The regular meeting of directors of Northwest Rural Public Power District was held in the Conference Room of the District August 28, 2013 at 1:00 P.M.
The meeting was called to order by the president, Robert Rickenbach. Directors who answered the roll call were Mike Van Buskirk, Wayne Cobb, Robert Rickenbach, Lee Ahrens, Bruce Troester, Gary Fuchser and Jim Johnson.
Also present were Rolland Skinner, manager; Arlene Lahaye, office manager; Russ Reichenberg, line superintendent; Ron Housh, planning engineer; Les Tlustos, consumer services; and Terry Curtiss, District Counsel.
The Open Meeting Law posting was acknowledged.
All votes are unanimous upon a roll call vote unless noted.
A motion was made by Gary Fuchser, duly seconded by Mike Van Buskirk to accept the order of business as published and supplemented at this meeting; motion carried.
A motion was made by Wayne Cobb, duly seconded Gary Fuchser, that the minutes of the meeting held July 25th be approved as published and mailed to all directors on August 20th ; motion carried.
The manager, Rolland Skinner, made a statement on what FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) does and does not regulate. FERC does regulate transmission and wholesale sales of electricity in interstate commerce; reviews mergers and acquisitions by electric companies; reviews siting application for electric transmission projects; licenses and inspects private, municipal and state hydroelectric projects; protects the reliability of high voltage interstate transmission.
What FERC does not do is regulation of retail electricity sales to consumers; regulation of activities of municipal power systems, federal power marketing and most rural electric cooperatives; reliability problems related to failures of local distribution facilities; and tree trimmings near local distribution power lines in residential neighborhoods.
Northwest is a Public Power District and Lincoln Electric is a municipality, but differences are that Lincoln Electric owns generation in the state of Wyoming and a transmission line, Northwest Rural has no transmission that crosses state lines. Northwest Rural is not out of compliance with FERC.
The manager reviewed the summary of the Tri-State Bylaw amendment changes that were compiled and sent by Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association’s (PVREA) and the PVREA resolution in support of the proposed Tri-State Bylaw amendments. Panhandle Rural Electric Membership Assoc.’s (PREMA) letter of support was read and discussed. The Board felt they wanted to support the concept of PVREA’s resolution, but have some concerns/issues with some of the points. Following a discussion a motion was made by Wayne Cobb, duly seconded by Jim Johnson to draft and send a letter of support to Brad Gaskill at PVREA; motion carried.
Arlene Lahaye left the meeting at 1:30 PM.
Ron Housh reported on the construction activities. The Wellnitz irrigation job is complete and is pumping. Over the last 14 months the contractor has built 24 miles of new line and between our crew and the contractor 7.25 miles of line has been rebuilt or replaced.
Ron Housh informed the Board that Vic Baseggio wants to hook up four wells on the old Samualson place. He wants on the agenda to request the 4 wells since we have a policy that limits one person to two wells a year. A discussion was held on what would be needed to re-establish service at these well sites. The Board was informed that new ten year contracts would be required on each well.
Rolland Skinner reviewed the total construction that has been completed this year. Irrigation services are all done that were requested along with most other requests this year.
Ron Housh informed the Board that Crow Butte Resources plan to expand in the Marsland area in the fall of 2014 and production by 2015. This expansion will require approximately 4.5 miles of three phase and 1.5 miles of single phase line to be built. The Crow Butte’s site by Fort Robinson is planned 2 to 3 years later. Crow Butte will be adding 3 MW loads over time; the loads will come on slowly. Crow Butte has requested budget numbers, with contractor pricing, for their planning process. A discussion followed.
Russ Reichenberg reviewed the Safety Report for July. A discussion was held on the injuries and property damage that occurred. Incidents involving non-NRPPD personnel were also discussed along with training that occurred during the month.
Russ reviewed the Remote/Emergency Disconnect Procedure, P-48. The procedure deals with securing the scene when there has been an accident or incident where wires are down and possibly hot. A video was viewed showing an accident with wires down and 2 people were burnt. Discussion followed.
Gary Fuchser reported on the NREA Statewide meeting he attended. One of the main issues was NREA is in support of the Key Stone Pipeline and the Trans Canada Line. Troy Bredenkamp stated that it’s time to stand up to the environmentalists instead of accepting what is dealt to the industry.
Gary also stated that Rory Paulman from Sutherland gave a talk on water issues.
Gary informed the Board he also attended the Tri-State meeting. He has been assigned to the External Affairs and Member Relations Committee.
Arlene Lahaye rejoined the meeting at 2:45 PM.
Gary Fuchser continued to report on the Tri-State meeting. Gary stated that Tri-State felt that if all members paid the A37 rate, Tri-State didn’t think a rate increase would be needed in 2014.
The office manager reviewed the July Financial reports, graphs on purchased and sold power, demand and cash flow were reviewed. A discussion was held on CFC’s Line of Credit versus a long term loan. At this time the Board would like to start looking at long term loan options and interest rates. A motion was made by Gary Fuchser, duly seconded by Wayne Cobb to accept July financial reports; motion carried.
The upcoming meetings were discussed and Lee Ahrens and Robert Rickenbach will plan to attend the 2014 NRECA/NRUCFC annual meeting.
The October meeting was rescheduled for October 31st with a tour of the construction projects at 9 AM.
Ron Housh, Russ Reichenberg and Les Tlustos left the meeting at 3:46 PM.
Terry Curtiss informed the Board that the NADC brief has been filed and the defendants’ briefs are due September 19th and the Oral Argument will then be scheduled.
Rolland Skinner informed the Board that the Judge has dismissed him and Wayne Cobb from the Counter Claims Court Action, but Tri-State can still appeal the ruling.
Rolland also read the motion to compel NPSIG to produce more information, which was dismissed.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the President declared the meeting adjourned at 4:05 P.M..
Published: September 18, 2013