Communication with member owners, outstanding reliability even with a tough winter and solar initiatives were a few of the topics discussed at Dakota Electric Association’s annual meeting, held in the social hall at St. Michael’s in Farmington on April 24.
President and CEO Greg Miller discussed challenges faced while trying to provide affordable, reliable electricity. Regarding reliability Miller highlighted a few of the cooperative’s proactive measures.
“Tree clearing is one of the best investments we can make to reduce power outages,” said Miller, and he discussed how infrared cameras play a role in finding overheated equipment, which can then be replaced before the equipment fails and causes an outage.
Miller also talked about Dakota Electric’s installation of LED streetlights in its poleyard, the construction of a new substation to help reliability in the eastern side of the service territory and the need to update its billing and member service software.
Board Chair Jim Sheldon provided a brief update from the boardroom. The board approved extra funds in 2014 to accelerate replacement of older mainline underground cable.
“This decision will improve reliability throughout our system,” he said. The board also developed a plan for donating unclaimed capital credit money to assist local schools with special projects. Regarding Dakota Electric’s employees, Sheldon said, “I can tell you they take their role of serving you — the member-owner — seriously.”
Board Treasurer Ken Danner gave an overview of the 2013 financials, which received a clean audit opinion from Dakota Electric’s auditor.
Great River Energy CEO David Saggau brought an update from the wholesale power supply side of the utility business. He shared examples of cost-saving measures initiated by employees, which have helped the company save millions.
Four incumbent directors were elected to serve three-year terms: John (Jack) DeYoe, district 1; Janet Lekson, district 2; Margaret Schreiner, district 3, and Paul Bakken, district 4.
As a cooperative owned by those it serves, Dakota Electric holds director elections and an annual meeting each year.