Verendrye Electric holds 78th Annual Meeting
Electricity sales stabilized in 2016 and outage times remained well below state and national averages, which has created optimism in what lies ahead for the remainder of 2017.
That good news was reported at Verendrye Electric Cooperative's 78th Annual Meeting on June 8.
"We are in good financial condition even though the economy has cooled down. We saw a significant drop in kilowatt-hour sales from 2014 to 2015, but 2016 sales are comparable to 2015," said Blaine Bruner, chairman of the board.
Manager Randy Hauck said sales could potentially increase in 2017 because of strong sales to industrial users including agribusinesses and oil pipelines. Trinity Hospital has also broken ground on a new hospital in southwest Minot which Verendrye would serve.
"Our very diverse membership certainly helps us get through slower economic times," Hauck said.
The cooperative finished the year with $50.4 million in revenue and $49.8 million in operating expenses. The operating margin was $684,000.
Hauck also pointed to a graph on the large screen showing an average outage time per meter of about 1.5 hours a year, which is about half of the U.S. average and well below the North Dakota Average.
"We had very few extended outages even though it seemed like we experienced a blizzard every other week," Hauck said. "We have a very aggressive maintenance plan to maintain 4,600 miles of line and over 50,000 poles."
Each year there is one director up for election in each of Verendrye's three districts. This year directors Maxine Rognlien (East District), Bob Wolf (Central District) and Howard "Bucky" Anderson were unopposed for re-election. They serve three-year terms.
The annual meeting continues to draw a crowd with around 3,200 attending. The traditional meal featuring of meatballs and mashed potatoes was served by Homesteaders Restaurant and local fiddler Shelby Huston was a hit with attendees.
One change members may have noticed was that there was no ice cream truck parked in the middle of the dining hall. The truck was sold to someone out of the area so a bright yellow Verendrye truck took its place. Since there was no ice cream truck, freezers were hauled in to store it until it was served.
Members also picked up their capital credit checks, totaling $600,000. If you were not at the meeting to pick up your check, it will be mailed to you if it is at least $5.
Several prizes were also given out. No one won the $2,000 prize that is drawn from the entire 12,000 members, but Sylvia Domsten won the consolation prize of $780.