January 2020 LightREADING Newsletter

Download: January 2020 Light Reading (PDF)


Resolve to Conserve this new year

Proposed bylaw amendment would save members money

2020 Save Money

“Along with saving members money, passing the amendment would give them options they didn’t have before. “

Mark Johnson | FEC General Manager


As a member-owned, not-for-profit Cooperative, Flathead Electric is always looking for ways to operate efficiently and streamline costs. Fortunately, the Co-op’s Board of Trustees and staff determined that changing one bylaw in 2020 will save tens of thousands of dollars in members’ money going forward.

FEC is governed by a board of trustees, elected by members to represent them. Those trustees rely on the Co-op’s bylaws to guide them through their decision-making process.

Periodically, bylaws need to be amended and updated for relevance to the times. When that happens, the proposed bylaw change is included on the trustee election ballot for members to vote on after the Co-op’s Annual Meeting.

The board takes the task of amending bylaws very seriously. In fact, they voted to form an advisory committee, inviting members at large to represent each district in the Co-op’s service territory, to help examine the issues.

Trustees have identified a number of potential bylaw amendments to come before the membership. Some are simply grammatical in nature, while others expand member options or improve efficiencies for the Co-op.

Besides explaining the bylaw proposal for those in attendance at the Annual Meeting, it is currently required that the full text of bylaw amendments be mailed to every member of the Co-op (many of whom don’t care to read them at all). In preparing to communicate these changes to members, Co-op staff discovered that mailing the text of all the bylaw amendments being considered (over twenty pages long) to each member would cost members tens of thousands of dollars in postage and related expenses.

It was determined during further discussion, however, that one bylaw amendment would offer a solution. Members will be asked to vote yes in March for a change to Article XVIII. Simply put, the amendment would alter language in the bylaws to allow for the full text of amendments to be made available to our members on our website, as opposed to being required to mail it to each member. FEC General Manager, Mark Johnson, says passing the amendment would give members options they didn’t have before.

“They could still have the information mailed to them; they could peruse it online; or they could simply wait and read a summary of it on their ballot.”

Because FEC hopes to address a number of bylaw proposals to benefit the Co-op in 2021, it’s important to pass this amendment in 2020. Approving the change to Article XVIII will save a significant amount of members’ money next year as well as each and every time there is a proposed bylaw amendment in the future.


Other Ways to Save:

If, like FEC, saving money and being more efficient are some of your New Year’s resolutions, here are some ideas. (Heck, they’re all easier than losing weight!)

Save Energy

Save Energy

Saving energy also helps you save money. FEC can assist members in identifying where their homes may be losing energy and how to proceed with needed upgrades.

Paperless Billing and Auto Pay

Save Money

Save money when you sign up for paperless billing and autopay. You’ll receive a $1 credit on your bill each month.

Save Time

Save Time

Save time managing your electric account with FEC’s online account and mobile app. You can manage your electric account online 24 hours a day.


Flathead Electric Co-op offers over $117,000 in scholarships each year

ScholarshipsIndividual scholarships range from $1,500 to $6,000. The applicant or their parent/legal guardian must be a member of Flathead Electric Cooperative, served by the Co-op at their primary residence. Students eligible to apply for scholarships include:

  • Seniors graduating from accredited high schools in the Co-op’s service territory
  • Graduating homeschool students
  • Current undergraduate college students

Scholarship money must be used to attend an accredited post-secondary education institution in Montana. FEC scholarships are funded by unclaimed capital credits, which are dedicated to educational purposes by Montana statute.


Unclaimed capital credits

Capital Credit ChecksCapital credit checks were issued to Flathead Electric Co-op members in December. Checks for some former members, however, went unclaimed because the Co-op does not have their current address. A full list of unclaimed capital credits is available on our website.

If you know of a former member who may be on this list because they changed addresses, please have them call us at 406-751-4483 or 1-800-735-8489. We appreciate your assistance in this effort.

Remember, because capital credits may not be retired for several years, it’s important that you keep the Co-op informed of your current address.


Co-op Connection

Get to know the people working for you.

Tom Hollo

Tom Hollo – Roundup for Safety Director – District #5

Q. What do you bring to the Roundup for Safety Board?

A. I bring a youthful (but not irresponsibly youthful) perspective, a legal background, and a sense of humor.

Q. What’s the best thing about serving as a director?

A. I enjoy learning about so many outstanding organizations and projects going on in the Valley. Plus, nothing beats a board where you never have to raise money and only get to make people happy by granting it out.

Q. If you had a super-power, what would it be?

A. Teleportation. Duh.


Roundup Report

Grant will help protect officers and public

Ballistic shields for KPD

A $3,200 grant will help supply Kalispell Patrol Officers with ballistic shields. Officer Jordan Venezio says shields are utilized for officer/citizen rescues and building entries, adding that thresholds are one of the most dangerous areas.

“Officers have to expose themselves to danger in order to keep others from danger. We have cover on our vests, but vests most likely won’t stop rifle ballistics, nor do they protect heads and limbs. A shield gives officers a huge advantage when needing to enter unsafe areas.”

December Projects Funded

  • Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp
    AED and cabinet $1,000
  • Northwest Montana Backcountry Horsemen
    Two handheld radios with accessories $1,600
  • Fair-Mont-Egan SD #3
    Bleachers $10,000
  • Evergreen Junior High School
    Four AEDs $4,000

Roundup for Safety is a voluntary program for FEC members who round up their electric bills to the next dollar. This money goes into a fund for community safety projects.

To apply for a Roundup for Safety grant, visit Roundup for Safety. Thank you to the thousands of Flathead Electric members who round up their bill for safety! Together, we are making a difference in our community.