Manager’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – October 2022

Celebrating National Co-op Month

Annie Terracciano headshotOctober is the month to celebrate the benefits cooperatives bring to our communities. Whether the cooperative’s focus is food, child care, insurance, electricity or some other service, we exist to help serve a need in the communities we live in.

Cooperatives are unique because we are not-for-profit, democratically controlled and member owned. The cooperative business model is about meeting the needs of the people, not about maximizing profits. In the United States, more than 900 electric co-ops serve an estimated 42 million people. At Northern Lights Inc. (NLI), we have almost 19,000 members and more than 2,900 miles of distribution lines serving members in Northern Idaho, Eastern Washington and Western Montana.

NLI is overseen by a seven-member board of directors, each elected by the members of the district they represent. Our power comes from the Bonneville Power Administration and our own dam on a tributary of the Kootenai River. NLI distributes that power to each of its members’ homes and businesses.

One way NLI serves its community is through Operation Roundup, where members can choose to round up their monthly energy bill to the nearest dollar to help families in need. Members can also choose to donate to the Helping Hand program—specifically designed to help struggling members with their power bills—or Project Share, which provides home heating assistance. If you would like to participate in any of these programs, please contact us to sign up.

Summer has come to an end. The leaves are changing, and autumn is upon us. Before we know it, those princesses, superheroes, ghosts and goblins will be knocking on our doors hoping for a treat.

Happy Halloween!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager 

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – September 2022

Thank Your Laborers

Annie Terracciano headshotLabor Day is Monday, September 5. While we typically relax with family and friends and have parties and backyard barbecues, the holiday’s history was not so relaxing.

The recognition of our nation’s workforce was created by the labor movement in the 19th century. Labor Day became a federal holiday when signed into law by President Grover Cleveland on June 28, 1894. The purpose of the holiday is to pay tribute to the achievements of American workers and their contribution to the success of our great nation.

This year has been incredibly busy for the Northern Lights employees. With so many people moving to our beautiful area, requests for construction of new services have doubled. I want to thank the Northern Lights workforce for its hard work and contribution to the success of your rural electric cooperative. Northern Lights employees, and many of you, will be taking this day off work to celebrate this important holiday.

For business owners, giving your workers a day off is a nice way to show your appreciation and acknowledge the hard work they put in every day. Of course, the entire American workforce can’t take the day off. So, whether you and your crews are still working, or if your power goes out and our lineworkers must restore it, or even if you just need to run to the grocery store for another bag of buns, let’s make sure to say thank you and honor worker dedication. This Labor Day, let’s go the extra mile to ensure American workers know how vital they are to the community and the country as a whole.

Remember, Labor Day isn’t just another day off—it is a deeply rooted historical holiday honoring the American worker and everything they have done to make our lives what they are today.

Thank you to all the American workers out there working hard to build our structures, fix our problems and make our lives livable. Happy Labor Day!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – August 2022

Wildfire Mitigation Efforts

Annie Terracciano headshotSummer is in full swing, bringing sunny days at the lake, outdoor activities, backyard barbecues and, unfortunately, wildfires.

In recent years, wildfires have emerged as a growing public safety concern throughout the West. Wildfires have many causes—from lightning to unattended campfire sparks. Electric utilities are doing their part to help keep communities safe.

Due to the extreme fire danger in our region, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)—which provides our power—has changed how it operates during times of red-flag weather warnings. When specific weather conditions exists—such as high winds, high temperatures, and low humidity—BPA may choose to temporarily shut off power to reduce the chance of the power lines starting fires.

If BPA does enact Public Safety Power Shutoffs in our area, Norther Lights, Inc. (NLI) members in the Priest River and Priest Lake areas will be affected. Other areas may briefly be affected during switching operations. Members will be notified, if possible. We will do everything we can to restore power as quickly as possible.

With our dry conditions, keeping vegetation away from power lines continues to be a top priority for NLI. We are constantly trimming trees and removing vegetation in utility easements to remove fuel for fires and keep trees and limbs from coming into contact with our lines to reduce fire risk.

NLI continues to work closely with BPA to monitor weather conditions and ensure we are taking all possible precautions to avoid a wildfire while maintaining our commitment to provide reliable electricity.

Enjoy the August weather and be safe. When we work together, we can keep the lights on and reduce our fire danger.

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – July 2022

Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels

Annie Terracciano headshotSummer is finally here! It is my favorite season and time to get out on the lake to fish, water ski or just enjoy a leisurely boat ride in the sun. If you take your boat out of the state, be careful before returning. Invasive quagga and zebra mussels are looking to hitchhike a ride to our pristine Idaho and Montana waterways.

These invasive mussels wreak havoc wherever they call home. They deplete nutrients in the water and upset the ecosystem. They also colonize on hulls of boats, recreational equipment, irrigation equipment and hydroelectric power plant equipment. Once they move in, they are pretty much a permanent houseguest.

How do you go about keeping those pesky creatures from moving in? Clean. Drain. Dry. Clean any visible mud, plants or animals from your boat. Drain all water from the motor, bilge, livewell, and other water-containing devices. Dry all areas of your boat and equipment.

If you are commercially hauling watercraft to Washington, Oregon, Idaho or Montana, you need to “Call Before You Haul,” (844) 311-4873, to provide your hauling information to avoid costly delivery delays. This also ensures you are not violating state or federal laws pertaining to the unlawful transport of invasive species.

To protect our waterways, the state has set up a watercraft inspection station program focused on inspecting boats from affected states as they come across the state line. Inspections are free, but the cost of mussels is not. According to the Idaho Department of Agriculture, the estimated cost to Idaho alone would be $100 million annually if attempts fail to prevent an infestation. Inspection stations in Idaho have already intercepted 23 boats in 2022 carrying invasive mussels.

I hope you are enjoying your summer in the beautiful Inland Northwest! And remember: Clean. Drain. Dry.

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – June 2022

Northern Lights Annual Meeting

Annie Terracciano headshotSpring is in full swing and that means it’s time for our annual tradition, the Northern Lights Annual Meeting. This will be our first in-person meeting in two years! While we typically hold our meeting in May, we decided this year to push it out a month in hopes of better weather. The meeting will be held outdoors. It will take place the evening of Monday, June 20, in the north parking lot at NLI’s Sagle headquarters, 421 Chevy St. in Sagle, Idaho.

The annual meeting provides an opportunity for members to fellowship with one another, meet the board of directors and NLI employees, and be updated on the cooperative’s financial condition. Members will also be informed on current and upcoming projects to keep up with the demands of the growth in our area and ensure our system remains reliable and in good working order. We will have an electrical safety demonstration, goody bags, hot dogs, chips and ice cream for all to enjoy. Each member who attends will receive a $25 energy credit (limit one credit per membership). Watch for an official postcard invitation in your mailbox soon.

This year, there are no directors up for election. I look forward to seeing you there and meeting the faces of our cooperative. None of this would be possible without our members.

New District 4 Director

The NLI Board of Directors has appointed Steve Klatt as the new District 4 Director. Steve was appointed to this role after the early retirement of David Pemberton who served as the District Director for ten years. Steve is a local, who was raised in Sagle, Idaho. Steve is joining the NLI Board with extensive business and board experience. His knowledge and skill set make him an excellent addition to the board.

I hope to see you at the Annual Meeting!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – May 2022

May is National Electric Safety Month

Annie Terracciano headshotMay is National Electrical Safety Month. We want to keep electrical safety at the forefront, not only this month but throughout the year. Of all the hazards we face in daily life—at home, at school, and on the job—there is perhaps none quite so unforgiving as electricity. You won’t see it coming, and when it strikes, it strikes hard, killing or disabling someone, or destroying property.

Safety is an essential practice at Northern Lights, Inc. (NLI). Each month, our staff engages in safety training and a safety meeting where we check the safety of our equipment and discuss ways to make our work environment safer. In our line of work, it really is the difference between life and death. From our co-op crews to you, the members we serve, we recognize that everyone has a part to play in prioritizing safety.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, thousands of people in the U.S. are critically injured or electrocuted due to electrical fires and accidents in their own homes. Many of these accidents are preventable. Electricity is a necessity, and it powers our daily lives. But we know firsthand how dangerous electricity can be because we work with it 365 days a year.

Safety is a priority at NLI. That’s why you’ll see us hosting safety demonstrations at community events and in schools throughout the year to demonstrate the dangers of electricity. We discuss emergency scenarios, such as what to do in a car accident involving a utility pole and downed power lines. We caution students on the dangers of pad-mounted transformers and overloading circuits with too many electronic devices.

NLI is dedicated to educating and caring for our employees, members and communities during National Electrical Safety Month in May, as well as every month of the year.

Stay safe!

Sincerely,
Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – April 2022

2021 Financial Audit & Lineworker Appreciation

Annie Terracciano headshotAt the March board of directors meeting, the 2021 audit report was presented by Moss Adams LLP. I am pleased to announce we received a perfectly clean audit with no adjustments.

This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our employees to achieve this high level of financial performance, record keeping, and work with our auditors to meet our obligations, standards, and rules.

We have established a culture of fiscal accountability and responsibility. This audit lets us know we have successfully met the standards we have worked diligently to implement. Thank you, Northern Lights, Inc. (NLI) employees!

Lineworker Appreciation Day

I also would like to recognize our remarkable lineworkers. April 18 marks Lineworker Appreciation Day across the U.S. It is our honor to celebrate the hard work, innovation, and dedication of electrical lineworkers.

Please take a moment to appreciate our local lineworkers, who go above and beyond, no matter the weather, to keep our lights on.

