November 2021 Light Reading Newsletter

Light Reading Your News from Flathead Electric Co-op, Inc.

Download November 2021 Light Reading (PDF)


The future of Northwest hydropower needs your help!

It’s time for members of Flathead Electric Co-op (FEC) to take action to help protect our access to carbon-free, affordable, reliable hydropower. Please take a moment to read this important update and educate yourself on how the removal of productive hydropower dams, like the four lower Snake River dams in Eastern Washington, would significantly impact the ratepayers of Flathead Electric Co-op. Reach out to Montana’s Congressional delegation and urge our leadership to consider bipartisan solutions that make sense for our energy future. Thank you for taking an active role in keeping your electric rates as low as possible.

Mark Johnson, Flathead Electric Cooperative General Manager

Lower Monumental Dam: Generating Capacity 810 Megawatts, Lower Granite Dam: Generating Capacity 810 Megawatts, Ice Harbor Dam: Generating Capacity 603 Megawatts, Little Goose Dam: Generating Capacity: 810 Megawatts.
The proposed breaching of these four Snake River dams would eliminate a total generating capacity of 3,033 Megawatts of carbon-free, renewable energy. Source: Bonneville Power Administration

A message from our friends at Northwest River Partners

The worsening climate crisis has led to dire warnings, including the recent Code Red for humanity from the United Nations and a joint health alert on global warming from over 200 medical journals worldwide.

These warnings make it absolutely clear that hydropower’s carbon-free attributes are tremendously important to the health of our planet and its people.

Unfortunately, despite its importance, the future of Northwest hydropower is in real jeopardy. Some well-known groups have loudly called for the removal of productive hydropower dams, like the four lower Snake River dams in Eastern Washington, claiming it’s the only way to help salmon.

We respectfully disagree with these claims. Perhaps the most important thing we can do for salmon is to fight climate change, which poses the single greatest threat to their survival.

Meanwhile, fully 35% of our region’s electric generation is still fossil-fueled, and we are in a race against time to replace it with clean alternatives.

Adding to the challenge, we’ll need to add even more clean energy to power electric vehicles and to heat buildings that are eliminating natural gas.

In this context, calls to remove productive hydropower dams just don’t make sense.

Dam Facts:

80 percent

We’re happy to report that almost all of our energy mix is carbon-free. 80% of that carbon-free electricity comes directly from hydroelectric dams. 

solar and wind

Solar and wind are growing, but they require backup because their output fluctuates minute-to-minute. Hydroelectric dams help balance the fluctuations of solar and wind.


Want to stay informed on issues impacting your Co-op?

We invite you to join our Grassroots Action Team so, if needed, you can help us contact legislators who make the decisions about critical issues impacting Flathead Electric Cooperative and other electric cooperatives in our state, region, and nation. 


FEC to Pay $2.8 Million in Capital Credits to Members in December 

Opening bill and seeing capital credit payment applied
New this year – active members with capital credit payments of less than $200 will have their payments applied directly to their accounts.

When you signed up to receive electric service from Flathead Electric Cooperative, you became a member-owner of the Co-op. While investor-owned utilities return a portion of any profits back to their investors, the benefit of being a Co-op member is that electric cooperatives allocate excess revenue to members as “capital credits,” and retire–or pay–them when the Co-op’s financial condition permits.

This year, the FEC Board of Trustees has elected to retire a percentage of the capital credits that were allocated to member accounts in 2008. In December, over $2.8 million will be paid to our members.

This means, if you were an FEC member in 2008, you’ll receive a capital credit payment in December.

New! Look for your capital credit payment on your December bill!

New this year, capital credit payments under $200 will be credited to active members’ bills rather than mailed as checks. This change will save our members a significant amount of money in printing and postage costs each year, reduce the number of checks that go unclaimed, and save members the step of cashing or depositing a physical check.


Co-op Connection

Get to know the people working for you


Meet Doug Gilmore – Research Analyst

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

A. I bring a positive attitude and effort to all that I do. I also worked for the Bonneville Power Administration, FEC’s wholesale power provider, for nine years in power sales supporting consumer-owned utilities (including FEC) in the Pacific Northwest. I take pride in ensuring the Co-op continues to provide equitable, low-cost, reliable power to our members.

Q. What’s the best thing about working here? 

A. Our members. Knowing that all I do is member- and mission-driven provides great clarity and purpose in solving problems. I am proud to be part of a group of co-workers who positively impact our community.

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

A. Self-duplication. Living in the Flathead Valley, I constantly find myself pulled to take advantage of the abundant outdoor activities. I would love to be in multiple places at the same time, enjoying the great outdoors with my wife Meagan, 10-month-old daughter Hannah, and four-year-old Brittany Spaniel Juniper.


Roundup Report

Safer Ski Trails

Glacier Nordic Ski Trails

A $5,000 grant to the Glacier Nordic Club will help provide a much-needed update to the lighting system for the cross-country ski trails at the Glacier Nordic Center. Located one mile west of Whitefish at the Whitefish Lake Golf Course, the Nordic Center provides lighting on 2.5 miles of groomed trails from dusk until dawn seasonally. The current system is over 20 years old with degraded wooden poles and wires that are becoming frayed.   

October Projects Funded

  • Trinity Lutheran School
    Playground safety materials $450

Need Funding? Roundup for Safety is here to help.

Need funding?

Roundup for Safety is here to help.

Non-profit organizations are eligible for up to $10,000 to help pay for safety projects. Apply online today!

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.