Serving You During COVID-19 // CEO Column July 2020

Cooperatives are based upon principles – seven, to be exact. The seventh principle is Concern for Community. Today, this is as important as ever as our community deals with the economic impact of COVID-19. Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative is working diligently to continue to maintain safe, reliable electric service and to keep rates low. Here are a few ways your cooperative is serving you during this challenging time:

  • TWEC Member Services and Finance Department employees have continued to work, albeit remotely for a period of time, to serve our members with quality service. They are processing billing statements and payments in a timely manner and providing our member services offerings. TWEC’s Operations Department is out in the field daily to quickly act to restore power and provide operational support for construction work plans, new services, and routine maintenance of our distribution plant.
  • TWEC suspended disconnects and penalty fees for over three months to help our members who are struggling to pay their electric bills. Our Finance Department is working hard to contact members and find a way to resolve arrearages for each member’s individual situation.
  • We offer several energy saving programs to help members save money each month. By opting into our dual fuel, interruptible air conditioning, or water heating programs, you can reduce the amount of energy you use. In addition to energy efficiency, these programs offer savings on your energy rate that will save you money on your electric bill.
  • Residential rebate programs are available with the purchase of new higher efficiency appliances, such as refrigerators, dryers, air source heat pumps, or electric heating systems, which also results in savings on a monthly basis.
  • We did work very closely with fuel assistance agencies to ensure those who needed help paying their bills were able to receive funds that the state set aside for this purpose. Please visit our website to find the appropriate agency for your county.

Rest assured that we will continue to serve our members during this difficult time and into the future. Our lineworkers are out in the field daily, and our staff is available to help members. It is our pleasure to continue to provide you with excellent service in all circumstances.

This is The Cooperative Difference. Todd-Wadena is owned by those we serve – our members. The Cooperative’s Board and staff focus on the local needs of our members and our communities. Our number one goal is to provide safe, reliable, and affordable electricity to our members.

COVID-19 Update

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative COVID-19 Response

March 17, 2020- The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a Global Pandemic by the World Heath Organization. The President of the United States and Minnesota’s Governor have declared a state of emergency.

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative’s office will be closed to the public effective March 18th until further notice. We will not allow access to the general public, vendors or unauthorized personnel, to ensure that we keep our employees and members healthy and safe. Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative is proactively taking steps to protect employees’ health and safety to preserve our ability to maintain essential services to our members.

“TWEC is committed to deliver safe, reliable, and affordable electric service to our members, and we need our employees to be healthy and safe to do so,” said Dan Carlisle, President/CEO of Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative.

Line workers will continue to respond to power outages as they arise. If a home visit is required for a TWEC employee, a few additional questions may be asked prior to their visit. “Please be patient with our crews as they perform their duties. These extra precautions are being made for the safety of members and employees,” said Carlisle.

For members who typically make your payments in person, please utilize the drop box located in front of our office. Members can also make a payment by phone through the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) line at 877-999-3398. Additional payment options include by mail, or online through SmartHub.

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative (TWEC) is a not-for profit distribution cooperative that is owned and controlled by the members they serve. TWEC is located in Wadena, has 8,900 member services in place with approximately 2,250 miles of line. TWEC’s service territory includes a majority of the rural areas of Todd and Wadena counties along with portions of Becker, Cass, Douglas, Hubbard, Ottertail and Morrison counties.

 

 

Member Appreciation Pancake Breakfast

Join Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative on Saturday, September 21, at the Headquarters for the annual Member Appreciation Pancake Breakfast. There will be electric vehicles (EVs) on display for members to view and even test drive!

 

Saturday, September 21st

8-11 A.M.

  • Free Breakfast
  • Kids Activities
  • Electrical Safety Demonstration
  • Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive (Test Drive an EV!)

Rebekka Paskewitz Represents Todd County as Princess Kay of the Milky Way

Rebekka Paskewitz, Princess Kay of the Milky Way

When the crown was first placed on her head, it took a moment for Todd County Dairy Princess Rebekka Paskewitz to fully comprehend what had just happened.

“It was unbelievable,” she says. “It took me a second to believe that the crown was actually being put on my head. Right away, I remember feeling so blessed. It felt great to know that all of the hard work was worth it.”

