Manager’s Message

Manager's Message

Here’s to a Beautiful Summer!

Annie TerraccianoI hope everyone has enjoyed 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. I truly believe this is one of the best places to live.

To celebrate the summer season with our members, NLI is having an ice cream social Monday, August 26, from 5 to 7 p.m. at our Sagle headquarters. Everyone is invited to enjoy hot dogs, ice cream, tour the solar array, and meet your board of directors and NLI employees.

Cost-of-Service Analysis

All electric utilities, including Northern Lights, periodically conduct a cost-of-service analysis to ensure rate fairness among members. The purpose of a COSA is to fairly and equitably allocate all costs required to serve our members among each consumer class. Our goal is to avoid having one member class subsidize another member class through rates. During the course of the study, all costs of the cooperative are reviewed, including the costs to build, operate and maintain our system. These costs are then broken down and allocated according to member classes, such as commercial and residential, and tracked back to the revenues produced for each class to determine if everyone is paying their fair share. The board will analyze the COSA results later this summer to determine if any changes need to be made.

Enjoy the wonderful weather, and I hope to see you at the ice cream social!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Blessed by Our Founders

Annie TerraccianoSummer 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 American soldiers 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 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 hitch 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. You should also never dump live fish or organisms from one water body into another.

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. This year, inspection stations in Idaho have already intercepted 14 boats 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

Annual Meeting Recap — May 2019

Annie TerraccianoThe Northern Lights 84th annual meeting on May 11 consisted of entertainment, refreshments, giveaways and the business meeting. Check out the pictures on pages 4 and 5 of this Ruralite issue. Thanks to all the members who made the effort to attend. We missed those of you not able to be there. Let me highlight what was discussed at the meeting.

NLI board directors in Districts 1, 5 and 7 were up for election this year. Running unopposed were Mike

Dolan, District 1; Kennon McClintock, District 5; and Jim Woodward, District 7. Congratulations to Mike,

Kennon and Jim, who were reelected!

You will find a summary of your cooperative’s 2018 financial statements on pages 28 and 29. NLI continues to be in a healthy financial position. Member ownership in the cooperative grew by approximately $2,935,000 in 2018. In addition, in December 2018, $1.4 million was retired as capital credits for the remainder of 1988, all of 1989 and a portion of 1990.

We are eight years into our long-term power supply contract with the Bonneville Power Administration. Northern Lights buys 90% of its power from BPA. We generate the other 10% at our Lake Creek Hydroelectric Dam in Troy, Montana. In 2018, the dam produced 22 million kilowatt-hours of energy. The dam provides our lowest cost of power, which helps to keep your rates low.

Northern Lights started a Solar for Schools program that allows children from elementary through high school age to visit our Community Solar Project at our Sagle headquarters. Students explore our community solar array, build solar cars to race and learn how solar power is generated.

Maintaining the cooperative’s facilities is a high priority for the NLI Board of Directors. In 2018, we replaced 270 poles, 54,000 feet of old underground cable and trimmed 200 miles of tree 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 2019

Northern Lights 84th Annual Meeting

Annie TerraccianoMay is here, which means it’s time for our annual tradition. Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 11, 2019, the day of the Northern Lights’ 84th annual meeting. The meeting will take place at the Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave. in Sandpoint, Idaho. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the meeting kicks off at 10 a.m. PDT.

The annual meeting provides an opportunity for members to meet the board of directors and NLI employees, as well as being updated on the financial condition and future plans of the cooperative. There will be coffee and snacks for all to enjoy, and a variety of great door prizes, including two community solar units and a $250 energy credit. Each member who attends will also receive a $25 energy credit—limit one credit per membership.

This year, three districts are up for election. Those seats are held by Mike Dolan, District 1; Kennon McClintock, District 5; and Jim Woodward, District 7. All district incumbents were uncontested, so there will be no election. Each shall remain the director for his respective district.

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

Manager’s Message — April 2019

Annie TerraccianoThank You to Our Linemen

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 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 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 May 11

On a final note, our 84th annual meeting is Saturday, May 11, at the Panida Theater. 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 and talking with many of you. It’s always a pleasure to meet and fellowship with the faces of the cooperative.

See you at the annual meeting!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — March 2019

NLI’s Employees Committed to Serving Our Members

Annie TerraccianoWell, we’ve almost made it! Winter is nearly behind us and spring officially begins March 20.

I am excited for winter to be over and am ready to gear up for the nice weather to come. Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead Sunday, March 10, and start enjoying the longer days.

NLI employs 60 dedicated people from our area who serve as the backbone of the cooperative. Their dedication to their careers and to their communities is the key to our cooperative’s success. Many of the people we employ grew up and went to school here. NLI offers them a challenging career with growth potential, apprenticeship opportunities, and a chance to learn a trade and purse an education while also enjoying the Pacific Northwest lifestyle. We love this community and work every day to continue our proud history of being an involved, supportive and community-owned cooperative.

