative Connections ispublished monthly for $6 annually for member cooperatives,$12 annually for non-members by SouthDakota Rural Electric Association, 222 W. PleasantDrive, Pierre, S.D. 57501. Correspondence to: Editor,South Dakota Electric Cooperative Connections,PO Box 1138, Pierre, SD 57501; telephone (605)224-8823; fax (605) 224-4430; e-mail editor@sdrea.coopBrenda Kleinjan, EditorDawn Trapp, Communications SpecialistDesign assistance byTDG Communications, Deadwooded andersonGeneral Manager, South DakotaRural Electric AssociationLegislative advocacy is more than just lobbying.It means taking an active role in ensuring that ourcooperatives and the members we serve are protectedin legislation and regulation. Through our collectiveefforts, we have championed the electric cooperativebusiness model and helped keep the lights on for morethan 42 million member-owners nationwide. Our goalis to never stop fighting for electric cooperatives.It all starts with your participation by the electing ofdirectors and attending your cooperative’s annual meetingfollowed by the resolutions process. We call thatactivity “grassroots” activism because you are advocatingfor change at the local and state level, at the “root” ofthe organization.educationThere are two equally important parts of grassroots advocacy – education and communication.The Federal and State Legislative Issues section of cooperative.com offerseducational information about important issues affecting co-ops on the national level.We encourage you to attend a Ggrassroots workshop to learn how to interact with legislatorsor to create a political action plan. And, if you’re interested in running for a publicoffice down the road, consider attending our Campaign Academy set for March 2012 inSioux Falls and Rapid City.CommunicationCommunication is the other key component of advocacy. Sending your member ofCongress an e-mail on an important issue affecting your cooperative is a great way to keepyour legislators informed. We set up a website where you can do that quickly – we call itthe Take Action Network. Want to get your directors and employees involved? Send themto http://takeaction.nreca.coop to send their letter to their legislators.The Action Committee for Rural Electrification ® , or ACRE ® , and Co-op Owners forPolitical Action ® (COPA ® ) support congressional candidates, regardless of party, who sharepublic policy goals that are consistent with the mission of member-owned electric cooperatives.In this section of the site, you can find out which candidates are supported by ACRE,our federal political action committee.Defining Grassroots: a History of Co-op success through political actionIn the context of the electric co-op program, “Grassroots” is a powerful word. In fact,the historical success of the electric co-ops can be largely credited to that single word.Grassroots has an electric co-op definition, one that reflects its importance in the industry.“Grassroots” refers to electric cooperative activists – directors, managers, employeesand member-owners – who take an active role in the political process to protect their co-opfrom harmful legislation and regulation, as well as to promote the value of co-op ownershipto their legislators.Grassroots involvement can mean communicating with local, state and federal legislatorson issues affecting electric cooperatives. It also can mean efforts by co-op supportersthrough the co-op political action committees to help candidates who want to protectelectric cooperatives and co-ops’ mission.Electric cooperatives have cultivated a reputation on Capitol Hill as a “grassroots” organization.Legislators know that electric co-op member-owners actively get involved by writing,calling and e-mailing their legislators to have their voice heard in the political process.Grassroots advocates speaking with the same voice makes a difference on Capitol Hill.Cooperative ConneCtions • December 2011 3


TechnologyTipsBe Smart with HolidayOnline ShoppingThe holidaysare just aroundthe corner.Online sellersand shoppersare bothoptimistic aboutthe upcomingholiday season.According toShop.org’seHoliday survey,68 percent ofonline retailerssay they expectto see growth of at least 15 percent over last year.People are more eager to hit the web thisholiday season than to go into the malls and dealwith the holiday rush. With that beginning said,are you up-to-date on what online sites are safe?How can you tell?All websites you go to should be PCICompliant. PCI stands for Payment Card Industryand compliance with the industry standards isa requirement for those that accept the majorcredit cards and for software providers who haveapplications which involve the transmission and/or storage of credit card information. If breachesare found on systems that are not PCI compliant,the major credit card companies have the ability tolevy significant fines on the offending parties.Are you not sure if the shopping cart you arein is PCI Compliant? The PCI Security StandardsCouncil maintains a list of licensed shoppingcarts. Hosted shopping cart developers have toprove their compliance through an assessmentwith a Council-trained Qualified Security Assessor.Payment associations keep track of hostedshopping carts that have been certified as PCIcompliant. Visa, for example, publishes a list ofthese approved carts.Does the shopping cart you are purchasing orpaying a bill not appear on either one of theselists – you may want to reconsider making thatpurchase or paying that bill online.Source: Btinet.netSafetyTipsFire Marshal UrgesHoliday SafetyHomes and businesses across South Dakota and westernMinnesota have Christmas trees and decorations on display andSouth Dakota State Fire Marshal Al Christie reminds people to putholiday safety first throughout the season.“The trees and candles and strings of holiday lights you see thistime of year make the season especially merry,’’ Christie said. “Butthose things can be fire hazards if they aren’t handled properly.’’Christie offers these tips for making the holiday season safer foreveryone:• If you have a natural tree in your home, check the amount ofwater in the stand each day. A fresh tree can take in up to aquart of water a day.