Electric Co-ops Make Top 100 List

OCTOBER 31, 2014
VOL. 5, NO. 44
Electric Co-ops Make Top 100 List
Sixteen electric cooperatives, with combined revenues of more than
$16.5 billion, have made the 2014 Co-op 100 list.
“We need to get the word out that cooperatives make a significant
contribution to our society,” said Chuck Snyder, president and CEO of the
National Cooperative Bank, which compiles the annual list. He called coops “the best kept secret.”
Basin Electric Power Cooperative again took the top spot for electric coops, coming in at No. 21 with 2013 revenues of more than $2 billion.
“Every year we look forward to seeing this list, not because of where
we rank. Rather, it is a great snapshot of the impact cooperatives from all
sectors has on this nation’s economy,” said Mike Eggl, senior vice
president of communications and administration at Bismarck, N.D.-based
Basin Electric.
Seminole Electric Cooperative in Tampa, Fla., is on the list at No.
“Seminole Electric Cooperative continues to maintain a strong
financial portfolio, and we are pleased this fiscal responsibility has
been recognized by the National Cooperative Bank,” said Jennifer
Wagner, Seminole’s director of communications and energy policy.
Complete Article
OSHA Final Rule on Derricks Delayed
Digger derrick operators at electric cooperatives that perform tasks
outside electric generation, distribution and transmission work now
have three years before they face new certification requirements
from the federal government.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended
its deadline for certification until Nov. 10, 2017, for those covered by
its rule for operators of cranes and derricks. The rule originally was
set to take effect Nov. 9.
The current exemption for the vast majority of co-ops that limit
their use of derricks to electrical distribution and transmission work
remains in place, OSHA said.
“In reopening the cranes and derrick rule, OSHA has not disturbed
the exemption for utility workers operating digger derricks to perform
electric generation, distribution or transmission work,” said Martha
Duggan, NRECA senior principal for regulatory affairs.
“Those cooperatives that are planning to use digger derricks
strictly for utility work and not, for example, community-building
projects, need not worry about the extension of the deadline.”
Co-ops that employ digger derricks for work outside the defined
exemption now will have at least three years before training or
certification requirements take effect, she said.
Complete Article
Two Copper Thefts in Two Days Hit N.C. Co-op
One copper theft is bad enough, but a North Carolina co-op had to
deal with two incidents in as many days. And members are stuck
Continued on next page
Va. Co-op Gets OK
In Pole Attachment Case
Virginia regulators have found in favor
of one of the nation’s largest electric
cooperatives after an attempt by
Comcast to sharply reduce the
amount it pays for attachments to the
co-op’s poles.
In an Oct. 24 order, the State
Corporation Commission adopted a
rate that it said will fully compensate
Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative
for fiber optic and coaxial cable
attachments by the cable television
NOVEC President and Chief Executive Officer Stan Feuerberg’s reaction to
the order was one of satisfaction.
“We invested a tremendous amount
of internal resources into this
proceeding and the commission’s final
order was proof positive that our efforts
paid off,” Feuerberg said.
The commission said the co-op met
the burden of proof in demonstrating
that its pole attachment rates were just
and reasonable. It upheld a hearing
examiner’s June 2014 finding in the
case and rejected Comcast’s argument
that the rates will impair its ability to
deliver high-speed Internet to rural
“We accept the hearing examiner’s
finding that the rate approved herein is
just and reasonable and will have little
impact on Comcast’s ability or incentive
to extend broadband service to areas
currently without such service, and that
customer density appears to be the
overriding factor in broadband
expansion,” the commission said.
The SCC emphasized that the case
and its findings applied only to
Manassas-based NOVEC and Comcast.
The Virginia, Maryland & Delaware
Association of Electric Cooperatives,
which participated in the case as an
intervener, supported that position.
Complete Article
Copper Thefts Continued
Co-op Meter Tech Saves Hotel Worker
with a five-figure bill.
