June 2018 LightREADING Newsletter

Download: June 2018 LR Web (PDF)


Cooperative recognized with Conservation Award

From left to right, FEC Board President Doug Grob, Gael Bissell, FEC GM Mark Johnson and FAS President, Kay Mitchell

Citing its innovative projects, the Flathead Audubon Society presented the Co-op with their Conservation Achievement Recognition Award.

In her presentation, Society vice president, Gael Bissell, noted that some of these projects are the first of their kind in Montana. “These projects benefit not only Co-op members but also our environment, our children’s future, and our bottom lines. We salute FEC for their accomplishments.”

Projects recognized by the award include:

  • Landfill Gas Plant – FEC built the first methane gas-to-energy project in Montana at the Flathead County Landfill.
  • Stoltze – FEC and Stoltze Land & Lumber Company signed a Power Purchase Agreement, which helped Stoltze replace an antiquated boiler and construct a biomass-fueled electric generation facility.
  • Whitefish/Libby Hydro – FEC signed power purchase agreements with Whitefish and Libby for electricity produced from their hydro-electric generators.
  • Community Solar – FEC built the SUN (Solar Utility Network), Montana’s first community solar array, which consists of 356 solar panels purchased by members who support investing in alternative energy.
  • Electric Vehicle (EV)/Charging Station – FEC purchased an EV and installed Montana’s first Chargepoint Vehicle Charging Station at their Kalispell headquarters to research these fast growing technologies.

Flathead Electric is working on many other conservation projects to reduce electrical costs and increase efficiencies. Bissell says FEC has clearly raised the bar for electric cooperatives across the region.


Win a month of free electricity – Peak Time halfway celebration!

Now that we have your attention, we’d like to invite you to help Flathead Electric Co-op celebrate meeting the halfway mark of our Peak Time Rebate Program! This important energy efficiency program offers participating members a $4 per month credit on their electric bill. We install a free unit on your electric water heater, and during peak periods of energy use, we will turn your water heater off for a short period of time, (which our participants typically never even notice). Our initial goal was 5,000 participants, and we’ve now got 2,500 people taking advantage of the program. As a “Halfway Celebration,” we’ll be paying someone’s electric bill for the month of July!

Two ways to enter the drawing:

1) If you are a member of the Co-op and you have an electric water heater at your primary residence, you are eligible to sign up for the Peak Time Rebate Program. Anyone who signs up for the Peak Time Rebate Program in June will be automatically entered into the drawing.

2) If you’re already a program participant or you don’t have an electric water heater, refer another member. If they sign up in the month of June, we’ll enter both of you into the drawing. (Just make sure they mention your name when asked how they heard about the program.)

The more Peak Time participants there are, the more FEC’s system demand is reduced, and the more money we get to return to our participating members.

Join in the “Halfway Celebration” – sign up for the Peak Time Rebate Program by calling 406-751-1834, or visit Peak Time Rebate Program.


Flathead Electric invites members to participate in Pulse Project 2018

Pulse ProjectFEC’s new Pulse Project hopes to support our community by achieving two goals:

  1. Collecting at least 150 pints of blood for the American Red Cross (the largest Blood Drive in their Montana history), and
  2. Providing energy assistance for our members in need.

For the Co-op to be successful in meeting those goals, we will need the help of people and businesses like you and yours.

FEC is seeking pledges to help sponsor the event. At the Co-op, we see decent, hardworking members struggling to pay their bills on a regular basis. These folks are typically experiencing temporary financial burdens, such as a medical crisis, loss of a loved one, being laid off from a job and so on. FEC does its best to help, but as a member-owned, not-for-profit Cooperative, our resources are limited. That’s where you come in. By giving to the Pulse Project, you’ll enable Flathead Electric to assist more members of our community. For more information, or to make a pledge, please visit Pulse Project.


Congratulations, scholarship winners!
Flathead Electric awards $75,000 to local students

Scholarship winners
Flathead High School scholarship recipients Kaitlin Wride, Moira Bruce, Michael Lee, and Mara Lorch

Flathead Electric Cooperative is pleased to announce its 2018 Scholarship Program recipients, funded by the Co-op’s unclaimed capital credits (this money is dedicated to education).

We recognize these students for their dedication, and we hope this support helps them meet their educational goals. A total of $75,000 has been awarded this year to students in our service territory.

Recipients include:
Kenna Bemis (Glacier HS)
Moira Bruce (Flathead HS)
Logan Christensen (Libby HS)
Millie Espeseth (Glacier HS)
Jared Fetveit (Stillwater Christian)
Kate Ford (Bigfork HS)
Austin Green (Columbia Falls HS)
Hunter Grimes (Whitefish HS)
Kearney Holst (Non-traditional)
Robert Hurly (Glacier HS)
Kari Inabnit (Glacier HS)
Brittany Katzer (Non-traditional)
Samantha Kleist (Glacier HS)
Matthew Knuffke (Glacier HS)
Michael Lee (Flathead HS)
Jessica Logsdon (Non-traditional)
Mara Lorch (Flathead HS)
Ethan Mercer (Whitefish HS)
Kristy Metcalfe (Non-traditional)
Hunter Rauthe (Glacier HS)
Shannon Reny (Libby HS)
Jonathan Sorenson (Glacier HS)
Dawn Tacke (Non-traditional)
Logan Taylor (Bigfork HS)
Lynette Vogel (Glacier HS) (Basin Electric Cooperative Scholarship)
Benjamin Windauer (Columbia Falls HS)
Kaitlin Wride (Flathead HS)

The Board of Trustees extends its best wishes to these exceptional kids stating, “one of the qualities all of these scholarship winners have in common is their commitment to the community and their focus on helping others. We are proud to be a part of their future and wish them tremendous success as they move forward to the next chapter in their lives.” For more information on FEC’s Scholarship Program, visit scholarships.


Your Co-op Connection of the Month
Get to know the people working for you

Darren Fix
Senior Programmer/Database Administrator

What do you bring to your Co-op?

I’ve been programming professionally for over twenty years, and I’ve seen trends come and go in the industry. By focusing on the fundamentals, I’ve become effective at cutting through the weeds and getting to the issue at hand. I like to joke that my job is to take my co-workers’ problems, make them my own, then write a computer program to make that problem go away – or at least make it less frustrating.

What’s the best thing about working at the Co-op?

I love our sense of community and focus on providing reliable and affordable power. I love that our highest priority is the safety of employees and members. I’m proud to work for a company that takes its responsibility of corporate citizenship seriously. I’ve worked at huge corporations tackling challenges, but when I solve a problem for the Co-op, it’s deeply satisfying to know that my work is helping my friends and neighbors.

If you had a super power, what would it be and why?

It seems like there is a lot of anxiety and conflict in the world. My superpower would be to spread a sense of peace and goodwill. I’d also like to have a burn-proof tongue, so that I would never again destroy my taste buds because I didn’t realize how hot my coffee was.


Roundup Report: Grant helps provide life saving training

A $1,000 grant from Roundup for Safety has been awarded to Flathead Industries for CPR manikins. In applying for the grant, spokesperson Sarah Mathiason told the board that The American Health Association has required Flathead Industries to replace its old manikins by the end of the year.

“The new manikins, which we will be making available to the public at large as well, will benefit our employees, who provide support to 240 people with disabilities each year. These folks are sometimes at a higher risk, so CPR training is a critical component to life-saving training. Training our staff also reaches into the community where they live and recreate, so they are more apt to be effective in an emergency situation requiring CPR.”

May Projects Funded

  • NW MT Back Country Horseman
    Radios — $1,875
  • Glacier Babe Ruth Baseball
    Pole and Lights — $3,700
  • Whitefish Library Association
    Handrail — $1,033
  • Project Whitefish Kids
    Fall Protection, Wood Chips — $5,400
  • Abbie Shelter
    Fire Protection/Surveillance — $6,000

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.