• Place the tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces andheaters, and don’t place it in an exit path.• Never use candles on or near a tree. Make sure the lights youuse are UL listed and not frayed or damaged.• Don’t use Outdoor lights indoors or Indoor lights outdoors.• Don’t overload electrical circuits. Use approved circuit strips andturn off all Christmas lights before leaving the home or retiringfor the evening.• Put lit candles in glass safety globes and keep lit candles awayfrom drafty windows and doorways.• Avoid the temptation to burn cardboard boxes or holidaywrapping paper in a fireplace. Those materials burn at veryhigh temperatures. Not all fireplaces are suited to burn thosematerials.“And, as always, make sure your smoke alarms are in properworking order and please don’t use the batteries from your alarm fornew Christmas presents, even for a short time,’’ Christie said. “Thisis a season of celebration. Following a few simple fire-safety tips cankeep it from becoming a time of tragedy.’’Source: South Dakota Department of Public SafetyKids’ Corner Safety PosterNeer clim utilitypoles.Philomena Goldade,9 years oldPhilomena is the daughterof Joe and BrendaGoldade, Lemmon,S.D. They are membersof Grand ElectricCooperative, Bison, S.D.Kids, send your drawing with an electrical safety tip to your local electric cooperative (addressfound on Page 3). If your poster is published, you’ll receive a prize. All entries must include yourname, age, mailing address and the names of your parents.4 December 2011 • cOOerATVe cONNecTONS


Reader recipesHoliday Favoriteschocolate Nut bars2 cups graham cracker crumbs1/2 cup butter, softened1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolatechips, divided1 (14 oz.) can sweetenedcondensed milkLine a 9x13-inch pan with foil, extending over ends of pan.Grease foil. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter;press into bottom of prepared pan. Melt 1/2 cup chocolatechips; stir into sweetened condensed milk. Pour chocolatemixture over crumb mixture, spreading evenly. Sprinklepeanut butter chips, 1 cup chocolate chips, coconut and nutsover chocolate mixture. Press down chip mixture lightly witha fork. Bake at 350°F. for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightlybrowned. Cool completely. Lift from pan using ends of foil.Cut into bars. Store in airtight container.Mary Jessen, HolabirdCooperative Connectionsrasperry Truffles1/2 cup evaporated milk1/4 cup sugar1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules1/4 cup seedless raspberrypreservesDoule eppermint bar1 (12 oz.) pkg. whitechocolate chips1 tsp. peppermint extract8 to 10 drops red or greenfood coloring1 cup peanut butter chips1-1/2 cups coconut1 cup chopped nutsCombine first 3 ingredients in heavy saucepan; bring torolling boil over medium heat. Stir and boil for 3 minutes;remove from heat. Stir in raspberry preserves. Add chocolatechips; stirring until melted and mixture is smooth. Chill 1hour. Roll into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in chopped almonds.Chill until firm. Cover and store in refrigerator.Maxine Smith, OwankaCooperative Connections1 (12 oz.) pkg. milkchocolate chips3/4 cup finely choppedalmonds, toasted1/2 cup crushed chocolatemint Starlite candies orcandy canesMicrowave chips in large bowl on high for 2 minutes. Addextract. Stir until chips are melted and smooth. Spread onfoil-lined 10x15-inch pan. Add food coloring over mixture.Using knife, swirl through bark. Sprinkle with candies,pressing into bark. Refrigerate 10 minutes. Break into pieces.Mitzi Rozeboom, CentervilleCooperative Connectionschocolate chip cooie mi n a ar1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour3/4 tsp. baking soda3/4 tsp. salt1-1/2 cups (9 oz.) Nestlé Toll HouseSemi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels3/4 cup packed brown sugar1/2 cup granulated sugarCombine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Place flour mixture in 1-quartjar. Layer remaining ingredients in order listed above, pressing firmly after each layer.Seal with lid and decorate with fabric and ribbon.Recipe to attach:Beat 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) softened butter or margarine, 1 large egg and 3/4 tsp.vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until blended. Add cookie mix and 1/2 cupchopped nuts (optional); mix well, breaking up any clumps. Drop by roundedtablespoonful onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375°F. for 9 to 11 minutes oruntil golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks tocool completely. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.Nutritional information per serving: Calories 180; Total Fat 9g; Saturated Fat 6g;Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 160mg; Carbohydrates 25g; Dietary Fiber .5g; Sugars 17g;Protein 2gPictured, Cooperative Connectionseanut butter udge2 cups sugar1/2 cup milk1-1/3 cups peanut butterIn a saucepan, bring sugar and milk to a boil; boil 3minutes. Add peanut butter and marshmallow creme; mixwell. Quickly pour into a buttered 8-inch square pan. Chilluntil set. Cut into squares.Carol Mizera-Amick, LeadCooperative Connectionscaramel corn2 cups brown sugar1 cup butter1/2 cup white corn syrup1 tsp. saltIn saucepan, boil together for 5 minutes first 4 ingredients;remove from heat. Add baking soda. Stir in popped cornand nuts. Put in roaster. Bake at 200°F. for 1 hour, stirringevery 15 minutes. Can be frozen.Roxy Cook, BruceCooperative Connections1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallowcreme1 tsp. baking soda7-1/2 quarts popped cornNuts, if desiredPlease sendyour favoritesoup andbread/breakfastand seafoodrecipes to yourlocal electriccooperative(address foundon page 3). Eachrecipe printed willbe entered intoa drawing fora prize in June2012. All entriesmust includeyour name,mailing address,telephone numberand cooperativename.cOOerATVe cONNecTONS • December 2011 5


Energy Cents ideasWeigh Options Before InstallingHeating and Cooling System6 December 2011 • Cooperative ConneCtionsDear Jim: My old heatingand cooling system must bereplaced. With high energycosts and future energy pricevolatility, how can I determinethe best type to gowith? – Jack W.im DulleyDear Jack: It can makewww.dulley.comeconomic, environmentaland lifestyle sense to switchto an entirely different type of heating source foryour home. The costs of fuels, such as natural gas,propane, heating oil and electricity, have shifteddramatically over the past decade. Many new heatingsystems last 20 years or more, so with widevariations in fuel costs, long-term estimated operatingcosts and paybacks are not always reliable.Electricity prices are the most stable and willprobably continue that way. For homes heated withelectricity, air-source or geothermal heat pumpsmake good sense because they can heat, as well ascool, your house efficiently.A standard air-source heat pump is basically acentral air conditioner with a few extra parts. Theoutdoor unit looks exactly the same as a central airconditioner. It is called a heat pump because it literallypumps heat out of your house (cooling mode)or into your house (heating mode) to or from theoutdoor air around the outdoor compressor/condenserunit.Among central heating and cooling systems, geothermalheat pumps provide the highest efficiencyand lowest year-round utility bills. While geothermalheat pumps have boasted much higher initialinstallation costs (due to the need to place loops, ortubing, to run through the ground or to a well orpond), the federal stimulus bill provides consumers(through the end of 2016) a 30 percent tax crediton the cost of putting in a geothermal heat pumpsystem, which makes them much more affordable.The primary advantage of installing a heat pumpof any kind is they can be used year-round for bothheating and cooling. This provides year-round savingsand shortens the payback period. In contrast, asuper-efficient furnace gets used only during winterand a central air conditioner only during summer.I use a portable heat pump in my own home/office for year-round savings. In addition to coolingthe room during summer, it also functions as anefficient portable heater during winter. It produces14,000 Btu per hour (Btuh) of cooling and 11,000Btuh of heating. This is much more heat outputthan a standard electric space heater using the sameamount of electricity during winter.The efficiency of a portable air conditioner issimilar to a window air conditioner. Although thisis less efficient than the newest central air conditioners,using one can still save money. By keepingjust one or two rooms comfortably cool with cleanair, you can set your central thermostat higher andsave electricity overall. Use it in the dining room fordinner, roll it into the living room for television andthen to the bedroom for sleeping. They are typicallymounted on castors so they can be easily rolledfrom room to room. Most operate on standard 120-volt electricity, so they can be plugged into any walloutlet near a window.When choosing a heating and coolingsystem, there are other intangible factorsto consider.A portable air conditioner/heat pump operatessimilarly to a typical window unit. The internal rotarycompressor, evaporator and condenser functionin the same way. The primary difference is it is oncastors and rests on the floor.When choosing a heating and cooling system,there are other intangible factors to consider. Everytype of system requires some maintenance whichcan increase the overall costs. A heat pump requiresabout the same amount of service as an air conditioner.Have a question for Jim? Send inquiries to: James Dulley, Cooperative Connections, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.


News riefsS.D. Wind Group Names New Executive DirectorThe South Dakota Wind Energy Association(SDWEA) has a new executivedirector.Ron Rebenitsch, former manager ofalternative technologies for Basin ElectricPower Cooperative in Bismarck, N.D.,has been named the association’s secondexecutive director effective Nov. 15.“I am humbled and honored bythis opportunity and see it as a way toencourage the development of the state’swind resources,” Rebenitsch states.Recently retired after working atBasin Electric for the past 35 years, Rebenitschbrings a vast renewable energyresume to SDWEA, which includesmanaging more than $600 million inwind projects, waste heat recapture installationsand various small distributedgeneration projects.Providing technical support to membercooperatives on a variety of issuesincluding consumer self-generation,power quality, key accounts and economicevaluations, Rebenitsch managedthe siting, development and constructionof the Crow Lake Wind Project (PrairieWinds SD1), the largest cooperativeownedwind project in the United States,located in south central South Dakota.This project also includes the SouthDakota Wind Partners project which isowned entirely by South Dakota families.“SDWEA is privileged to have oneof the nation’s premiere wind energyexperts lead our association,” states JeffNelson, East River Electric general managerand SDWEA board president. “Welook forward to working with Ron to advancethe development of this economicand environmentally friendly resourceas part of the Association’s overall goalto help build a robust wind industry inSouth Dakota.”Rebenitsch says that energy is essentialin supporting our modern societyand the global standard of living andwe will require many energy sources tomeet the needs of a growing population.Wind, he adds, has become one of theseviable sources.Though South Dakota ranks fifthnationally in wind potential, Rebenitschpoints out that in order to effectivelyBasin Electric AnnouncesNew General ManagerIn October, Basin Electric announced that AndrewSerri has been selected as the G&T’s next chiefexecutive officer and general manager.Serri, 50, will begin when current CEO and generalmanager Ron Harper retires at the end of 2011.Serri will be the fourth person to lead the nine-statecooperative since its formation in 1961. Serri hasbeen with Ameren Corporation in St. Louis, Mo.,for the past 11 years, serving as president and chiefexecutive officer of Ameren Energy Marketing since2005. He has also worked for Progress Energy (formerlyCarolina Power & Light) in Raleigh, N.C.,Andrew Serriand spent 18 years at American Electric Power in Columbus, Ohio.Serri was raised in Canton, Ohio, and is a graduate of Ohio StateUniversity with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural (environmental)engineering. He also holds a master of business administration degreefrom Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. He and his wife, Becky,have one son, Gabriel, who is 8 years old.develop this resource,significanttransmission upgradesare neededas well as attractinginvestmentand identifyingmarkets.“SDWEA canbe a catalyst inthe developmentRon Rebenitschof this resource bymaking the state’s wind resource known,attracting investors and developers andhelping to shape the policies that willsupport the development of a windindustry in the state.”The South Dakota Wind EnergyAssociation exists to support the developmentof wind energy as a sustainable,economic and environmentally friendlysource for all of South Dakota. SDWEAis a forum for exchanging ideas aboutwind development and providing accurateand reliable information for stateleaders and citizens on a variety of issuesrelated to wind energy.Phishing Scam TargetsAT&T CustomersAn e-mail scam requesting personal information from customershas been reported to the South Dakota Public UtilitiesCommission by AT&T officials. The e-mail appears to originatefrom AT&T and prompts the user to provide account and creditcard information.The PUC urges citizens to be mindful of opening e-mails orlinks and providing information to sources of which they areunsure. Misspellings or requests for banking information arecommon signs of a phishing scams.PUC Chairman Gary Hanson stated: “Being informed andtaking the right precautions will go a long way in keepingconsumers safe from scams. I encourage consumers to contactthe company directly if they ever receive such a request.”AT&T customers targeted by phishing should send a copy ofthe e-mail to the company at abuse@att.net.Consumers are encouraged to report any potential telecommunicationsscams to the PUC by calling 1-800-332-1782 orsending an e-mail to PUCConsumerInfo@state.sd.us.Cooperative ConneCtions • December 2011 7


ies om aeEROS Data CenterEROS wasestablished toreceive, processand distributedata fromNASA.by Brenda KleinjanTRAVELERS ALONG INTERSTATE 29 ARE LIKELYfamiliar with the large green information sign thatheralds the exit for “EROS Data Center.” For 40years, the building north of Sioux Falls, S.D. hasbeen the collection point for massive amounts ofdata about planet Earth.But what goes on in that building and how did itget there?The Earth Resources Observation andScience (EROS) Center is a remotely sensed datamanagement, systems development and research fieldcenter for the U.S. Geological Survey’s GeographyDiscipline. A bureau of the U.S. Department ofthe Interior, USGS was established in 1879 andis the nation’s largest water, earth and biologicalscience and civilian mapping agency. USGScollects, monitors, analyzes and provides scientificunderstanding about natural resource conditions,issues and problems.When the idea for EROS began, it wasdetermined that the facility should be centrallylocated to better receive data as NASA Landsatsatellites passed over the United States. Ultimately,South Dakota was selected as the home for EROSData Center, due in part to the role played by thelate South Dakota Sen. Karl Mundt.EROS opened in the early 1970s with a handfulof employees and the largest mainframe computerin the State of South Dakota. It currently housesone of the largest computer complexes in theDepartment of the Interior and its power is suppliedby Sioux Valley Energy in Colman, S.D. EROShas approximately 600 government and contractoremployees.EROS was established in 1971 to receive,process and distribute data from NASA Landsat8 December 2011 • cOOerATVe cONNecTONS


satellites, as well as aerial photographs gathered for the USGSand other agencies. The original 115,000-square-foot buildingwas completed in 1973 for $6 million. In March 1996, theCenter completed a 65,000-square-foot addition for $9 millionto house equipment and people for NASA’s Earth ObservingSystem Program and Landsat 7 data handling.A digital satellite image is made up of picture elements calledpixels. Arranged horizontally and vertically, each pixel representsthe minimum size of an area on the ground that is detectableby a remote sensing device. The spatial resolution of a Landsatmultispectral scanner image is approximately 80 meters (roughlythe length of a football field), while the spatial resolution of aLandsat Thematic Mapper (TM) image is 30 meters (about thelength of a basketball court).Scholars, engineers and land managers use data housed atEROS to study issues including resource development, globalchange and land use planning.Employees at the center manage an archive of more than 4million satellite images that span the globe, from ice shelves inAntarctica to volcanoes and rivers to deserts. The center alsohouses more than 8 million aerial photos covering the UnitedStates.This information provides land managers, planners, earthscientists and private industry an extensive national archive ofremotely sensed land data. This scientific information is used tomanage energy, mineral and water resources.EROS also plays an international role. The United NationsEnvironment Programme (UNEP) located its North AmericanGlobal Resource Information Database (GRID) office atEROS in 1991. Designated as GRID-Sioux Falls, the officefunctions as a partnership between UNEP, USGS and NASA.GRID-Sioux Falls makes environmental data available todeveloping countries and frequently is host to scientists fromthese countries. The extensive archive of satellite images andother data housed at EROS helps enhance the scientific basisfor decision making and advance sustainable developmentinitiatives.Analysts at the USGS EROS Center take traditional mapinformation and combine it with images acquired by sensors onsatellites or aircraft to produce image maps. These products givescientists and decision makers a sense of what things are (forexample, vegetation types) and how they relate to one another.Many of the