2nd Annual Co-op Strong Lunch

Join Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative (TWEC) and West Central Telephone Association on Thursday, August 8th in Nimrod for the 2nd annual Co-op Strong lunch. Burgers, chips, and root beer floats will be served!

 

Co-op Strong

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Nimrod Community Senior Citizens Center & Hall

11:30 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.

 

TWEC to Host Indoor Food Production Container – July 2019 CEO Message

We recently received the exciting news that Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative was selected to be the host of an indoor food production container in our service territory. Our cooperative was selected from among several Great River Energy (GRE) member-owner cooperatives interested in partnering with GRE on the two-year demonstration.

The project will help gather data useful for the future expansion of Minnesota’s indoor agriculture industry. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is conducting the project to research indoor food production technology where an entire hydroponic system is built entirely inside a shipping container. The shipping container will include all of the components needed for commercial food production.

We are extremely pleased with the support this project has already received from the community. Todd-Wadena will partner with the Ag and Energy Center at Central Lakes College (CLC) to give students an opportunity to work in the food container. Students from CLC’s Horticulture and Agriculture degree programs will have a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about sustainable agriculture practices.

Lakewood Health System is also a member of our project team and will be receiving the produce that is grown to use in their “Food Farmacy” program. This program works to address hunger-health disparities throughout their federally designated “food desert” region.

The indoor food production container will also provide valuable data for utilities. In looking at the electric load the container requires to operate in our region, we can use this data for electricity load planning and evaluating beneficial rate designs.

Daniel Carlisle
President/CEO

Looking to the future, indoor agriculture will allow food to be produced more efficiently and water to be used more efficiently as well. It is exciting to play a part in learning more about this emerging market and studying the most effective ways to grow fresh produce in Minnesota year-round.

Make sure to check out the infographic below to learn more about the indoor food production container demonstration project that will be coming to our service area soon!

 

 

 

Commitment to Community – June 2019 CEO Message

Daniel Carlisle
President/CEO

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative prides itself on our commitment to our local communities. In 2019, our Member Services department created a Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals statement to guide us in our activities. While focusing on the needs of our members, TWEC supports our community in a variety of ways: 

Operation Round Up – Since 2002, members have raised and donated over $510,000 for more than 685 local community service projects.

Economic Development Loans – TWEC manages a USDA rural development loan fund that has provided loans to new and growing businesses in our area. 

Scholarships – Dozens of local students have benefitted from scholarships funded by unclaimed TWEC capital credits. 

Safety Presentations – Cooperative employees visit area elementary schools with an interactive simulator display and teach kids how to stay safe around electricity. 

Community Groups – Our TWEC employees and directors are active participants on local committees and boards to promote economic development in our area.

Local Investment – Local electric cooperatives are, in many cases, some of the most important economic drivers in a rural community. As a rural electric co-op, we utilize local vendors and service providers whenever possible.

Area Celebrations – TWEC sponsors local community celebrations each year.  

New This Year – TWEC will sponsor a movie in the park in Bertha on July 11th, coinciding with Bertha Days. Cooperative members and the general public are invited to attend. TWEC is also sponsoring a MN Play Ball youth baseball clinic for any and all youth in the area to enjoy in Staples on July 12th.  

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative is genuinely concerned about and invested in our local communities. Please know that we work hard every day to support and grow the communities we serve!

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.”

 

Looking to the Future with Electric Vehicles

If you are considering purchasing a new car and are looking at an electric vehicle (EV) as a serious option, it is important to understand how an electric vehicle can lead to different sources of spending and saving when compared to conventional gas engines.

The decision is getting easier to make every year. Between operational cost savings and the fact you can install a personal, at-home charging station, owning an EV means no more trips to the mechanic or gas station. Government rebates on the purchase of a new EV can help sweeten the deal.

Choosing to go elecric-powered instead of gas-powered can lead to significant long-term savings. A 2018 study from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that electric vehicles cost less than half as much to operate as gas-powered cars. The average cost to operate an EV in the United States is $485 per year, while the average for a gasoline-powered vehicle is $1,117. The exact price difference would depend on current gas and electric rates, as well as the type of car you drive.

