A Lineman’s Guide to
MARCH 2017 VOL. 17 NO. 11
2 March 2017 • COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS
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Lake Region electRic’s seRvice teRRitoRy suf-
fered terrible damage as the ice storm rolled through
on Dec. 25, 2016, and didn’t cease until late
Monday, Dec. 26. At one point during this time
frame more than 2,700 meters were without power.
Roughly 450 poles were broken and one substation
On Christmas Day, Mother Nature gifted the
members and employees of LREA an unexpected
and truthfully, an unwanted gift. The 2016 Christ-
mas Day Ice Storm left a good portion of LREA
members without power. As the number of outages
increased any employee that could report to work
was asked to do so. As crews began patrolling the
lines and restoring power to some members, they
quickly realized the storm was causing bigger issues
than initially anticipated.
The Grenville Substation in Day County had
the most damage. There were more than 300 poles
down in Day County, mainly in the Pickerel Lake,
Grenville, Eden and Buffalo Lake Areas. Along with
the damage that LREA had to repair, the transmis-
sion line between East River Electric’s Summit
Substation and the Grenville Substation had more
than 30 transmission poles down. And to top it all
off, the Summit Substation had lost power, be-
cause one of the power suppliers to that substation,
Western Area Power Association (WAPA), lost more
than 10 poles. This created the “perfect storm,” for
not only our members served by the substation, but
for our neighboring cooperative, Whetstone Valley
Electric Cooperative, and OtterTail Power Com-
Day Ice Storm
pany. Any household, farm or business that receives
power from this area was out of power for at least
Lake Region Electric had 48 additional linemen
report to our area and assist in restoration efforts.
The linemen came from: Central Electric Coopera-
tive (Mitchell, S.D.), Southeastern Electric Coop-
erative (Marion, S.D.), Dakota Energy Cooperative
(Huron, S.D.), Clay-Union Electric Corporation
(Vermillion, S.D.), Northern Electric Cooperative
(Bath, S.D.), Calhoun County Electric Cooperative
(Rockwell City, Iowa), Midland Power Cooperative
(Jefferson, Iowa), and Karian Peterson, LLC Power
Line Contracting (Montevideo, Minn.). LREA ap-
preciates all the linemen that assisted for their hard
work and time dedicated to restoring power to our
During the 2016 Christmas Day Ice Storm,
some members were only out of power for a few
hours on Christmas Day, while others rang in the
New Year with celebrations that their electricity was
Lake Region Electric has you, our member/own-
er, to thank through this whole process for your pa-
tience and cooperation. Also, for any member that
assisted the crews with snow removal or brought
goodies for our crews, we are extremely thankful.
We are here to serve you, our member/owner, and
are truly grateful for your cooperation during our
See Pages 6 and 7 for a photo gallery of the
Below: Trucks parked
to the west of head-
quarters in Webster
every morning while
the linemen received
their daily tasks, sup-
plies and lunches.
COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS • March 2017 3
Board of Directors
Kermit Pearson, President
Rodney Tobin, Vice President
Thomas Steiner, Secretary
Jason Medhaug, Treasurer
Danny Smeins, LREA Attorney
Tim Mc Intyre
LREA Staff Members
Trudy Smith, Manager of Office Services
Jim Grimes, Manager of Operations
Manager of Member Services
Tim Gaikowski, Manager of
Lake Region Electric Association, Inc. is an
equal opportunity provider and employer.
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Lake Region Electric Association Inc.
LAKE REGION RIPPLES COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS is the
monthly publication for the members of Lake Region Electric Association,
Inc., PO Box 341, 1212 N Main St., Webster, SD 57274. Lake Region
Electric Cooperative Connections’ purpose is to provide reliable, helpful
information to members on electric cooperative matters and better living.
