Capital Electric Cooperative (CEC) held its 73rd annual meeting of the membership on June 4 at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Bismarck. More than 550 member-owners and their families attended the event. While they waited for the meeting to start, attendees enjoyed a free meal and music from the Lucas Bernier Steel Band. They also got an up-close look at Lignite Energy Council’s Tesla Model X and CEC’s Chevrolet Bolt, Textron electric utility terrain vehicle, bucket truck and solar well system.
Board members. The membership re-elected Sheri Haugen-Hoffart (District 1), Arlene Olson (District 2) and Kyle Hilken (District 3) to serve on the co-op’s board of directors. Each director will serve a three-year term.
Bylaw changes. The membership voted in favor of several changes to the co-op’s bylaws. These changes allow more flexibility on when the annual meeting is held each year; establish earlier lead times for posting nominations for those running for the board of directors; modify references to better reflect the result of last year’s bylaw change to allow for future voting by mail or online; and allow the board to provide an additional stipend to a board member in the event significant additional time is spent on co-op business. Co-op members also voted in favor of bylaw changes that clarified existing but sometimes confusing language and modified the overall terminology to be gender neutral.
Business meeting summary. Board president Dwight Wrangham and General Manager Paul Fitterer provided the president’s and manager’s report. They reported on past and current events and activities at the co-op, updated the membership on power supply issues and provided an update on infrastructure improvements. Roberta Thorson, board president of the Charitable Trust, gave a report on the co-op’s Operation Round- Up program and urged members to opt into the program if they do not already participate. CEC Business Manager Luke Steen presented the 2018 financial report. The co-op received a clean audit opinion from Eide Bailly, LLP.
Distribution side updates. CEC continues to grow. In 2018, the co-op sold 370,636,512 kilowatt hours (KWH) of electricity, an increase of 5.75 percent from 2017. CEC experienced a net increase of 428 news accounts and returned more than $2 million in capital credits to its member-owners. The co-op continues to be in a strong financial position with equity of more than 47 percent at the end of 2018. In 2018, CEC had net plant additions of more than $5.8 million. The co-op added 33.2 miles of underground distribution line and retired eight miles of overhead distribution line for a net addition of 25.2 miles of line. CEC rebuilt 25 miles of rural overhead line in 2018 and will rebuild another 25 miles in 2019. The co-op also plans to continue adding three-phase underground tie lines from a substation located by the corner of Highway 1804 and These underground tie lines will further enhance CEC’s backbone, infrastructure and system redundancy in north Bismarck. The co-op will also convert two new subdivisions from overhead line to new underground line for better reliability and capacity. The gross total projected expenditure for construction is $6.5 million.
CEC continues to develop and encourage the adoption of off-peak programs. In 2018, the co-op focused on educating its members through its Peak Time Rebate program (PTR) and rolled out a new off-peak air conditioning rate. The PTR program has more than 5,000 participating accounts. Similarly, members can sign up for a program that uses a device that enables the co-op to cycle their air conditioner. This allows members to remain comfortable while earning a credit for reducing CEC’s overall peak.
Transmission side updates. Central Power Electric Cooperative (CPEC) continues to make a strong commitment to the reliability of CEC’s system. In 2018, CPEC completed the installation of a high voltage substation transformer in northwest Bismarck. CPEC also rebuilt 13 miles of transmission line in East Bismarck and upgraded the Goodrich substation.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric) generates and/or purchases about 90 percent of CEC’s wholesale power. The remaining 10 percent comes from the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). Basin Electric continues to see overall sales growth over its nine-state region and expects this growth to continue.
Basin Electric has long acknowledged it is moving toward a carbon-constrained future, and the co-op has already taken a leadership role in the development of renewable generation. In fact, when wind and hydropower are combined, nearly 37 percent of the electric power used by CEC members is from renewable resources.
Neither Basin electric nor WAPA anticipate rate increases in 2019.
Congratulations, winners! At the end of the meeting, the co-op drew five names for the $1,000 grand prize. Those drawn needed to be present to win. Since only one was present, she took home the entire prize. Congratulations to Susan K. Olson, Bismarck!
At this year’s meeting, CEC awarded one $500 scholarship to a student who attended the meeting as a member or with a parent or legal guardian who is a member of the co-op. Eleven students entered this year’s drawing. Congratulations to this year’s scholarship winner, MiKayla Lennie, Bismarck!
CEC thanks all who participated in this year’s annual meeting. Cooperative membership is cooperative ownership, and member participation is a key element to the co-op’s success. By participating in the annual meeting, CEC’s member-owners hold the co-op accountable for decisions and help the co-op serve its members to the best of its ability. We hope to see you again next year!
Click here to view a copy of the letter from Senator Kevin Cramer
Click here for a copy of this year's annual report and notice of meeting.
Click here for the financial slides from the annual meeting.