Paskewitz was crowned the 65th Princess Kay of the Milky Way in an evening ceremony at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on August 22nd, 2018. The Princess Kay program is sponsored by Midwest Dairy and funded by dairy farmers through their promotion checkoff.

Twelve county dairy princesses from throughout the state of Minnesota competed for this year’s Princess Kay of the Milky Way title. The candidates were each judged on their general knowledge of the dairy industry, communication skills, and enthusiasm for dairy.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Princess Kay from Todd County. The last one was back in 1965,” Paskewitz notes. “When I was selected, I thought about how neat it was to be able to step into this role and represent northern Minnesota and the dairy community we have here.”

Growing up, Paskewitz’s uncle owned a dairy farm just a quarter-mile down the road from where her family lived. She began showing calves in second grade and eventually ended up working on several dairy farms. She is the daughter of Alan and Vicki Paskewitz from Browerville. “I have a lot of hometown pride,” Rebekka Paskewitz says. “I am always proud to be from this area and I love saying I’m from Todd County.”

Now 21 years old, Paskewitz is pursuing a degree in agricultural education at South Dakota State University. Throughout the year, she has remained extremely active in Minnesota’s dairy community. Her role as Princess Kay of the Milky Way has brought her to numerous schools, community events, and other dairy-related activities.

Whether she is speaking to a group of farmers or getting the word out about dairy on social media, Paskewitz is passionate about promoting the importance of dairy and the people who provide it. She explains, “Dairy farmers have a very unique story. It’s not just a career, but it’s a lifestyle. I like going into classrooms and talking to kids about the work it takes to get milk to our fridges and into their classrooms. There’s a lot more work than most people realize.”

This June, during Dairy Month, Paskewitz will travel around the state to attend several Breakfast on the Farm events. She will continue to serve as the official goodwill ambassador for Minnesota’s nearly 3,000 dairy farm families until this coming August when a new Princess Kay of the Milky Way is crowned.

When asked if there is one message she wishes every person understood about dairy farming, Paskewitz is ready with her answer. “When it comes down to it, farmers care,” she says with conviction. “They care about their families and they care about yo

urs too. They care about their cows. They care about the environment. By supporting farmers, we can support the people who care.”

 

Limited Time- Air Source Heat Pump Promotion

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative (TWEC) is pleased to announce our 2019, Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) promotion.

Ducted ASHP* Regular QI Rebate Promotional QI Rebate (May- July 31, 2019)
15 SEER $580 $1,250
16 + SEER $630 $2,000

*Ducted ASHPs must be installed by a quality installer.

Ductless ASHP Regular QI Rebate Promotional QI Rebate (May- July 31, 2019)
Delivered fuel as primary heat source* $300 $450
Electric heat as primary heat source** $500 $750

 *Member’s main heat source is fuel oil, propane, or natural gas.

**Member’s main heat source is electric.

New Wave Agriculture Opportunities – April 2019 CEO Message

Daniel Carlisle
President/CEO

Our Member Services team has been busy pursuing an interesting opportunity this month. Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative’s power supplier, Great River Energy (GRE), and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) have teamed up to solicit applications for a two-year indoor agriculture growing experiment. The project will utilize a modified shipping container pod that will be fully equipped with heat growing lights and a hydroponic system. The successful rural electric cooperative that is awarded the project will need a local partner to pay for a portion of the project costs and to provide labor to monitor and harvest the produce that is grown. TWEC is interested in the project not only because it will provide a nice additional electric load for our system, but also because it will help us to better understand how our electric distribution system could function if this type of load becomes accepted and is more common in the future.

Central Lakes College (CLC) has agreed to be involved in the project and to provide a site for the self-contained agricultural pod to be located. The site must have water and electricity available. The college has a pod-ready site available that meets this requirement. Lakewood Health System of Staples has also joined in as a partner in this application. Lakewood has an established outreach program for food nutrition in the area and its cafeteria facility will provide an end-use consumption point.

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative’s Member Services staff has devoted numerous hours to refining the application submission to GRE. The final product will include a written application, video testimonials from our project partners, and many sound reasons why our cooperative should be selected to host this exciting project. We expect the winning cooperative to be announced in early April. We are hopeful that you will be seeing a new wave, high-tech, agriculture produce-growing pod in our service territory by mid-summer. Wish us luck!

Daniel Carlisle
President/CEO

Right-of-Way and Spraying

When you become a member of Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative (TWEC), you are agreeing to abide by all co-op policies. TWEC’s tree trimming policy is: primary lines (other than those in yards) will be maintained a minimum of 20 feet horizontal clearance on each side of the pole line from the ground up. Overhead primary lines located in members’ yards are maintained 10 feet minimum horizontal right-of-way on each side of the pole line. On three-phase power lines located in members’ yards, the right-of-way must be maintained 10 feet from outside lines and 10 feet below the neutral line.

With this policy, TWEC can responsibly provide safe and reliable energy to our members. Outside of the right-of-way we also look for “danger trees”. These are dead or leaning trees that will touch the line if they fall, causing an outage or blinking lights.

This year, TWEC plans on mowing and spraying three substations: Compton, Aldrich, and Leaf River. TWEC has contracted this service out to Central Applicators. Central Applicators will notify the members in those areas on the timeline of the spraying via mail.

TWEC Arborist, Joe Sworski, is responsible for lining up work for both TWEC crews and Carr’s Tree Service, which consists of side trimming, removals, and mowing.

Our goal is to reach all areas of our system once every 10 years, without going from spot to spot. With this schedule, we are able to keep the lights on and the blink count minimal.

Thanks for your cooperation in the ongoing quest for a clear right-of-way.

Todd Miller
Operations Manager

Right-of-way Clearances

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative names Carlisle as President/CEO and Legal Counsel

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative (TWEC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce Daniel Carlisle has accepted the position as President/Chief Executive Officer and Legal Counsel. Carlisle, who currently serves as an attorney for Pemberton Law Office, will succeed current President/CEO Robin Doege, in October.


Daniel Carlisle, Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative’s President/CEO and Legal Counsel

 “Dan is a long-time member of our community, understands our culture at Todd-Wadena, has great communication skills, has vast knowledge of our industry, and will be a great leader in our rapidly changing world,” said Mike Thorson, TWEC Board Chair

After working with Cindy Schue of Great River Energy’s Human Resources department, the Board developed a profile of what they wanted in a leader. The board unanimously decided to hire Carlisle. Carlisle has served as TWEC’s legal counsel for over eight years. “I am extremely humbled and proud of the opportunity to lead this organization into the future. Outgoing CEO, Robin Doege, and the staff at TWEC have created a solid team that has proven how to best serve our membership’s interests,” said Daniel Carlisle.  “I look forward to continuing the mission to responsibly deliver energy and provide great value to our members.”

Carlisle received his undergraduate degree in Public Administration from the University of North Dakota and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law. Carlisle and his wife, Jeannie, raised their two children in Wadena. Carlisle has practiced law in Wadena for 30 years. Much of Carlisle’s career has been spent representing rural electric cooperatives on a variety of issues, and in serving as legal counsel to the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA).

We are ready for summer storms

Click HERE for TWEC Outage Information

While summer brings much fun in the sun, it can also bring the occasional severe storm. In the event of a power outage, you can trust that Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative is ready to respond. WhatHappensDuringAPowerOutage
The major cause of most power outages comes from damage to power lines due to falling trees and branches. We work year round – through right-of-way clearing – to ensure power lines in our service territory stand little risk of being damaged by trees, branches or other types of vegetation.
Despite our best efforts, during major storms, damage can occur to transmission stations, substations and power lines. When this happens, our first priority is to safely restore power to as many members as possible in the shortest amount of time.
We start by mobilizing our line crews and other critical staff. Every phone line available is utilized to take your outage report calls. The big problems are handled first – like damage to transmission lines, which serve tens of thousands of people. These problems must be corrected before we can focus on other areas where more localized damage may have occurred.
Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative’s line crews inspect substations to determine if the problem starts there, or if there could be an issue down the line. If the root of the problem is at the substation, power can be restored to thousands of members.
Next, line crews check the service lines that deliver power into neighborhoods and communities. Line crews repair the damaged lines, restoring power to hundreds of people. If you continue to experience an outage, there may be damage to a tap line outside of your home or business. Make sure you notify TWEC so crews can inspect these lines.

We will do our best to avoid power outages, but sometimes Mother Nature has other plans. Be sure to check www.toddwadena.coop, or www.facebook.com/ToddWadenaElectricCooperative on your smartphone for the latest updates during a power outage.