Manager’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – October 2018

Celebration of National Co-op Month

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

Cooperatives are unique. 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 U.S., more than 900 electric co-ops serve an estimated 42 million people. At Northern Lights, we have more than 17,000 members and 2,800 miles of distribution lines that serve 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.

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 of assistance. Members also can choose to donate to the Helping Hand program, which is designed to help struggling members with their power bills.  If you would like to participate in either of these programs, please contact us to sign up.

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

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – September 2018

Help us Plan for Your Future Energy Needs

Annie TerraccianoI hope everyone has been enjoying their summer as much as I have and has taken advantage of the recreational fun the Northwest has to offer. Whether you enjoy camping, hiking, boating, swimming or all of the above, we are blessed to live in an environment that allows us to get outside and appreciate our surroundings.

A Survey is Coming

A random selection of Northern Lights members will soon receive a survey asking about the specifics of your energy use.

This survey is part of an ongoing effort to help us plan for our members’ future energy needs. Once you fill out the confidential survey, mail it back to us in the included self-addressed stamped envelope. Keep in mind that your responses are anonymous. You will not be identified in any way.

Your timely input will help with decisions regarding power supply and conservation efforts coordinated both at the cooperative level and at the wholesale power supply level. By completing this survey, you are helping with our goal to ensure a stable supply of electricity at the lowest rates for all our members.

Please don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 326-9594 or email us at info@nli.coop if you have any questions or concerns. Your participation is greatly appreciated.

Community Solar

The sun is shining, and the community solar panels are generating power at their peak. We still have a few solar units available for $300 each for members who would like solar energy to be part of their energy portfolio. Please call us at (208) 255-7180 or visit www.nli.coop for more information.

Happy Labor Day!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – August 2018

I hope you are all enjoying the summer as much as I have been. Summer is my favorite time of the year. It comes and goes all too quickly! I remind myself often to slow down, take it all in and enjoy it while it lasts.

I am excited to share with you the launch of our newly redesigned website. We updated the site with our members in mind, streamlining menus, simplifying content and navigation, and building a responsive layout for all of your devices. I invite you to visit www.nli.coop and explore the updated site.

When you visit the site, you will find a lot information available at your fingertips. You can access your account, learn about your board of directors, research current rebates and much more. By accessing your account online, you can pay your bill, view your energy use history and update your contact information. The website will work on computers, tablets and your internet-enabled cellphone.

New Outage Texting System

Along with a new and improved website, members also have the option to text in their outages. To get started, simply text “NLI” to our outage line, (866) 665-4837, at any time. The system will recognize your phone number and officially opt you into the texting program. When you experience an outage, just text “OUT” to that same number and your outage will be logged. You can then text “STATUS” at any time during an outage for an update. When your outage has been restored, our system will send you a text stating the power is now on.

For the outage texting system to work, your cellphone number must be on your account. If it is not, you will be prompted when trying to sign-up to call our office to get it added. If you need to update your account information, please call at (208) 263-5141 during regular business hours.

As always, you can still call your outages in.

Enjoy the sun!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – July 2018

Blessed By Our Founders

Summer is finally here! This month, we celebrate our country’s independence. In the midst of apple pies and hot dogs, fireworks and parades, let’s pay tribute to the great Americans who made our land free. I am so thankful for my freedom. I hope you all enjoy your Independence Day.

Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels

It is also that time of year 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 state, be careful before returning. The 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 the 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 house guest.

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.

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 Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, the estimated cost to the region will be $500 million annually if attempts fail to prevent an infestation.

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

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Annual Meeting Recap

The Northern Lights 83rd annual meeting May 12 consisted of entertainment, refreshments, giveaways and the business meeting. Check out the pictures on pages 4 and 5 of this issue. Thanks to all of the members who made the effort to attend. For those of you not able to be there, we missed you. Let me highlight what was discussed at the meeting.

NLI Board Directors in Districts 2 and 4 were up for election. Director Judith Simonson, District 2, and Director David Pemberton, District 4, ran unopposed.  Congratulations to Judith and David on their re-election.

