Manager’s Message

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

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – July 2021

Sign Up for SmartHub

Annie Terracciano headshot

Have you signed up for our online account management program called SmartHub? SmartHub allows you to easily view your current electric bill, make a payment, report outages, and view your use history on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. It takes only minutes to sign up and makes accessing your account easier than ever. Click “Register for Online Access” within the “Manage Your Account” box on the homepage to sign up today.

Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels

Summer is here. It is my favorite season and the 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—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 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 keep 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, watercraft inspection station programs focus on inspecting boats as they come across the state line. Inspections are free, but the cost of letting mussels through is not. According to the Idaho Department of Agriculture, it would cost Idaho an estimated $100 million annually if an infestation occurs. Inspection stations in Idaho have already intercepted 22 boats in 2021 carrying the 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 2021

Have a Generator? Please Read—It Could Save a Life!

Annie Terracciano headshotNational Lineman Appreciation Day was April 18. Coincidentally, Mother Nature brought us a fierce windstorm that day, bringing all Northern Lights, Inc. (NLI) linemen from their homes to work. These linemen worked for the next 24 hours repairing the lines to restore power to NLI members. We truly appreciate our linemen and all they do for us.

During storm restoration, one of our NLI linemen had an electrical contact. He was checking an individual service that was out of power and had an improperly installed a generator. The generator backfed electricity onto our equipment and shocked the lineman. Thankfully, the lineman was able to quickly release his hold and get to the ground. He only experienced minor injuries and is extremely lucky. He easily could have died.

What is generator backfeed? Backfeed occurs when power travels from the generator back through the utility lines and reenergizes them, creating a potentially deadly situation for linemen.

To prevent backfeed, generators—whether permanent or portable—should never be plugged into a home’s wiring or directly into the circuit breaker panel. Instead, a transfer switch should be installed. A transfer switch ensures your household wiring, or selected circuits to be supplied by the generator, can’t be connected to the power grid and the generator at the same time, eliminating any chance of backfeed. It also protects your generator from damage if the power is restored while it’s connected. Make sure a qualified, licensed electrician installs the transfer switch for you.

NLI’s responsibility for electric service ends at the meter. We do not know when, or if, you have installed a generator, and we do not know if the installation was done to the specifications of the National Electric Code.

When the power goes out, having a generator means you can continue to have heat, light, and many other conveniences we’ve come to enjoy. Please make sure you aren’t creating unnecessary danger by properly and safely using your generator to prevent backfeed. It could save a life!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – May 2021

NLI’s 86th Annual Meeting Goes Virtual

Annie Terracciano

Spring has sprung! As many of you know, May is when we typically hold our annual meeting. Last year, when COVID- 19 hit, we, unfortunately, had to cancel our annual meeting. This year, we have decided to change things up a bit. Our goal is to continue to keep safety a priority. Therefore, we have decided to conduct Northern Lights’ 86th Annual Meeting virtually Wednesday, May 12 at 6 p.m. PDT.

No internet? No problem! Members can join the meeting by telephone. Visit our Annual Meeting blog post or call (800) 326-9594 for details on how to join the meeting.

The virtual meeting will include the usual order of business, an update on your electric cooperative’s financial status and upcoming projects, the announcement of this year’s scholarship winners, and the results of the director election. Our team has been working diligently to organize a successful meeting where everyone who wants to participate can. As a member-owner of Northern Lights, we appreciate your interest and involvement in your cooperative.

This year, there are two districts up for election. These seats are currently held by Director Jill Vandegrift, District 2; and Director David Pemberton, District 4. Members residing in these districts should have already received an official ballot in the mail with information regarding the candidates running in their district.

I look forward to a successful annual meeting and hope you can join us online or by phone.

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – April 2021

Thank You to Our Linemen

Annie TerraccianoApril 18 marks Lineman Appreciation Day across the United States. 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 power, and the men and women who provide it, for granted. Linemen 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 linemen maintain more than 2,800 miles of power lines serving more than 21,000 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.

Linemen have always taken pride in their work and continue to strive to be first-rate in their trade. They remain heroes to the community in times of outages and repair, and remain dedicated to maintaining the legacy of the pioneering linemen before them.

Thank a lineman today for keeping the lights on!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager