Manager’s Message

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

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – December 2021

Capital Credit Checks Headed to Mailboxes

Annie Terracciano headshotHappy holidays from all of us at Northern Lights!

I am pleased to announce this year the board of directors authorized $1,682,000 of capital credits from 1994, 1995 and a portion of 1997 to be returned to our members. This means if you were a member of Northern Lights (NLI) in those years, you will receive a check in the mail this month. Your check amount is determined by how much energy you used during those years.

We work hard to serve our members by providing safe, reliable, and affordable electricity. Our members are owners, so when revenues exceed the cost of providing this service, these margins are returned to them in the form of capital credits.

Capital credits are not immediately paid out the year they are earned. NLI uses these funds for electric lines, trucks, and equipment needed to serve our members. This offsets our need to borrow money, which would cause higher rates.

The cooperative holds unclaimed capital credits from years past. A list of members with unclaimed capital credit distributions is available on our Capital Credits page. If you find your name on the list, please call us at (208) 263-5141.

As an option, you can donate your capital credit check to the Northern Lights Community Trust, which distributes funds to local charities in our service areas. Please see the insert enclosed with your check for instructions on how to do this. Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions.

All of us at NLI wish you a safe and happy holiday. We hope you enjoy the time with family and cherish the holiday spirit.

Merry Christmas!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – November 2021

Reasons to Be Thankful

Annie Terracciano headshot

At my family’s Thanksgiving dinner each year, we all take turns saying something we are grateful for. My list is usually about the same—good health, loving family and friends, and a job serving the great people in our community.

I’m so thankful to be part of Northern Lights, Inc. (NLI). Our employees are some of the hardest working people I know. Our mission is to provide affordable, reliable, safe electricity, but we also aim to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. It is a mission we all take very seriously.

I’m thankful for NLI because it allows employees to live alongside those we serve. The beauty of a cooperative is that it is locally owned and operated, and there are no distant shareholders pulling the strings behind the scenes. Members elect members to serve on the board of directors and govern the cooperative. We are your neighbors, your friends, and your family.

I’m thankful for our co-op because it serves as a vibrant force in the local economy. NLI is invested in the future of its communities. In 2021, NLI sponsored several programs that support youth, education, and low-income members in our service territory. We participated in many local community events, such as the Fourth of July parade, blood drives, food drives, and more. From giving scholarships to college-bound young adults to reaching out to members with information that will help them save energy and money, we care about the people and towns we serve.

Finally, I’m thankful for you, our members, and faithful readers, because without you there would be no NLI.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Northern Lights, Inc!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – October 2021

Celebrate National Co-op Month

Annie Terracciano headshotOctober is the month to celebrate the benefits cooperatives bring to our communities. Whether the focus is food, child care, insurance, electricity, or some other service, all cooperatives 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 U.S., there are more than 900 electric co-ops that serve an estimated 42 million people. At Northern Lights, Inc. (NLI), we have more than 18,000 members and more than 2,800 miles of distribution lines that serve members in Northern Idaho, Eastern Washington, and Western Montana.

NLI is overseen by a 7-member board of directors, each elected by 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, which NLI distributes to 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 also can choose to donate to the Helping Hand program, which is 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. With the cooler weather comes a change of pace that allows for more time to be home with our families, enjoying one another, eating good food, and being thankful for all we have in our lives.

Happy Fall!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – September 2021

Thank Your Laborers

Annie Terracciano headshotLabor Day is Monday, September 6. While we typically relax with family and friends and have parties and backyard barbecues, the holiday’s history was not so relaxing.

The labor movement created recognition of our nation’s workforce in the 19th century. When signed into law by President Grover Cleveland, Labor Day became a federal holiday June 28, 1894. The holiday pays tribute to the achievements of all American workers and their contributions to the success of our great nation.

This year has been incredibly busy for Northern Lights employees. In the midst of 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 Labor Day off to celebrate this important holiday.

For any business owners out there, giving your workers a day off is a nice way to say thank you and acknowledge the hard work they put in every day. Of course, the entire American workforce cannot take the day off.

Whether you and your crews are still working, if your power goes out and our linemen must restore it, or if you need to just run to the grocery store for another bag of buns, let’s make sure to thank and honor workers’ dedication.

This Labor Day, let’s go the extra mile to make sure 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’s a deeply rooted historical holiday honoring American workers 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 2021

Mitigating Wildfire Potential

Annie Terracciano headshotSummer is in full swing, bringing lazy 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. Although wildfires have many causes, ranging 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), our generation and transmission provider, has changed how it operates during times of red-flag weather warnings. When specific weather conditions exist—such as high winds, high temperatures, and low humidity—BPA may temporarily shut off power to reduce the chance of power lines starting fires.

If BPA enacts a Public Safety Power Shutoff in our area, Northern Lights, Inc. (NLI) members in the Priest River and Priest Lake areas will be affected. This region has been identified as one of BPA’s top areas for high wildfire risk. Other areas may briefly be affected during switching operations. Members will be notified if possible, and we will do everything we can to restore power as quickly as possible.

With our extremely dry conditions, keeping vegetation away from power lines continues to be a priority for NLI. We constantly trim trees and remove 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