The trouble for Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative
began Oct. 22 when a substation in Havelock was
“Thieves made off with copper wire from 13 of the
structures at the facility,” said Lisa Taylor-Galizia,
communications director at Newport-based CarteretCraven. The crooks also cut a ground wire at the
“That caused voltage irregularities, which sent
alarms to the cooperative’s dispatch center and forced
a shutdown of the substation,” said Taylor-Galizia.
About 1,900 members were without power for about
an hour while service was switched to another
The next day, Oct. 23, the Carteret-Craven
substation in Maysville was targeted. Ground wire was
stolen from 27 structures there, but no outages were
“We’re looking at $15,000 or more in damages,
including materials and manpower, for these two
incidents,” said Taylor-Galizia. “Just as troubling is the
risk these thieves are taking.”
Complete Article
A hotel worker’s life was saved by an electric co-op
employee who also happens to be an emergency
medical technician.
Brad Dolinski of North Star Electric Cooperative was
attending a training conference in Bloomington, Minn.,
“when a hotel employee came out screaming, ‘We
need an EMT!’ I glanced around and no one was
running over that way, so I went in.”
Dolinski handles mapping and purchasing duties for
Baudette, Minn.-based North Star Electric
Cooperative, and is also a volunteer emergency
medical technician. On Sept. 30, a hotel employee
“She was having obvious medical issues, so I
started doing an emergency assessment and as I was
talking to her she lost consciousness and became
unresponsive,” said Dolinski. “Her heart stopped
beating, she wasn’t breathing and her eyes rolled
back, so I started [cardiopulmonary resuscitation]
immediately. Less than 30 seconds after I began
CPR, she was talking to us again.”
Complete Article
Co-ops in 21 States in Line for RUS Loans
Minnesota lineman Jim Schwalbe sure has a way with
the kitties.
A recent Facebook post of Minnesota Valley Electric
Cooperative’s shows the 25-year crew foreman on
the job, nuzzling cheek to cheek with three gray and
white cats. The post has been a hit, gathering more
than 200 likes—a co-op record.
“They were just two little kitties,” said Schwalbe,
who said the cats were underfoot for the entire seven
hours the crew was on the job site.
He claims he doesn’t have a special way with cats,
but the pictures tell a different story. As one
commenter remarked: “Send me Lineman Jim’s
address. I am going to send him a box full of adorable
Schwalbe suspects the playful cats were lonely and
looking for attention. “They were very curious about
what we were doing.”
The lineman encountered the furry, feline
companions while he and co-worker Lee Hoese were
setting the base for a transformer during an overhead
conversion job in the Lake Pierson area, near Victoria.
Get the cables and poles ready—the Agriculture
Department has announced its largest grid loan
guarantee of the year with nearly $1.4 billion targeted
to electric cooperatives in 21 states.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the funding
includes $106 million to help co-ops advance smart grid
technologies. The overall package will improve or add
5,175 miles of power lines.
“With the help of investments such as these from
USDA, rural electric utilities have delivered reliable
and affordable electricity for nearly 80 years,” Vilsack
said in an Oct. 16 statement. “Upgrading the electric
grid will bring jobs and increased economic
opportunities to rural communities.”
With the latest allocation, the department’s Rural
Utilities Service has invested about $2.5 billion in rural
electric loan guarantees in fiscal 2014, covering
19,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines.
The tally includes $186 million for smart grid
In Minnesota, BENCO Electric Cooperative will use
$18 million to build and improve about 147 miles of
lines. Horry Electric Co-op in Conway, S.C., will make
improvements with a $51.9 million loan.
Complete Article
Complete Article
Meet the ‘The Cat Whisperer’
OCTOBER 31, 2014
VOL. 5, NO. 44
ECT.COOP’s Weekly Digest summarizes some of the top stories featuring news and information about electric co-ops. The articles in this publication
are condensed from stories that appeared in NRECA’s Web-based ECT.COOP. The complete articles, along with many other stories on co-op happenings, archives, links to sites of interest and a host of interactive features, are available at ECT.coop. The Digest is published by the
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, 4301 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22203-1860. Editorial questions may be directed to 703-907-5727.