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Editorial: July 2015

Some summer thoughts...


The summer of 2015 is upon us, prompting these random thoughts and observations:

Electric cooperatives are economic democracy in action:  Between April and the end of June, 14 of North Dakota's 16 electric distribution cooperatives hold annual meetings. The two remaining annual meetings will be held in July and November. So far, these 14 meetings have attracted some 5,000 North Dakotans who are members of electric cooperatives. At these meetings, there are common themes and agenda items. At most, the members will: Elect the directors who will oversee the co-op's direction; hear management reports on the operational and financial status of their cooperative; pick up a capital credit retirement check; greet guests; listen to speakers; enjoy a great meal; and many will walk away with a door prize.

This level of engagement is not just limited to electric cooperatives. Thousands of members also gather to support their telephone cooperatives, credit unions, farm credit systems and farm supply and marketing cooperatives. This time of year is a clear reminder that cooperatives are economic democracy in action. No other business model offers this level of engagement and ownership in the delivery of critically important goods and services.

Shining some light on solar power:   Northern Plains Electric Cooperative, Carrington,  held an open house last month where members could see solar power generation at work.




The co-op installed solar generation panels on the grounds of its Carrington office  to gather actual data on how solar power will perform in our northern climate. They will make this information available to members who might be interested in investing in solar power generation, which is happening at a fairly rapid pace across the country. Northern Plains is not alone. Cass County Electric Cooperative, Fargo, recently announced a partnership with the City of Fargo to own and operate a community solar project. And at Verendrye Electric Cooperative, Velva, the co-op leases nearly 200 solar powered pumping units that are used in remote pasture well locations. Electric cooperatives want to be your trusted resource to help members make sound investment decisions in newer technologies like solar. These projects are great examples of getting the actual data from working units.

Shine on Medora Musical:   If you haven't heard by now, this is the 50th anniversary of the Medora Musical set in the Burning Hills Amphitheatre in this historic town of Medora. If you haven't been to the musical ever or lately, make plans to attend this year. This is an extra special production for the 50th, with several special guests. You can find all the information you need at  Roughrider Electric Cooperative provides the power to Medora. In addition, the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives from across the region are proud sponsors of the musical, as we believe it fits so well with the values of our electric cooperative brand.

Enjoy your summer!

Dennis Hill, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Mandan. Comments can be mailed to Dennis Hill, NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727 or by email