Subscription information: As part of their membership, Lake Region
Electric members devote 50 cents from their monthly electric payments
for a subscription. Nonmember subscriptions are available for $12
annually. (USPS 018-904) Periodicals Postage Paid at Webster, SD
57274 and at additional mailing offices.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:
Lake Region Ripples Cooperative Connections
PO Box 341, Webster, SD 57274
Telephone 605-345-3379; Toll Free 1-800-657-5869;
Fax 605-345-4442 E-mail: email@example.com
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No Rate Increase for 2017
I hope this message finds you doing well in the
New Year and recovering from the 2016 Christmas
Day Ice Storm. All of us at LREA have recovered
well from the ice storm. However, there is still much
cleanup to do in our area.
I would like to thank our members for your assis-
tance with moving snow and/or providing goodies
to the crews, for your patience and cooperation dur-
ing the restoration process and during our cleanup
efforts. After the harsh storm, we do have some
‘light’ to bring to our membership by announcing that our board of direc-
tors have put the stamp of approval on the 2017 budget and I’m pleased
to announce that there will be no rate increase for the upcoming year.
However, Lake Region Electric will have a wholesale cost of power
increase. Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Board of Directors approved
a permanent 13 percent increase in August 2016. That is a big impact to
LREA when our wholesale power costs are currently 72 percent of the
total operating expense of the cooperative.
You may be wondering how we are able to keep the rates stable for the
next fiscal year
since our power
providers had an
increase. We are
able to keep rates steady because of our revenue deferral plan. The revenue
deferral plan was introduced in 2014 and we have continued to reap the
benefits. The deferral plan must be approved by the Rural Utilities Service
(RUS) and our cooperative must meet the financial requirements. Defer-
rals are only allowed in the event of unexpected increased margins. The
years we were able to set aside margins in the deferral plan, we had growth
in electric sales primarily due to fluctuations in the weather, along with a
few seasons of increased grain-drying.
Since we had the revenue deferral in place, we can now reintroduce the
margins to help offset the rate increase from our power provider. The rev-
enue deferral plan is setup to set aside excess margins for the “rainy days”
and that is exactly how it is working for our cooperative.
Since we are a member-owned cooperative, we use these revenues to
hold down electric rates to our membership, while still preserving the cap-
ital credit allocation in the year the revenue was generated. This is just one
of the many benefits of being a member-owner of Lake Region Electric.
All of us at Lake Region Electric look forward to serving you this year.
Please, don’t hesitate to give me a call at any time to discuss any questions
or other concerns you may have.
Have a great month and God Bless!
We are able to keep rates steady because
of our revenue deferral plan.
4 March 2017 • COOPERATIVE CONNECTIONS
Protect Your Family
According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical cords and tem-
porary wiring account for more than 25 percent of the estimated 81,000 electrical
system fires that occur each year. These fires can be prevented by following these
essential home electrical safety tips.
Extension cord safety
• Don’t use extension cords as a substitute for repairing building wiring.
• Inspect extension cords for broken connectors, damaged insulation and missing
hardware before each use.
• Do not run extension cords through walls, over beams, around corners or
• Only use extension cords approved for the environment and loads expected.
• Equip extension cords with ground fault interruption (GFI) devices.
• Don’t use coiled extension cords.
• Discard damaged extension cords; Don’t try to repair them.
• Use only surge protected power strips. Inspect the power strips regularly for
damage or signs of overloading.
• Don’t substitute temporary and flexible wiring for repairing building wiring.
• Use temporary wiring only when needed for maintenance, repair or demolition
• Limit temporary wiring for holiday or ornamental
lighting to no more than 90 days.
• In outdoor settings, use only outdoor approved tempo-
rary wiring and extension cords.
• Don’t route temporary wiring across floors, around doors or through walls.
• Locate temporary wiring at least 7 feet above any walking or working surface.
• Protect temporary wiring from sharp edges, heat and sunlight to avoid break-
down of the insulation.
Equipment power cords
• Inspect equipment cords for damage before each us