80th Annual Meeting Recap

80th Annual Meeting Recap

Co-op leaders are optimistic with increase in sales and stable rates

As Verendrye Electric celebrated a milestone of 80 years, cooperative leaders look to the future where they see optimism for a rebound in electricity sales, stable rates and strong finances.

“Power for Generations” was the theme at Verendrye Electric’s 80th Annual Meeting to illustrate the past, present and future of the cooperative.

Blaine Bruner, president of the board, said Verendrye has been able to hold rates thanks to stable wholesale power rates. “We expect energy rates per kilowatt-hour to remain stable through 2019, making three years of stable rates,” Bruner said.

Verendrye’s power costs represent 71 percent of the cooperative’s expenses. Although kilowatt-hour rates are expected to remain stable through the year, Verendrye is considering a small $1 or $2 increase in the monthly facility charge on members’ bills.

Bruner also discussed the potential for grow in electricity sales with signs the area economy could be improving.

“Last year your electric cooperative set a record for energy sales with just under 595 million kilowatt-hours being sold. The previous record was set in 2014 at 594 million,” Bruner said. “We are optimistic that the Minot area economy will pick up steam with things like the new Trinity Hospital and the continued expansion at AGT.”

Verendrye finished 2018 with $50.6 million in revenue, $50.2 million in expenses, and an operating margin at $399,000.

Bruner also discussed how the Board of Directors was able authorize the retirement of nearly $1.7 million in capital credits when estate retirements are included. The record amount was possible because Verendrye received $787,000 in capital credit retirements from its generation and transmission cooperatives Central Power Electric Cooperative and Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

Low outage times were also discussed. The past winter brought some brutally cold temperatures, and caused some problems with power outages, but fortunately Verendrye continued to keep the average outage time per meter below the national averages. Verendrye’s average outage time per meter was 74 minutes, compared to 230 minutes nationally.

The winner of the $800 door prize was Karen Steinberger and the winner of the $500 scholarship drawing was Morgan Pedersen, a 2019 graduate of Harvey High School.