TWEC has two different rates available to members. Our storage rate is a very low cost per kWh, but charging can only take place in a limited window. While our time-of-use rate allows charging at any time, certain times of day are more expensive than others. See the chart below and the example usage patterns for a year of driving.


TWEC Electric Vehicle Rates Compared

The average driver puts on approximately 15,000 miles a year, which would require approximately 4,500 kWh’s of charging. Using our Storage Rate, which only allows charging from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. for 4.3¢/kWh, you would spend an estimated amount of  $193 annually. On our Time-of-Use Rate, assuming 10% charging on-peak at 30¢/kWh, with the remainder charging off-peak at 6.95¢/kWh, you would spend an estimated amount of $416 annually. 


 

Staying Safe Around Electricity – May 2019 CEO Message

Daniel Carlisle
President/CEO

Here at Todd-Wadena, electrical safety is a top priority year-round. We are committed to keeping our employees, members, and the public safe. To recognize this ongoing commitment to safety and to bring additional awareness about safety-related issues, we celebrate Electrical Safety Month each May.

Heading into storm season this spring, it is important to remember to stay safe around downed electric lines. If you see a line on the ground, always assume the line is energized and dangerous. Please contact us immediately if you come across a downed line or notice any other electrical safety hazard.

Working around electricity can be dangerous, which is why we prioritize a culture of safety here at the cooperative. We follow national safety best practices for the utility industry. Our lineworkers are required to wear specialized equipment to keep them safe when working next to or with power lines. Delivering affordable and reliable electricity to our members is important, but even more important is making sure our workers return home safely at the end of the day. To do this requires ongoing training and vigilance.

You can do your part by helping to keep our crews safe when they are out working near roadways. Please slow down and, if possible, move over when you see our crews on the side of the road. Minnesota legislation requires that drivers slow down, maintain a safe speed for traffic conditions, and operate the vehicle at a reduced speed until safely past parked utility or emergency vehicles.

Have a safe and enjoyable spring!

 

79th Annual Meeting a Success

With over 350 members and guests in attendance, Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative celebrated its 79th Annual Meeting at Wadena’s Maslowski Wellness and Research Center on Tuesday, April 16th.

In the board of director elections, Nominating Committee Chair Virginia Noska announced that incumbents Marie Katterhagen and Michael Thorson were re-elected for a three-year term. Noska also announced that incumbent Kristine Spadgenske was elected for a one-year term. Spadgenske was appointed to the board in January 2019 to fill a vacancy. An organizational meeting, held immediately following the Annual Meeting, resulted in the following officers re-elected: Tom Brichacek as Vice Chair and Marie Katterhagen as Secretary. Miles Kuschel was selected as Chair and Dale Adams was selected as Treasurer.

In his chairman’s message, Michael Thorson spoke to the members about the change in management as Robin Doege submitted his resignation and how the Board came to offer the position of CEO to Dan Carlisle. Thorson also explained how the polar vortex that came through Minnesota in January 2019 affected not only TWEC, but also Great River Energy (GRE) and the MISO market.

Members watched a video from 2018 Youth Tour Representative Kaija Weishalla, a junior at Bertha-Hewitt, about her trip to Washington, D.C. Weishalla was unable to attend the meeting in person, but she did thank the members in her video and shared some of her experiences from the trip.

David Ranallo, manager of marketing and member services at Great River Energy, attended the meeting to share information about beneficial electrification and different power sources. He presented a $1,000 check to be donated from GRE to the cooperative’s Community Trust Fund (Operation Round Up program), which benefits local organizations.

The Member Services report was given by Allison Uselman. She shared facts about rebates, and gave a recap of the top events which were held in 2018. Uselman also released the new Electric Vehicle Charging Rate which is now available to members. Lisa Graba-Meech reported on the cooperative’s stable financial status.

Dan Carlisle, TWEC President/CEO, spoke about change within the cooperative and around the state. Carlisle will continue to manage change to provide safe, reliable, and affordable electricity to members.

Following the meeting, members and guests were treated to a dinner catered by Maasconi’s in Verndale. Many gift card door prizes were given away, including three cash prizes.

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