Your Cooperative

Whether you are a member, are moving into our area of coverage, or are merely visiting, we hope you will find our web site informative. Please contact us if you have specific questions not answered here. We are dedicated to our members and to the communities we call home… because that’s the power of local service.

Mission Statement

Northern Lights, Inc. (NLI) is a cooperative enterprise to improve the lifestyle of rural residents within the areas it serves. Further defined, the purpose of NLI is to provide excellent service at a competitive price.

The Board of Directors and employees of NLI share a set of guiding principles designed to fulfill the mission statement of the cooperative. Among these principles are:

  • We recognize that our first priority is to provide excellent service to the members of NLI. Our driving objective is to provide the best service possible at competitive prices.
  • We recognize that the basic component of an organization is its people. We are committed to providing our employees with a safe working environment and the appropriate resources to perform their jobs in an exceptional manner.
  • We recognize that in order to be well positioned in the future we must be financially healthy. Our policies, procedures, and actions will reflect the goal of strengthening our financial position.
  • We recognize that member loyalty is a critical component to the success of our cooperative. Our actions and decisions will reflect our desire to provide excellent service by prudent maintenance of our physical plant, regular communication with our members, and training for employees in member relations.
  • We recognize the importance of clear channels of communication between the Board, General Manager, employees, and members. We will endeavor to have honest, clear, and dignified communication so that that the policies and objectives of the cooperative can be carried out effectively.

History

Northern Lights, Inc. has a long and rich history in northern Idaho and western Montana, the area it has served since 1935. When it was established more than 80 years ago as Northern Idaho Rural Electrical Rehabilitation Association, it was the first rural electric cooperative west of the Mississippi River. At the very beginning, there were three board members and 248 rural families committed to obtaining power. Today it is one of the largest rural electric cooperatives in Idaho with over 16,500 members and approximately 2,800 miles of distribution line.

Northern Lights was organized to bring electricity to those rural areas investor-owned utilities would not serve. That philosophy still holds true today. As a not-for-profit corporation, Northern Lights is owned by its members and is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors.

Board of Directors

The Board is the policy-making body of the cooperative. The directors hold regular monthly meetings to establish policies, review co-op activities, and make other decisions affecting the cooperative. The directors are elected at the membership meeting held during the month of May each year.

The Board hires a General Manager to carry out the policies it has established. The General Manager, in turn, hires a staff to handle the operational details and to implement the policies set forth by the Board. Northern Lights’ staff of well-trained employees is committed to keeping the cooperative running smoothly.

It is your privilege to request to speak to the Board regarding any matter. An appointment should be made with the President of the Board or the General Manager prior to the meeting.

Learn more about the board by visiting the Board of Directors page.

Annual Meeting of Members

Northern Lights prides itself in being a democratic organization that gives its members a voice. Your chance to become involved and help decide the direction your co-op will take happens at the annual meeting of the members. The meeting is held primarily to inform the membership of the financial and operating condition of the cooperative, to discuss important issues affecting the co-op, and to elect the board of directors.

The annual report is available at the annual meeting and will be mailed to any member who requests it. This report details the financial standing of the cooperative.

The annual meeting is very important for the continued success of your cooperative. We hope you feel the same and will plan to attend every year. More information about annual members’ meetings, nominations, elections of the directors, and how to use a mail-in ballot can be found in the Bylaws of Northern Lights.

Current copies of NLI’s annual report and our articles of incorporation and bylaws are available by calling or emailing us.

About Cooperatives

Northern Lights is one of more than 900 rural electric cooperatives serving 42 million people in rural areas of 47 states. Cooperatives nationwide average only 6 consumers per mile of line. Northern Lights averages seven members per mile of line, whereas investor-owned utilities such as Avista serve as many as 50 or more customers per mile.

The lower density of customers means that a smaller number of people share the operating expenses and the expense of building and maintaining lines. Another factor is that rural electric cooperatives often operate in rural, rugged terrain which impacts costs as well.

Even so, Northern Lights has an impressive record of providing electric service to its members in a more efficient and cost-effective manner than many investor-owned utilities.