Manager’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – November 2019

Reasons to be Thankful

Annie TerraccianoAt my family’s Thanksgiving dinner each year, we all take turns saying something we are grateful for. My list is usually 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. 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 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—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 a vibrant force in the local economy. NLI is invested in the future of its communities. In 2019, NLI sponsored several programs that support youth, education and those who need financial assistance in our service territory. We participated in many local community events, such as the Fourth of July parade, numerous blood drives and food drives. 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!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — October 2019

Celebration of National Co-op Month

Annie TerraccianoOctober 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 all exist to help serve a need in the communities we live in.

Cooperatives are unique because we are not-forprofits, 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 800 electric co-ops serve an estimated 42 million people. At Northern Lights Inc., we have more than 18,000 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. NLI delivers power to each of its members’ homes and businesses. 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 can also choose to donate to the Helping Hand program, which is specifically designed to help struggling members with their power bills. If you would like to participate in either of these programs, please contact us at 208-263-5141 to sign up.

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

Happy Halloween!

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

Manager's Message

Reporting Your Outage

Annie TerraccianoHappy Labor Day! I hope you all enjoyed your summer and are ready for some cooler weather and beautiful autumn colors.

Storms can occur any time of the year, even in the middle of our beautiful summers and early fall. When storms happen, our goal is to restore power safely to the greatest number of members in the shortest amount of time possible.

While NLI’s advancements in technology make identifying and predicting outages easier, it is still important to report your outage, if possible. When members report what is going on in their neighborhoods, it provides us with additional information to better respond to an outage. The more locations that call in experiencing an outage, the better we can pinpoint the location and extent of an issue. You can help your NLI dispatchers, and probably reduce the time of the outage, by adding specific details. For example, if you see a broken pole, broken wire or a tree on the line, let us know those details along with the specific location. All of NLI’s poles and equipment are numbered. If you can safely make note of a number, please provide that, or information about nearby landmarks. The more detailed information we receive, the better we can dispatch the appropriate crews and materials, and the faster your power will be restored.

Outages can be reported by calling or texting our outage line at 866-665-4837. To text in your outage, you need to opt-in to the program first. To get started, simply text “NLI” to our outage line at 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 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 back on. If you have additional details to provide us about an outage, please call. Texting only works to say the power is out.

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 have it added. If you need to update your account information, please call 208-263- 5141 during regular business hours.

During an outage, you can also 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.

Remember, if you do lose power, be sure to report it to the outage line at 866-665-4837

Annie Terracciano
General Manager

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