images are available online at http://eros.usgs.govThe center is also open to the public, with guided toursof the facility at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.Visitors to the center can view a large rotating globe that isscaled so that each inch on the globe represents about 100 miles.Also housed at the center is a large format camera, which wasused aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984. Photographsobtained on the mission were used in precision mappingprojects involving the exploration of minerals and fossil fuelssuch as oil and coal.To learn more about EROS, visit http://eros.usgs.gov/#/About_Us/Visiting_Us or call 605-594-6511 to arrange a grouptour.On this page: Four Landsat images and USGS National Elevation Data (NED)were used in the creation of this unique and enhanced view of the Black Hills inSouth Dakota. Rapid City is the urban area on the left part of the image at thefoothills of the Black Hills National Forest.On the Cover: This 2003 image was captured by the Landsat 5. The fjords ofSogn og Fjordane dominate this image of the western coastline of Norway. Carvedout of mountains by glaciers, the flooded u-shaped valleys are surrounded by steepcliffs, verdant slopes and snow-capped mountain tops. The fjord in the southernportion of this image is Sognefjord. As the largest fjord in Norway, it stretchesmore than 124 miles (200 kilometers) inland. Cliffs surrounding the fjord risequickly to heights of 3,281 feet (1,000 meters) and more.Photo by S eological SreycOOerATVe cONNecTONS • December 2011 9


Make Safety aHoliday TraditionThe ElectricalSafety FoundationInternational(ESFI) is thepremier non-profitorganization dedicatedto promotingelectrical safety athome, at schooland in the workplace.We engagein public educationcampaignsthroughout theyear to reduce thenumbers of electricallyrelated fires,fatalities, injuriesand property loss.WHILE THE WINTER HOLIDAY SEASON IS TRADItionallya festive time of year filled with colorfuldecorations and family gatherings, it is too often atime of tragedy and loss as well.National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)statistics indicate that 30 percent of all home firesand 38 percent of home fire deaths occur during themonths of December, January and February.These winter fires result from a variety of sources.According to reports from the United States FireAdministration (USFA), incidence of fires caused bycooking, heating and open flame all increase duringthe winter holiday period. USFA also notes thatwinter holiday fires are more severe than the averagefire during the year across all loss measures. Holidaydecoration and Christmas tree fires, in particular,are substantially more damaging than other fires.These fires result in twice the injuries and fivetimes the fatalitiesper fire as the averagewinter holidayhome fire. During2004-2008,an average of 260home fires eachyear started withChristmas trees.Another 150 homefires per year werecaused by decorativeand holidaylights.Fire is not theonly danger facingfamilies during theholiday season.Injuries resultingfrom falls are aserious concernthis time of year aswell. About 5,800individuals aretreated annually inhospital emergencyrooms for injuriessustained from falls involving holiday decorations.In addition, 4,000 people a year are treated in emergencyrooms for injuries associated with extensioncords. Half of these injuries involve fractures, lacerations,contusions or sprains as a result of peopletripping over the cords.The risk of poisonings also increases during theholiday period, resulting not only from commonhousehold items, but also carbon monoxide (CO).The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC) reports that in 2007 the majority of COdeaths occurred in the colder months of Novemberthrough February.Fortunately, holiday home fires, fatalities andinjuries are most often preventable. ESFI strives toincrease awareness of holiday hazards so that theymay be identified and corrected before a holidaytragedy can occur.10 December 2011 • Cooperative ConneCtions


Tips for Holiday Cooking SafetyThe kitchen is the heart ofthe home. It’s where familiesgather to cook favoriterecipes, share warm meals andreconnect with each other,especially during the holidays.Unfortunately, it’s also wheretwo of every five reportedhome fires start.Take steps to protect yourhome and family from cookinghazards:• Never leave cookingequipment unattended. Turnoff burners if you have toleave the room.• Supervise children closelyHoliday Entertaining Safety Checklistin the kitchen.• Prevent fires by makingsure your stovetop and ovenare clean and free of greaseand dust.• Clean the exhaust hoodand duct over the stoveregularly.• Keep the cooking areaaround the stove/oven clear ofcombustibles, such as towels,napkins and pot holders.• Wear short or closefittingsleeves. Loose clothingcan catch fire.• To protect from spillsand burns, use the back burnersand turn the pot handlesin, away from reaching hands.• Locate all appliancesaway from the sink.• Plug countertop appliancesinto GroundFault Circuit Interrupter(GFCI)-protected outlets.• Keep appliance cordsaway from hot surfaceslike the range or toaster.• Unplug the toasterand other countertop applianceswhen not in use.