ELECTRIC CO-OP TODAY 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. 42. “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 giant. 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 areas. “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 vandalized. “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 transformers. “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 substation. 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 reported. “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 collapsed. “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 kittens!” 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 initiatives. 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.
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