Two proposed bylaw amendments were voted on by the members. Both amendments passed.

You will find a summary of your cooperative’s 2017 financial statements on pages 28 and 29. NLI continues to be in a healthy financial position. Members’ ownership in the cooperative grew by approximately $2.7 million in 2017. New services are still increasing, with 370 completed in the last year. In December 2017, $1.3 million was returned covering the balance for 1987 and 65 percent of 1988 capital credits.

We are seven years into our long-term power supply contract with the Bonneville Power Administration. NLI buys 90 percent of its power from BPA. We generate the other 10 percent at our Lake Creek Hydroelectric Dam in Troy, Montana. In 2017, the dam produced 27 million kilowatt-hours of energy. The dam provides our lowest cost of power, which helps keep your rates low.

In addition to owning our own hydro plant, last year NLI completed construction on Idaho’s first community solar project. The solar array is at our Sagle headquarters. Members have the option of buying up to five units of solar. The kilowatt-hours those units produce are credited back to their account monthly. Units are $300 each. We have sold 80 percent of available units.

Every year, maintaining the plant is a high priority for the NLI Board of Directors. In 2017, we replaced 240 poles, 54,000 feet of old underground cable and trimmed trees along 160 miles of line.

As we enter June, I hope you are enjoying the warmer weather, have your gardens planted and are looking forward to a great summer. To all the dads out there, happy Father’s Day.

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – May 2018

83rd Northern Lights Annual Meeting

Portrait of Annie TerraccianoMay is here, which means it is time for our annual tradition. Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 12, the day of the Northern Lights’ 83rd annual meeting at the Sandpoint Business and Events Center at 102 S. Euclid Street in Sandpoint, Idaho. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The meeting kicksoff at 10 a.m. PDT.

The annual meeting provides an opportunity for members to meet the board of directors and the employees of NLI, as well as hear updates on the financial condition and future plans of the cooperative. As in years past, we will provide an electrical safety demonstration that is always a favorite with kids. There will be coffee, pastries and fresh fruit for all to enjoy, as well as a variety of great door prizes, including two community solar units and a $250 energy credit. Each member who attends will receive a $25 energy credit.

One of the greatest values of being a member of a cooperative is your right to vote. This year, two districts are up for election. Those seats are held by Judith Simonson of District 2 and David Pemberton of District 4. Both districts’ incumbents were not contested, so no election will take place in those districts this year. Every member, however, will receive a ballot in the mail for two proposed bylaw amendments. You can vote in one of two ways: in person at the annual meeting or by mail.

I look forward to meeting and talking with many of you at the annual meeting. It’s always a pleasure to meet with the faces of the cooperative.

I hope to see you there!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Thank You to Our Lineman

April 18 marks Lineman Appreciation Day across the U.S. It is our honor to celebrate the hard work, innovation and dedication of electrical lineworkers. Take a moment to appreciate our local linemen, who go above and beyond, no matter the weather, to keep our lights on.

We often take electricity—and the men and women who provide it—for granted. Linemen work 365 days a year, 24 hours a day in the blistering sun, rain, sleet and snow to do two things: keep our system safe and the power on. They put their lives on the line every day to ensure you have power at the flip of a switch.

NLI’s linemen maintain more than 2,800 miles of power lines serving more than 19,000 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, if there is an outage, restore it as soon as possible. Thank a lineman today, for keeping the lights on.

Annual Meeting is May 12

On a final note, our 83rd annual meeting is Saturday, May 12, at the Sandpoint Business and Events Center. Join the NLI board, employees and fellow members of your cooperative to learn more about NLI, enter to win door prizes and claim your $25 energy credit. I look forward to meeting you all.

See you at the annual meeting!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

The Power of Hydro

For decades, the Pacific Northwest has relied on clean, renewable hydropower for the vast majority of its energy needs. It is a carbon-free, low-cost resource that works to power our homes and businesses. Because hydropower is clean and renewable, the Pacific Northwest has a carbon footprint that is half that of other regions in the county. It also works to keep our electric rates as some of the lowest in the country, as dams produce energy cheaper than nuclear, coal and natural gas-fired plants.

A majority of Northern Lights’ power comes from hydropower, which includes 10 percent from our own Lake Creek Dam in Montana. The Bonneville Power Administration supplies the other 90 percent. Each year, BPA spends millions of dollars to help improve access for salmon, with great success. Every mainstem federal dam in our region now has fish slides or other technologies to help young salmon migrate downstream. Unfortunately, even with these notable improvements, the courts are forcing these dams to spill water in the spring in an unproven effort to help salmon at a cost of $40 million to consumers.

Northern Lights relies on BPA, which markets the power produced at the federal dams. Along with other local utilities relying on BPA, NLI, strives to work together to to have the lowest possible rates while being good stewards of our environment. While we support funding set aside to aid salmon, spilling water at these dams has costly ramifications for electric cooperatives and the environment, and may not be effective.

We hope to continue to rely on renewable clean hydropower for many years to come. Now that spring is almost here, it is a perfect time to get outside to view nature’s beautiful rivers and be glad our region gets its power from such a great renewable source.

Cheers to spring!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Winter Outages

The Northwest is known as a winter wonderland, where beautiful white snow blankets the trees. But with the snow also comes winter power outages. Heavy snow and gusting wind is known to knock out your power.

At Northern Lights, our goal is to restore power safely to the greatest number of members in the shortest amount of time possible. If you do lose power, be sure to report it to the outage line at (866) 665-4837.

During an outage, crews work to restore power in the following order:

  1. Transmission towers and lines
    Transmission lines deliver all the power to Northern Lights members. These lines feed our substations.
  2. Substations
    Once the transmission lines are fixed, crews next check NLI substations to ensure they are undamaged and energized.
  3. Distribution lines
    Distribution lines deliver power from NLI substations throughout our service territory. These lines make up most of our system. This is the slowest part of the restoration process.
  4. Taps
    Taps are the individual lines that run to your property from the distribution lines. These are the last item to be fixed and can often result in you not having power while all of your neighbors do.

During an outage, you can view our outage map at www.nli.coop to get an idea of where the outages are and their size. We always appreciate your patience as our crews work around the clock in all weather conditions to get your power back on as quickly as possible.

We live in a beautiful rural area, and trees cause most of our outages with broken limbs being weighed down and falling over. The NLI Board of Directors has made it a priority to fund tree trimming. This not only helps reduce outages, but fire danger.

Enjoy your last few weeks of winter, as spring is just around the corner!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Tips to Reduce Your Winter Energy Bill

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the company of family and friends during the holidays, and have your resolutions in place for the start of a great new year. Whether your resolution is to lose weight, save money, spend more time with your family, or even learn something new and exciting, let’s get to work achieving our goals in the year ahead.

If your new year’s resolution is to save money, here are some options for reducing your energy use and your power bill.

  • Curtains. During the day, keep your curtains open on windows getting sun. Close all curtains at night to keep the heat inside.
  • Thermostat. If you have a thermostat, use a digital one and program it to heat the house to around 68 degrees only while you are home. Let the temperature drop 7 to 10 degrees at night and while you are out of the house. Make sure your furnace is serviced routinely and you are regularly changing the filters.
  • Fireplace. Keep the damper closed unless a fire is burning, and regularly have your chimney cleaned. Consider adding a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air into the room.
  • Windows. Make sure your windows are caulked and there are no gaps. You can also tape heavy-duty clear plastic to the inside of your window frame.
  • Vents. Make sure your air registers and vents are not blocked by rugs, furniture or drapes. •
  • Doors. Make sure weatherstripping around your exterior doors is in good shape. You can also use draft stoppers to lay on the ground in front of doors.
  • Refrigerator. Make sure you clean the coils on the back of your fridge annually. This cuts down on how hard the refrigerator has to work to keep your food cold.
  • Water heater. Set your tank’s thermostat no higher than 120 degrees. Consider installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to reduce the amount of water you use, thus reducing the amount of water your water heater needs to heat.

Also, don’t forget to turn off what you aren’t using: television, lights, electronics, appliances, etc. Don’t pay for what you don’t use!

I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead.

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

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