June 2020 Light Reading Newsletter

June 2020 Light Reading Newsletter

Your Co-op’s Response to COVID-19: 

Keeping our members and employees safe and healthy is our top priority. 

For the most up to date information about how your Co-op is responding, visit us online or call us at 406-751-4483. 

Download June 2020 Light Reading (PDF)

CONTENTS

Rates

FEC Trustees announce no rate revenue increase for
second year in a row

Rates

Given the current economic challenges many Co-op members are facing, the Board of Trustees is especially pleased to announce that, for the second year in a row, they have decided against any increase in total rate revenue collected from members for the coming year. The Board also approved a revenue-neutral change to the residential rate which includes a decrease in the Energy Charge (kWh) and an increase in the Demand Charge (kW).

Over time, the way FEC is charged by its wholesale power provider, the Bonneville Power Administration, has changed. The Co-op now pays a premium for power used during peak hours. This adjustment is designed to more fairly collect the Co-op’s costs. With this change, most residential members’ bills will decrease or increase by less than two percent, depending on how they use electricity.

In addition to collecting costs more equitably, the demand charge gives FEC members another opportunity to control their bill by shifting energy usage to off-peak hours, and/or avoiding the simultaneous use of large appliances during peak hours.

You can use FEC’s residential rate calculator to see exactly how this change will impact your electric bill.

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Please stay connected to your Co-op

Stay Connected

We are encouraging members who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are having trouble paying their electric bills to stay connected with the Co-op.

The first thing members need to do is call 751-4483. Given the opportunity, staff can generally work out flexible pay arrangements.

While disconnects were suspended for a time, in order for the Co-op to continue providing service, outstanding electric bills will still need to be paid. That said, disconnecting anyone’s electricity is the last thing we want to do. We want to work with members to keep the power on.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program

When times are tough, help is available. Community Action Partnership of NW Montana administers the LIEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program). If you qualify, they can assist by paying a portion of your home heating costs. A COVID-19 Emergency Energy Assistance Program is available now. Flathead Electric offers assistance for members in need as well, and we are just a phone call away. Dial 751-4483 or 1-800-735-8489.

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FEC Election Results

Three seats on the Board of Trustees were up for election this year. Facing no challengers, incumbents Duane Braaten, Jerry Bygren, and Terry Crooks held their seats.

Voters also overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the Bylaws, with 6,110 voting in favor and 420 voting against. Passing this single Bylaw Amendment (Article XVIII) will save tens of thousands of dollars in members’ money now and in the future by allowing for the full text of amendments to be made available to members on the Co-op’s website, as opposed to being required to mail it to each member. By request, members will still be able to have the information mailed to them.

The Board and staff wish to extend a sincere thank you to those who voted and encourage members to continue to stay involved with the future success of Flathead Electric Cooperative.

FEC 2020 Election Results

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FEC Scholarship recipients announced

Scholarships

Flathead Electric Cooperative (FEC) is pleased to announce its 2020 Scholarship Program recipients. They recognize these students for their dedication, and hope this support helps them meet their educational goals. A total of $105,000 has been awarded this year to the following students in the Co-op’s service territory:

Megan Andersen (Glacier HS)

Maria Bay (Flathead HS)

Chantelle Bodily (Columbia Falls HS)

Madison Casazza (Non-traditional)

David Curtin (Flathead HS)

Kylee Dougherty (Columbia Falls HS)

Dan East (Non-traditional)

Paul Geer (Whitefish HS)

Brenda Gibson (Non-traditional)

Ryan Goodman (Libby HS)

Makayla Grossman (Non-traditional)

Simon Hill (Glacier HS)

Eli Hunt (Glacier HS)

David Jutzi (Glacier HS)

Preston LaSalle (Glacier HS)

Samuel Lovering (Columbia Falls HS)

Ashley Miller (Bigfork HS)

Scott O’Donnell (Flathead HS)

Kimberly Peacock (Columbia Falls HS)

Trey Thompson (Libby HS)

Anezka Tornerova (Non-traditional)

Mia Van Vlack (Whitefish HS)

Madison Wambeke (Non-traditional)

Julia Wynne (Flathead HS)

Typically, FEC gives away six, $500 scholarships during the Annual Meeting, but since the meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19, the scholarships were awarded online during a “Social Distancing Scholarship” social media campaign. The recipients of those scholarships are:

Matthew Glimm (Caroll College)

Connor Lawrence (FVCC)

Emma McDonald (FVCC)

Ganten Pirrie (MSU Bozeman)

Luke Shippey (MSU Bozeman)

Trevor Wilson (FVCC)

FEC scholarships are funded by capital credit dollars that have gone unclaimed for five or more years, at which point state law allows FEC to use them for educational purposes in its service area, rather than going into the Montana general fund.

Scholarship money must be used to attend an accredited post-secondary education institution in Montana.

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Co-op Connection

Get to know the people working for you.

Katie Pfennigs

Katie Pfennigs – Marketing & Communications Supervisor

Q. What do you bring to your Co-op?

A. A passion for communications and a drive for constant improvement. From power outages to account management options – I believe communicating is key, and we can always find ways to do it better.

Q. What’s the best thing about working at Flathead Electric?

A. The Co-op’s heart for our community. I see examples of that playing out in the work my incredible co-workers do every day, and it’s enormously fulfilling to be part of it.

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

A. Today, I would sacrifice my childhood dream of flying for the power of immunity so I could create vaccines for novel viruses, help get us back to a healthy thriving society and economy, and help prevent future pandemic disasters.

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Roundup Report

Roundup for Safety grant helps unsheltered citizens

COVID-19 Shelter
Organizers Chris Krager and Kyle Waterman at the Flathead COVID-19 Emergency Shelter.
COVID-19 Shelter
The quarantine room at the shelter has a separate entrance so guests can isolate.

A $5,000 grant helped provide temporary emergency shelter for individuals during the COVID-19 crisis who needed to safely shelter in place. The Collaborative effort included: Samaritan House, Flathead Warming Center, Western Montana Mental Health, Flathead City County Health Department, Flathead Community Health Center, Kalispell Regional Hospital, United Way of Northwest Montana, ASSIST, Abbie Shelter, Sunburst Mental Health, Veteran’s Food Bank and Pantry, and A Ray of Hope.

May Projects Funded

  • Whitefish School District #44
    AEDs $2,400
  • Flathead Community Foundation
    Swing arm stop signs for buses $5,000
  • St. Matthew’s Church
    Security cameras $2,500
  • DREAM Adaptive Recreation
    Safe sport training $1,020
  • Kootenai Cross-Country Ski Club, Inc
    Electrical wiring and lighting $2,500

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.

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