We often take power—and the people who provide it—for granted. Lineworkers work safely, smartly and efficiently, all while 40 feet in the air. They put their lives on the line, 365 days a year, under dangerous conditions to build, maintain and repair electric infrastructure.

NLI’s lineworkers maintain more than 2,800 miles of power lines serving more than 22,000 accounts in Northern Idaho, Western Montana and a small piece of Eastern Washington. Although beautiful, this terrain is rugged and remote.

Our crews are standing by to serve NLI’s members around the clock to keep your power on and restore it as soon as possible if there is an outage.

Lineworkers have always taken pride in their work and strive to be first-rate in their trade. They remain heroes to the community in times of outages and repairs. They are dedicated to maintaining the legacy of the pioneering lineworkers before them.

Thank a lineworker today for keeping the lights on!

Sincerely,

Annie Terracciano
General Manager 

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – March 2022

Spring is On the Way; Call Before You Dig

Annie Terracciano headshotSpring is almost here! I so enjoy the transition from winter to spring. I am excited to see the flowers start to bloom, green grass, birds chirping, and longer days ahead.

With the weather starting to warm up and the trees and shrubs beginning to bloom, many of us are eager to start working on outdoor projects. Sometimes we can let our enthusiasm overshadow basic safety and common sense.

First, plan your work and then work your plan. Check your surroundings, both high and low. Be aware of overhead power lines when trimming trees and shrubs. If you are digging holes for new fence posts or planting trees or shrubs, ask yourself where possible underground wires might be. It is important not to nick or cut them with a shovel or pick.

If you are unsure about the location of underground wires, please take a minute and call 811 before you dig. The process is quick and easy. More importantly, it is free. When you call 811, you are connected to the One Call Center closest to your area.

The call center takes your information and notifies Northern Lights Inc. of your request. The co-op dispatches a qualified professional to identify and mark the location of the underground power lines before you dig. To ensure your job stays on schedule, please call a few days before you are ready to dig.

Knowing what is below ground will protect you, your family, and your neighbors. For indoor projects that involve wiring and electrical fixtures, make sure you always turn off the power at the breaker panel to avoid getting shocked.

It is just as important to be aware of any overhead power lines in your area. Look up before moving irrigation pipes, using a ladder, installing a new antenna or flagpole, or moving large trucks, trailers, or heavy equipment.

Please take proper precautions as you begin your springtime chores.

Cheers to spring!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – February 2022

Keeping Your Lights On

Annie Terracciano headshotI hope you are enjoying this winter wonderland we are living in. January brought a lot of snow to our area. With this heavy snow we have seen an increase in power outages. Snow toppled trees onto the lines, causing outages and blinking lights. At Northern Lights, our primary goal is to keep your lights on no matter the weather.

While many of you have experienced increased outages in January, on average across the entire system, our members received power 99.5% of the time in 2021. That speaks loudly about our hardworking linemen, dedicated employees, and knowledgeable board of directors. It is also thanks to you, our members, for promptly reporting outages when they occur.

When there is a power outage, Northern Lights crews work hard to respond and restore power as quickly and safely as possible. We are committed to providing reliable power 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and have linemen ready to respond should an outage occur, no matter the weather.

To be as reliable as possible, we work hard to protect our lines with our vigorous tree-trimming program and by installing raptor guards and squirrel deterrents. We also regularly patrol and maintain our lines to ensure they are in good working order.

Having a reliable supply of electricity is more than a convenience. It is a necessity. Our economy and our way of life depend on it. The employees and board of directors at Northern Lights are committed to maintaining the electric distribution system and providing reliable electric service to our members. It’s our mission.

I hope you all enjoy the last part of winter!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – January 2022

No Rate Increase for 2022

Annie Terracciano headshotHappy New Year! Now that winter is in full swing, I hope you are doing your best to enjoy our area’s winter activities. Whether it’s skiing, ice fishing, sledding or just playing in the snow with your kids, I hope you take pleasure in this winter season.

I am happy to report that there will not be an electric rate increase this year, even though Northern Lights, Inc. (NLI) will see an 8% transmission increase from the Bonneville Power Administration, along with rising supply and labor costs.

Every two years, BPA conducts a formal process known as a rate case to ensure its projected revenue from the electricity it sells will cover the expenses it incurs. The amount that BPA charges must cover payments on federal dams, building and maintaining transmission lines, fish and wildlife mitigation, energy-efficiency programs, and other obligations required by federal and state laws. This year, the rate case suggested the 8% transmission price increase.

BPA supplies 90% of Northern Lights’ power. An increase in BPA rates makes a large impact on the expenses of your co-op. The NLI board and employees have worked diligently to create a 2022 budget that will not require an increase in rates and allows us to absorb BPA’s transmission increase and the increased cost of materials. NLI stands firm on its commitment to provide safe, reliable service at an affordable price.

I wish you all the best in the new year!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager