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CEO Report T


here’s an old saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. We could use this phrase to describe the four major events Northwestern Electric


Cooperative experienced, and survived, in 2015. Although WKHVH HYHQWV FDXVHG VLJQL¿FDQW GDPDJH WR RXU GLVWULEXWLRQ V\VWHP WKH &RRSHUDWLYH¶V ¿QDQFLDO KHDOWK UHPDLQHG VWURQJ and we are able to invest in our future by moving forward with some exciting projects.


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last March. We lost 69 poles. Our linemen will tell you ZRUNLQJ RXWDJHV GXH WR ¿UHV LV SUHWW\ PLVHUDEOH


The last three events all happened within 30 days of each other at the end of the year. We lost over 130 poles on Nov. 16 from a tornado that started north of Shattuck and went to Selman. The linemen had barely recovered from the tornado outages when the ice storms hit. The ¿UVW VWRUP ODVWHG IURP 1RY


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81 poles, some cross arms and equipment, and replaced several thousand feet of wire.


In the next ice storm on Dec. 26, we lost 55 poles,


more cross arms and replaced over 16,000 feet of wire. In order to restore service during major storms, we’ll often request help from other utilities and cooperatives. We used approximately 60 linemen for each storm. Some of the linemen came from Texas, New Mexico and Tri-County Electric Cooperative in Guymon.


Even though some of the outages lasted for several days,


we felt very fortunate because the damages to our system were much lower than some of our neighbors to the south. A few of those cooperatives lost as many as 2,500 poles.


These linemen work in some bitter weather conditions


and often for really long hours without much rest. We know you appreciate the work they do, but we want to thank you for being patient and understanding during these times.


We are always learning from these events. One of the


projects we will start this year is a new meter program. We will begin installing new meters that will enable us to receive reads every 15 seconds. These faster reads will allow us to see when your meter is not reporting and will help tremendously with the outage response time.


Our second project is installing vehicle tracking in our


trucks. Vehicle tracking will enable us to manage the FUHZV PRUH HI¿FLHQWO\ DQG KHOS XV PDQHXYHU WKH FUHZV during large outages. It will also provide a layer of safety for the linemen, as many times they are working alone or in two man crews.


The third project is a 125 kW


community solar farm NWEC is installing directly behind our headquarters. This will provide our members a simple and afford- able option for renewable energy. Our members will have the option to purchase one or more panels, HDFK VKDULQJ WKH EHQH¿WV ZLWKRXW having to install or maintain solar panels on their roof or property. Members will receive a credit on their bill for the energy produced by the solar panels. &RPPXQLW\ VRODU EHQH¿WV DOO RI RXU PHPEHUV EHFDXVH LW reduces peak demand power costs from WFEC. We antici- SDWH WKH VRODU DUUD\ ZLOO EH FRPSOHWHG LQ WKH ¿UVW TXDUWHU RI 2017.


Tyson Littau, CEO 7KH IRXUWK SURMHFW LV RXU QHZ RI¿FH DQG ZDUHKRXVH


expansion in Buffalo. Northwestern Electric acquired the town of Buffalo and the surrounding area in 1943 from Panhandle Public Service Company. In 1959, we pur- chased the old creamery building and converted it into the GLVWULFW RI¿FH KHDGTXDUWHUV 7KH IDFLOLW\ KDV VHUYHG WKH members in the Buffalo area for over 55 years. The cur- rent facility has roof leaks, the electrical system is not up to code, only partial heat and air, isn’t ADA compliant and there’s not enough space to accommodate the 10 employ- ees stationed in Buffalo. When we factored in the Coop- erative’s growth with the deteriorating conditions of the building and unprecedented low interest rates, your board decided to move forward with this project. The building should be completed before the end of the year.


The last item I want to discuss is capital credits. As a


member-owned cooperative, NWEC operates as a not- IRU SUR¿W XWLOLW\ $Q\ SUR¿WV PDGH E\ WKH &RRSHUDWLYH DUH referred to as margins. At the end of the year, the margins SUR¿WV DUH DOORFDWHG WR HDFK PHPEHU LQ SURSRUWLRQ WR


the amount of electricity they purchased. We have been allocating credits since 1940 and have returned more than 11.5 million dollars to our members. This year, NWEC will pay the 1996 margins back to our members. For the ¿UVW WLPH HYHU RXU ZKROHVDOH SRZHU VXSSOLHU UHWLUHG FDSLWDO credits. We received $811,000 from WFEC for capital credits from 1956-1975. We will attempt to pay those margins to our members as well. If you were on our lines from 1956-1975 or in 1996, you should see a credit on your April bill.


As you can see, there is a lot going on at your coop-


erative. Once again, I want to thank you for supporting Northwestern Electric.


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