• Be sure to turn off allappliances when cooking iscompleted.Use the tips on this checklist to ensure that your home is ready for all of thefestive activities the holiday season brings.ire safetyTest your smoke alarms monthly and make sure that your house is protectedby an adequate number of working alarms.Smoke alarms should be located inside each bedroom, outside each sleepingarea and on every level of your home.Share your fire escape plan, including the location of your outside meetingplace, with your overnight guests. Everyone should know at least two ways outof each room in your home.Keep halls, stairs and doorways properly illuminated and free of clutterand other objects that could hinder an escape during a fire emergency.Check to make sure your stairs, halls and entries are properly illuminated.Use nightlights in hallways and bathrooms.Consider having older guests or those with mobility issues sleep on theground floor of the house.Decorating safetyAvoid overloading electrical outlets, which can overheat and cause a fire.Do not place extension cords where they could cause a tripping hazard, likedoorways.Do not run extension cords under rugs or furniture.Keep all decorations three feet away from heating sources, including spaceheaters and fireplaces.Keep young visitors in mind. Place breakables, candles and other potentiallydangerous items out of their reach.Turn off and unplug all decorations before leaving home or going to sleep.Use only weatherproof electrical devices for outside activities. Protectoutdoor electrical devices from moisture.Heating euipment safetyHave your heating system inspected annually by a licensed, qualifiedprofessional.Use space heaters properly and safely. Keep them out of high-traffic andexit areas and at least three feet from anything that can burn.Do not leave a space heater running unattended. Turn space heaters offand unplug them when you leave the room or go to sleep.Never leave an open flame, including the fireplace, unattended.Child safetyPut small items that could pose a choking hazard, like buttons, coins andjewelry, away if you are hosting young children.Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways to keep babies andtoddlers safe.Move all cleaning products and other dangerous items out of reach ofchildren and store them in a locked area.Consider turning your water heater temperature down to 120 degreesFahrenheit to reduce the risk of scalding.In homes with young children, install tamper-resistant receptacles (TRRs) toprevent electrical shocks and burns or use safety covers on all unused outletsthat are accessible to children.Never allow children to play with electrical decorations or cords.electrical safetyTest ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and arc fault circuit interrupters(AFCIs) to ensure that they are working properly.Consider adding new safety technology like TRRs or AFCIs if you are havingelectrical system maintenance or upgrades performed.Outdoor outlets should be protected with GFCI technology to reduce the riskof electric shock.Avoid overloading electrical outlets. Check outlets regularly for problems,including overheating, loose connections, reversed polarity and corrosion.Cooing safetyNever leave cooking equipment unattended.Keep children at least three feet away from cooking appliances.Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from hot surfaces.Wear short or close-fitting sleeves. Loose clothing can catch fire.Cooperative ConneCtions • December 2011 11


eliein eliableodable oemoan eneaion and ansmission deisions lie aheadby Mike LynchA FTER WORLD WAR II, RURAL RESIDENTScontributed $5 which was then pooled together toacquire central service just like their city cousins.The concept of rural citizens aggregating resourcesso they could receive retail electric service allowedfor more accessibility to the federal markets such ashydropower being developed on the Missouri River.Cooperatives worked with the Bureau ofReclamation, which later became the Western AreaPower Administration (WAPA), to gain accessto the transmission network being developed forfederal power supply.By 1958 it became apparent that due to thegrowth of electric demand in the rural areas, itwould be challenging for preference customersin the Upper Great Plains region to meet powerrequirements.Building generation independently and askinginvestor-owned utilities to provide service tocooperative members proved too costly; therefore,to ensure future power supply, cooperatives decidedto aggregate once again by forming a Generationand Transmission (G&T) model which cooperativeslike East River Electric, Rushmore Electric andBasin Electric employ yet to this day.With a great deal of persistence and fortitude,cooperatives were able to gain transmission rights towhat is today known as the Integrated System, orIS. Made possible after Basin Electric’s first powerplant became operational in 1965, it was connectedto the joint transmission system by what wasessentially a 12-mile extension cord.Throughout the years, the IS has beenextensively developed and now spans thousands of12 December 2011 • cOOerATVe cONNecTONS


miles, crisscrossing the Upper Great Plains to deliver powerto rural electric cooperative members. Over the past decadehowever, the template of a common carrier to provide electricpower has been enhanced by creating energy markets.Years of fortifying the IS has certainly benefitted memberownersin the way power has been reliably delivered. As theelectric utility industry continues to evolve, however, manycooperatives are changing the way they think about powergeneration and transmission.For example, occasionally it is necessary to purchasepower from another power supplier in times of high demand;however, under the structure of the IS, the availability tocomplete a two-party transaction to meet this demand hasbeen eroding.As this has been happening, neighboring states, whichpreviously had markets available for co-ops to sell surpluscapacity, developed an alternate method of marketingand transmitting power through Regional TransmissionOrganizations (RTO) or Independent System Operators(ISO). The terms RTO and ISO are used interchangeably.Under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy RegulatoryCommission (FERC), RTOs provide adequate supplies oftransmission, reliable supplies of power, open access to marketsand competitive wholesale prices of electricity.The concept of energy market managing organizationsevolved when interstate pipelines were deregulated, whichsubsequently paved the way for FERC to order open access toall high voltage transmission system parties in 1996. This orderwas designed not only to facilitate competition in the openmarket, but also to provide access to renewables such as windenergy.While possibly providing more opportunity to buy and sellpower within the open market, it is becoming apparent that ifa utility is not part of an RTO or ISO, access to these marketsmay be severely limited.Co-ops have also faced numerous regulatory and legislativechallenges which have made it much more difficult to buildpower plants. However, membership in an RTO would allowgreater access to generation reserves by placing all generationand transmission into a pool.According to Wayne Backman, Basin Electric senior vicepresident of generation, there are several potential advantagesof joining an RTO including facilitation of transmissionplanning and providing the lowest possible price to consumers.Being a member of an RTO would also resolve thedifficulty to complete two-party purchase power transactionswithin the IS, Backman said.