Bylaw Amendments

The Northern Lights Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the membership voted to approve the amendments to the bylaws. This allows us to ensure that current laws are being followed, the needs of NLI members are being met, the cooperative continues to be financially sound and that the bylaws are easier to understand. A copy of the updated bylaws can be found on the Bylaws page.

Thank you to everyone who voted on the proposed bylaw amendments.

Cheers to spring!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — February 2019

Keeping Your Lights On

Annie TerraccianoAs we move into February, I am eager for spring to arrive. I can’t wait until I can officially say “happy spring!” However, we still have a couple more chilly months ahead of us. Northern Lights’ primary goal is to keep your lights on no matter what the weather.

On average, across the entire system, our members received power 99.90 percent of the time in 2018. That really speaks loudly to our hardworking linemen, dedicated employees and knowledgeable board of directors. It is also thanks to you, our members, for promptly reporting outages when they do 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 regardless of 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 maintain the electric distribution system to provide reliable electric service to our members. It’s our mission.

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

Sincerely,

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Happy Retirement to Mark Contor (Manager’s Message — January 2019)

Mark Contor in his younger days at NLI.

Northern Lights is preparing to say farewell to Engineering and Operations Manager Mark Contor. Mark is retiring at the end of January after more than 35 years of service to the cooperative. His hard work and dedication have been assets to Northern Lights through the years.

Mark started his career at NLI as a lineman in 1983 and was promoted to the role of engineering and operations manager in 1994. Since he became E&O manager, Northern Lights has seen substantial growth throughout our service territory. In 1994, NLI served 9,852 members, with $12 million in total revenue and $40 million in total assets. Today we serve 17,342 members, with $34 million in total revenue and $90 million in total assets. Mark has been a vital part of ensuring this rapid development has gone smoothly and easily throughout the years. His valued skills in the electric industry have been a huge part of ensuring Northern Lights could keep up with the demand of our members.

Mark will retire from NLI after 35 years.

Mark has overseen several significant system improvements at NLI during his tenure. These projects include the purchase and upkeep of our Lake Creek Hydro Electric Dam, which produces 10 percent of our power needs; the designing and construction of the NLI headquarters in Sagle, Idaho; substantial improvements to our metering system; the organization and implementation of procedures that ensure NLI always follows strict environmental policies; the construction of several new substations and substation rebuilds; and the growth of our electrical system as a whole. Mark’s extreme attention to detail, along with his outstanding organizational skills and superb work ethic, have contributed greatly to NLI’s success as a cooperative. He’s always been there when needed and will be greatly missed.

Please help me wish Mark a happy retirement and make sure to say hello if you see him on the golf course!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — December 2018

Capital Credit Checks Headed to Your Mailbox

Annie TerraccianoHappy holidays from all of us at Northern Lights Inc.

I am excited to announce that this year the NLI Board of Directors authorized a total of $1,099,662 of capital credits from the remainder of 1988, all of 1989 and 10 percent of 1990 to be returned to our members. This means that if you were a member of Northern Lights in those years, you will receive a check in the mail. Your check amount is determined by the amount of energy you used during those years.

We work hard to serve our members by providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity. When revenues exceed the cost of providing this service, these margins are returned to the members in the form of capital credits. Capital credits are not immediately paid out the year they were earned. These funds are used by NLI for electric lines, trucks and equipment needed to serve our members. This offsets our need to borrow money, which would in turn cause higher rates.

The cooperative holds unclaimed capital credits from years past. A list of all members with unclaimed capital credit distributions is available on our website at www.nli.coop. If you find your name on the list, please call us at 208-946-5130.

As another option, you can donate your capital credit checks to the Northern Lights Community Trust, which distributes the funds to local charities in our service area. 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.

I wish you all a prosperous and happy year ahead. Merry Christmas!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – November 2018

Veterans Day

Annie TerraccianoWith November upon us, I would first like to thank all the veterans for their loyal service to our country. I truly admire those who have risked their lives for our freedom, and am grateful for the men and women who have put our country before themselves. This coming Veterans Day we should all pause and appreciate the gift of freedom.

New Billing Software

Northern Lights is switching over to a new billing software that will allow us to better serve your needs. It will also make it easier to pay your bill and manage your account.

What does this mean for you as a member?

  1. Starting November 27, when you visit our website to log into your account, you will be directed to create a new login. This will give you access to our new online account management system called SmartHub. Once logged in, you will be able to view your current bill, make a payment and view your use history just like the old system. You can also download the SmartHub app to your smartphone from the Apple Store or Google Play.
  2. Your bill is also going to have a new look starting in December. We hope the new bill is clear and easier to understand.

Thank you for your patience as we transition to this new system. I wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager