Did you know Dakota Valley has its own weatherization program?

Interested in saving money and energy? Dakota Valley Electric has its own program for weatherization. Through the Energy Resource Conservation (ERC) loan program, more than $913,600 has been loaned to cooperative members to weatherize their homes and install efficient heating and cooling systems.

Qualifying Dakota Valley members may borrow up to $5,000 at five percent interest to purchase and install energy-efficient electric heating and cooling systems and electric water heating systems. Eligible projects also include efforts to increase energy efficiency—such as replacing doors and windows and adding insulation. Also, the ERC loan program may be used by Dakota Valley members for purchasing and installing closed-loop geothermal heat pumps at cooperative-served sites. A qualifying member, with board approval, may receive a loan for 50 percent of total heat pump project (funding may not exceed $10,000 for total heat pump project.)

For more information about the cooperative’s ERC loan program, contact Rhonda Shockman, Kathy Rysavy or Pat Schaffer at 800-342-4671, find the form here at dakotavalley.com or e-mail questions to dvec@dakotavalley.com.

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Stand up for North Dakota!

North Dakota might have a booming energy economy, but you can’t tell it by the quality of air surrounding the state’s power plants.  The North Dakota Department of Health has successfully designed, implemented and enforced air quality programs that puts us at the top—one of only 12 states in the nation which complies with all federal ambient air quality standards.
Included in the state’s clean air program is a plan that has been in the works for four years.  The health department’s plan for reducing pollution-caused haze requires North Dakota’s coal-based power plants to upgrade equipment that has been proven to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 60 percent.
But the folks at EPA have other plans.  It has drafted rules that would require North Dakota to dump its own plan in favor of an EPA proposal costing $700 million MORE than the state’s plan.  To justify this added cost, EPA insists its plan will cut emissions of nitrogen oxide by 90 percent.
At a hearing in mid-October in Bismarck, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple questioned those claims.  “The technology that EPA proposes isn’t even proven to work with our lignite coal, and would cost the state 14 times more than the state plan,” said Dalrymple.  “EPA’s plan makes no economic or environmental sense.”
Your voice is needed
The governor expressed his opinion of EPA’s plan to override North Dakota’s authority to regulate its own industry.  He urged EPA to abide by the Clean Air Act which allows states to regulate their own industries.

            Your cooperative urges you to join the governor in relaying this message to the EPA.  It’s important that EPA hears from you and all North Dakotans who believe that we are fully capable of regulating our own air quality without spending exorbitant amounts of money on technology that hasn’t been proven to work with North Dakota’s lignite. 

Please submit your written comments to EPA by the deadline, Nov. 21!  For more information and to submit your comments, please visit http://www.stopepand.com/ where you may fill out a form that will be emailed to EPA.   Or log into your Facebook account and visit this page:  http://www.facebook.com/StopEPAND.  The “take action now” image below will take you directly to the form. Don’t hesitate to stand up for North Dakota.

Where can I see the regional haze in question?
Nowhere in North Dakota.  In 2010, the American Lung Association ranked Mercer County (home to several coal-based power plants) as one of the 26 cleanest counties in the US.  Billings County, home to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, is the third cleanest.  While the EPA plan to reduce regional haze must be focused on what is visible to the human eye, its proposal will not provide perceptible improvement in visibility.

2012 to bring rate increases

 

By General Manager Jay Jacobson

Dakota Valley General Manager Jay Jacobson

 

With the holidays approaching, we enter an era of gift-giving.  Once again, we are reminded how much we depend on electricity.  All those electronic gadgets must be charged.    All those digital devices depend on an electric outlet and a reliable source of electricity.  Most of us couldn’t go a week without plugging in and logging on.
All that demand for electricity adds up.   It, along with economic growth in the area served by our wholesale supplier (Basin Electric Power Cooperative), results in the need for increased supplies of power—and thus, increased costs.  This year, Basin brought a $1.3 billion coal plant online.  It added wind generation as well.  And now, Basin can offer additional capacity to its generation mix—at a price that reflects higher generation costs.
As the accompanying graph shows, a significant portion of that cost is derived from the price tag of environmental compliance.  In 2011, Basin’s cost of complying with environmental control added up to 4.5 percent of its expenses.  In 2012, that percentage will grow to 9 percent.
Who pays for the growing cost of environmental regulation?  We all do!  And the Basin system, in particular, can be proud of the contributions it has made to the goals of clean air and water.  In fact, in 2010, the American Lung Association ranked Mercer County (home to several coal-based power plants) as one of the 26 cleanest counties in the United States.  Billings County, home to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, is the third cleanest.
This track record hasn’t been achieved without a lot of investment in environmental controls—and we, as part of the Basin system, will continue to uphold this commitment to stewardship of our natural resources.  However, we believe we can continue to achieve our goals of clean air and water with common sense environmental regulation.
Increases to be reflected on February statement
Looking ahead to 2012, we see the pattern of ever-increasing wholesale power costs continue.  For the fourth consecutive year, we have managed that challenge by working diligently to hold down our operational costs.   But, just as we have done for the past four years, we will have to pass on some of that cost to you through increased rates—for not only our general kilowatt hour rate, but also for our off-peak rates.    While the extent and timing of the general rate increase is still under study by your cooperative’s board of directors, it has already directed that, in 2012, the dual heat rate will increase by 5 percent and the electric heat rate will rise by 3.6 percent.  The dual and electric heat rate increases will be reflected in your February 2012 electric bill.
As for the 2012 increase in our general rate—stay tuned.  We will be sending you notice announcing the increase before we put it in place.  While a rate increase is not something we ever like to announce, when you consider how electricity powers our lives, electricity is still a pretty decent bargain.  Your cooperative works hard to keep it that way.