“A member of an RTO would sell all of its power intothe market, then buy it back at essentially the same rate. If amember has surplus power, it can sell back into the market at apotentially higher rate,” said Backman.Mike Risan, Basin Electric’s senior vice president oftransmission, says caution should be used in making any longtermdecision to give up control of our expansive transmissionsystem and expose our members to RTO transmissionexpansion costs.“We should have a compelling case to join an RTO,” Risansaid. “If we do join as full members, it is very difficult andexpensive to reverse.”One of the largest ISOs in the region, the MidwestIndependent Transmission System Operator (MISO), locatedto the east, includes several co-ops, investor-owned utilities andmunicipal electric providers. Southwest Power Pool (SPP) is anRTO that borders the region to the south.As a way to assess the costs and benefits of alternateoperating models, IS partners including Basin Electric andWAPA hired Charles River Associates, a leading globalconsulting firm, to conduct a high level study to evaluate theimplications of joining or not joining an RTO at this time.Based on the findings, the Charles River study concluded thepotential benefits and risks require further analysis.Though there are important considerations in the monthsahead, one thing remains clear–rural electric cooperatives willcontinue to make decisions with the primary objective to keeppower reliable and affordable for member-owners.CapX2020Though very reliable, the Upper Midwest’s electric transmission grid hasnot had a major upgrade in more than 30 years and transmission is thekey to ensuring needed power supply reaches every home and business.CapX2020 is a joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utilities inMinnesota and the surrounding region, which will expand the transmissiongrid. The project is estimated to cost $2 billion and when finished and willcomprise nearly 700 miles of high voltage transmission lines.One of those lines, the Brookings County-Hampton 345 kV line, willadd approximately 700 MW of capacity to the transmission grid, enough topower approximately 560,000 homes.In early October, the Obama Administration announced plans to speedup the federal approval and permitting process. Construction began in 2010and is projected to run through 2015.Electricity consumption continues to increase, nearly doubling inMinnesota since 1980 and is expected to grow 1 percent to 2 percentannually in South Dakota throughout the next 10 to 15 years. Thisincrease stems from not only population growth, but also the rise inelectricity demand through the increasing number of electronic devices andappliances, along with the size of homes becoming larger.The need to provide transmission to support renewable energyexpansion is another reason for CapX2020. Some of the best wind potentialis located along the Buffalo Ridge which stretches from eastern SouthDakota into western Minnesota.The 2007 Minnesota legislature adopted a renewable energy standardof 25 percent renewables by 2025 which applies to all the state’s utilities.In February 2008, South Dakota enacted legislation (HB 1123)establishing an objective that 10 percent of all retail electricity sales in thestate be obtained from renewable and recycled energy by 2015. In March2009, this policy was modified by allowing “conserved energy” to meet theobjective.cOOerATVe cONNecTONS • December 2011 13


Lending aHelping HandBy Mike LynchWITH ENDLESS REMINDERS OF OUR NATION’Sstruggling economy, it seems that success stories onthe financial front such as business creation, job retentionand creation and community developmentare seldom heard.But don’t tell that to residents in the De Smet,S.D., area.For nearly 15 years, De Smet has invested ininfrastructure and businesses development with assistancefrom the Rural Electric Economic Develop-ment, Inc., or REED Fund.Originated in 1996, REED is a collaborativeeffort of 21 consumer-owned electric cooperativesthat have actively supported both community developmentand economic growth.Beginning in 1997 with financial assistance fromREED, De Smet was able to secure a portion ofnecessary financing for construction of the De SmetRural Health Clinic through the United States Departmentof Agriculture’s Rural Economic Develop-14 December 2011 • Cooperative ConneCtions


ment Grant and Loan program.REED also provided financial assistance with theIngalls Drive street project in 2006 after the cityannexed an area near the country club.In 2010, De Smet made street upgrades for sevenmore of its city’s blocks. With REED’s help, theywere able to secure a $300,000 USDA loan and anadditional $150,000 REED loan.“Low interest financing options are few and farbetween these days so you really have to look forother options and this is definitely a good one that’sworked exceptionally well for us,” explains City ofDe Smet Finance Officer Eileen Wolkow.De Smet has also benefitted from REED fundingby the purchase of fire trucks, renovation andexpansion of a warehouse and industrial facility forlease, expansion of an existing business and constructionof a convenience store and hotel.REED covers up to 50 percent of financing needed withlocal co-ops initiating the application. Applicants need toprovide a business plan and financial projections as well as anyhistorical information if they’re an existing business.Linda Salmonson, economic development manager for EastRiver Electric, says that the REED Fund is different in severalways from a traditional lender. “We are considered a project or“gap” lender, helping them to complete their proposed projectsand do not provide any traditional banking services, counselingor ongoing banking relationship.”In addition, REED only lends for commercial, industrialor community purposes and does notprovide personal loans.De Smet-based Kingsbury ElectricGeneral Manager Garr Hintz states oneof the challenges that a small cooperativesuch as Kingsbury Electric wouldhave is financial limitation. “The powerof bringing all the East River cooperativestogether through REED gives us astronger base and more resources to drawfrom which would otherwise make itdifficult if it were just Kingsbury or DeSmet alone.”Though no approved De Smet REEDloans are on Kingsbury Electric’s lines,Hintz says the benefits are far reaching.