March 2022 Light Reading

Light Reading Your News from Flathead Electric Co-op

Download March 2022 Light Reading (PDF)

CONTENTS

Steady As We Grow: Annual Meeting Time

Annual Meeting Set for April 23, 2022

As a cooperative, we last met in person in March 2019 – three full years ago! Our 2020 meeting was canceled due to pandemic shutdowns and our 2021 meeting was a vehicle-based remote gathering. (It was fun, too!)

Plenty has happened since March 2019. We have new members receiving electricity from the Co-op, new employees serving the Co-op, and new trustees guiding the Co-op’s affairs. We’re watching weather records shatter, in terms of temperatures and wind speeds. We are all part of a changing valley. This year’s Annual Meeting provides an excellent moment to reflect on where the Co-op has been and where it is going.

2022 Annual Meeting 85 years

2019 Our last indoor meeting March 2019 at Canvas Church
Our last indoor meeting March 2019 at Canvas Church
2020 Annual Meeting Canceled
The 2020 Annual Meeting was canceled due to the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Our first drive-in meeting - March 2021 at Glacier High School
Our first drive-in meeting – March 2021 at Glacier High School
We are back for an in-person meeting at Canvas Church on April 23, 2022!
We are back for an in-person meeting at Canvas Church on April 23, 2022!
Mark Johnson Annual Meeting

A Message For You

Dear Members,

As we prepare for the Annual Meeting, we reflect on the first 85 years of Flathead Electric Cooperative, and what the next 85 might look like. We talk about where we are right now, as a service area, as a state, as a region, and beyond.

The world around us is rapidly changing, and some of those changes have led to incredible population growth in the Flathead Valley. We remain steady through this growth, and we’ve chosen Steady As We Grow as the meeting’s theme.

When we talk about staying steady in our growth, we mean that even as our community faces challenges, we are committed to maintaining reliable, affordable electric service and to achieving the highest level of member-owner satisfaction.

In 1937, the first members gathered to form our not-for-profit electric cooperative. They were careful as they planned for future growing seasons. Luckily, lots of them were farmers, and knew about preparing for steady growth.

For the first time this year, our Annual Meeting will be held in April. I can’t think of a more appropriate time, as we pause from the work of planting our own backyard vegetable gardens and front porch flowerpots, to plan for the steady future growth of our electric cooperative.

These days, we don’t all have farming backgrounds, but the last few years have taught all of us how important it is to prepare for the unexpected, whether that’s a virus, a weather event, or spike in population. Here at the Co-op, employees work hard every day to nurture the three seeds that Flathead Electric Cooperative has grown from, and that inspire us every day: community, innovation, and reliability.

Thank you to all members steadily growing with us. We hope to see you on April 23.

My best,

Mark Johnson | General Manager

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Save the Date | April 23, 2022

WHAT: 85th Annual Members’ Meeting

WHEN: Saturday, April 23, 2022

WHERE: Canvas Church, 255 Summit Ridge, Kalispell

AGENDA: 

  • 8:30 am Registration and breakfast
  • 9:00 am Entertainment by the Fabulous Bel Aires
  • 9:45 am Business Meeting (learn about the issues impacting your Cooperative)
  • 11:30 am Meeting Adjourns

PRIZES: Door prize drawings, including the grand prize $500 energy bill credit! (Must be present to win.)

SCHOLARSHIPS: Four $500 in-state tuition scholarships will be awarded to area high school seniors who attend and whose parents/guardians are Co-op members. (Must be present to win.)

Board of Trustees | Seats up for Election:

  • District 1 (Columbia Falls to Essex)
  • District 4 (Helena Flats – Columbia Falls Stage)
  • District 7 (Kalispell, South of Highway 2)

District Map showing exact boundaries can be seen here. Meeting attendees will hear from candidates running for election.

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811

Call 811 Before You Dig!

Spring is just around the corner, and many are busy preparing for warm weather projects — some of which involve digging. Last year, several power outages were accidentally caused by Flathead Electric Co-op members while digging. You can help keep everyone safe (and the Wi-Fi working) by ALWAYS calling before you dig!

Natural gas, water, sewer, cable, and electricity are just a few examples of utilities that might be buried underground. It doesn’t matter how deep you plan to dig – or whether you’re a homeowner or a professional excavator — you’ll need to call 811 three days before you start. Visit montana811.org for more info.

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Ballot Options

My Ballot

Thanks to passing a bylaw change in 2021, members can opt to vote digitally in the 2022 election. For those who opt-out of their paper ballot, electronic voting options include an emailed ballot; the My Co-op mobile app; or the Co-op’s website. Members have more ways to participate in the election, and the Co-op saves paper and postage costs. Win-win! (As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, saving money helps us keep rates low for our members.)

Opt-out of your paper ballot before March 31.

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Ice Harbor Dam on the lower Snake River | Bonneville Power Administration
Ice Harbor Dam on the lower Snake River | Bonneville Power Administration

Let’s Keep The Dams Intact

Montanans depend on rivers for recreation, drinking water, and irrigation. We count on them for electricity, too.

As a member of Flathead Electric Co-op, most of your electricity comes from carbon-free, affordable, reliable hydropower.

Unfortunately, despite those benefits, the future of our area’s hydropower is in real jeopardy. Some groups are calling for the removal of the lower Snake River dams, which help power the northwest. Your Co-op believes it’s time for members to take action to protect hydropower.

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Co-op Connection

Get to know the people working for you

Katch-Hadley

Meet Katch Hadley, Apprentice Wireman

Q. What does an apprentice wireman do for the Co-op?

A. Linemen work on the power outside of substations; wiremen work on the power inside of substations. All of us are kind of like high voltage electricians. At the substation, we maintain equipment, and shift loads, or change how power flows from the substation.

Q. What’s the best part of your job?

A. The crew I work with is on the same page on just about all aspects of the job, and our schedule affords me a ton of time to spend with my family.

Q. What’s the best part about living in the Co-op’s service area?

A. My wife and I are both from here, so being able to raise my three boys here is pretty awesome!

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ROUNDUP REPORT Badrock VFD

Badrock Volunteer Fire Department Receives New Turnout Gear

Supply chain issues delayed Badrock Volunteer Fire Department’s efforts, but with the help of Roundup for Safety grant money, they were able to replace their worn-out turnout gear.  

Lt. LaTray explained, “turnout gear has a ten-year shelf life before its fire retardancy begins to deteriorate. The fabric also becomes more susceptible to cuts and is generally less protective. We are so grateful to the Co-op members who round up their bills with small amounts of money to make big increases in safety for our community.” 

February Projects Funded

  • The Heritage Museum Roof replacement $7,500 
  • Underwater Soldiers AED $1,200 
  • St. Matthew’s Catholic School Digital security cameras $5,000 
  • DREAM Adaptive Recreation AED $1,200 
  • Three Rivers EMS Child safety restraints for ambulance $396
  • Habitat for Humanity AEDs $2,400
  • West Glacier School Flashing speed sign $2,300
  • Flathead County Sheriff’s Posse First responder trauma kits $10,000
  • Kalispell Babe Ruth First aid kit, ice machine $250
  • Senior Mobile Home Repair Program Senior mobile home repair $10,000

 

RoundUp for Safety Flathead Electric Cooperative

ROUNDUP FOR SAFETY is a voluntary program for FEC members who round up their electric bills to the next dollar. This money is managed by an independent board and goes into a fund for community safety projects.

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