“This partnership is a benefit to ourmembers because it’s a long-term relationshipwith neither the rural area nor urban area being ableto exist on its own.”Wolkow stresses that the city offers many amenities thatrural residents utilize including the swimming pool, summerrecreation program, library, park, streets, hospital and clinic.Rita Anderson, De Smet’s economic development director,adds that many employees from the six major industries in DeSmet, as well as those employed by the hospital and school, livein rural areas and they are appreciative for Kingsbury Electric’srole in providing funding. “Kingsbury Electric has always beenso community-minded and this just gives us more opportunitiesto help with these important projects.”De Smet is but one success story of many throughout co-opAbove: The De Smet Rural Health Clinic was built in 1997 with help from the REED Fund.Opposite Page: Rita Anderson (left) and Eileen Wolkow stand at Ingalls Drive in De Smet,S.D. With financial assistance from the REED Fund, the street was upgraded in 2006.This partnership is abenefit to our membersbecause it’s along-term relationshipwith neither the ruralarea nor urban areabeing able to exist onits own.service territories in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota.Providing financing for communities and rural areas tomake a difference in the region, REED loans have led to morethan $357 million in project investment, by helping to launch64 businesses, expand 85 companies, assist 93 communityfacility and infrastructure projects as well as to retain and createnearly 6,300 jobs.Beyond each of these impressive numbers are lives that havebeen positively impacted, which according to Salmonson, isthe most rewarding aspect of the REED Fund. “What is sogratifying is seeing communities prosper, businesses grow andneeded facilities put in place. In tying this back to our outcomes,95 percent of REED-financedprojects have local ownership.”With 88 percent of REED’s lendingestablished in communities of less than4,000 people, its mission serves a veryessential role. As a result, Salmonson saysthat the money stays locally, the ownerbecomes an active community participantand profits create jobs for others.“These are the communities that sometimesstruggle because they may not havefull-time city finance officers, lawyers orcertified public accountants to assist withacquiring funding for projects.”Dave Eide, REED board presidentand Watertown, S.D.-based Codington-Clark Electric manager, sees the REEDFund being beneficial in many ways forhis cooperative’s members. “It’s a great program available fornew or expanding businesses and community projects. It notonly helps the individuals directly involved, but is a benefitto all co-op members by way of growth in the rural areas weserve.”Eide adds that among the most rewarding aspects aboutREED is seeing people succeed and ideas becoming a reality.“Be it a community project such as a fire hall or a privatelyowned business, it’s rewarding to know we have the abilityto help make things happen and bring projects to fruitionthrough the revolving loan fund.”For more information, visit the REED website: www.eastriver.coop/programs/reed.Cooperative ConneCtions • December 2011 15


November 18ighted Christmas ParadeSisseton, S, 0-98-721November 18-19Holiday Arts Christmas CraftShow, Masonic TempleMitchell, S, 0-248-22November 19all uffalo AuctionCuster, S, 0-2-41November 19-20interfestAberdeen, S, 0-2-7081PT CRTS D SD DS CRSTS CTTeents of Special NoteDecember 3ld ashioned anish Christmasanebod Campus, Tyler, MN07-247-347December 3-4Community iving Christmas TreeAberdeen, S0-22-1789To have your event listed on this page, send complete information, including date, event, place and contact to your local electric cooperative.Include your name, address and daytime telephone number. Information must be submitted at least eight weeks prior to your event.Please call ahead to confirm date, time and location of event.November 21Parade of ightsMitchell, S, 0-99-7November 22-December 26Christmas at the CapitolPierre, S, 0-773-4010November 25Annual Holiday pen House ofthe S State Historical SocietyPierre, S, 0-773-000November 25Parade of ightsMobridge, S, 0-84-2387November 25Parade of ightsHuron, S, 0-32-0000November 25Parade of ightsSioux alls, S, 0-338-4009November 25Holiday ighted Paradeatertown, S, 0-882-8900November 25Parade of ights Chili eedChamberlain, S0-234-441November 26Show and Sell Craft ShowMadison, S0-2-244November 26Seed Stock Pen xpo Cattle og TrialPlatte, S, 0-337-227November 26estival of ights Paradeapid City, S, 0-348-1930November 26-27 anch Cowboy Christmasankton, S, 0-1-83November 26-27Territorial Professionalull iding inalsSpringeld, S 0-39-2300December 1Christmas on the PrairieMiller, S, 0-83-3098December 2Home for the Holidaysermillion, S0-24-71December 2-3ld ashioned Christmasestival, Custer, S0-73-2443December 2-3owntown HolidayxtravaganzaAberdeen, S0-22-3441December 2-3Holiday Tour of Christmas Treese Smet, S, 0-84-9189December 2-4Country ChristmasCenterville, S, 0-3-2291December 2-4Christmas in the HillsHot Springs, S, 0-74-0December 3Minnekahta uiltersuild uilt ShowHot Springs, S0-74-48December 3Christmas at the ellsell apids, S, 0-428-417December 3Schade ineyard Holidaypen House, olga, S0-27-4December 3ictorian ChristmasMitchell, S, 0-99-2122December 4Christmas on the PrairieHoven, S, 0-948-241

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