Watch for hazards in the field this spring


Many farmers are busy preparing tillage equipment, sprayers and planters for spring fieldwork. Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative urges farmers to look for electric hazards around the farm as they prepare for planting. The most common cause of contact with overhead power lines is operating machinery such as large tractors with front loaders, portable grain augers, fold-up cultivators, grain elevators and any equipment with an antenna. Handling long items such as irrigation pipe, ladders and rods also poses the risk of contact with power lines.

Overhead power lines are necessary to deliver electricity to farmsteads and rural homes, but the electricity can be deadly if wires are touched by large equipment. Farmers should be aware of power lines while using large equipment for spring tillage.

Farmers and their equipment should always be 10 feet away from power lines on all sides. Practice extreme caution and use a spotter to make sure you stay far away from power lines when you use tall equipment.

Overhead power lines are not the only electric hazard on the farm. Pole guy wires, used to stabilize utility poles, are grounded. However, when one of the guy wires is broken it can become charged with electricity. If you break a guy wire, call the cooperative.

Follow these tips to stay safe around the farm this spring:

  • Make sure you, your family and employees know the location of overhead power lines, and use routes to avoid the lines when moving equipment.
  • Be aware of increased heights of equipment, especially new equipment with higher antennas.
  • Avoid moving large equipment alone. Have someone watch as you move equipment to ensure you are clear of power lines.
  • If your equipment does contact a power line, stay in the cab and call for help.  Warn others to stay away and wait until the electric cooperative arrives.


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March’s energy efficiency tip of the month

EE Tip


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Saving energy with TVs

Energy culprits lurk in your home. DVD players, video game consoles and televisions use about 10 percent of an average household’s annual electricity, according to Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Depending on the technology behind the TV you’re watching, monthly energy costs can vary dramatically. Standard sets use a cathode ray tube, with those smaller than 40 inches drawing roughly 73 watts when on – close to what a 75-watt incandescent light bulb uses. An average flat-screen LCD television of the same size also requires 70 watts, while a similar flat-screen plasma TV can really suck some power, consuming an average 246 watts when on.

As screen sizes increase, energy consumption may also increase, but there are still ways to be a savvy shopper. An Energy Star-certified TV will be about 25 percent more energy efficient than conventional models.

Once you purchase a new TV, calibrate it by adjusting the contrast and brightness to a moderate level. By default, new televisions are set to dynamic, high-contrast settings which consume more power than standard, lower-contrast settings.

No matter what types of electronics you use, those glowing lights at night prove that power is still being consumed, even while everyone is sleeping. “Off” doesn’t really mean off anymore.

Most televisions slowly sip electricity while waiting for someone to press the “on” button. They use energy to remember channel lineups, language preferences, and the time. DVD players, DVRs, and cable or satellite boxes also use energy when we think they’re turned off.

Americans own approximately 24 electronic products per household, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, so considerable energy goes toward powering those products.

There is a convenient and low-cost solution. Replacing your conventional power strips with advanced “smart” power strips can help reduce the electricity wasted when these devices are idle. These power strips prevent electronics from drawing power when they are off or not being used.

Most smart strips feature three outlet colors, each with a unique task. The blue outlet serves as a control plug, and is ideal for a heavily used device like a TV or computer. Anything plugged into red outlets stays on – electricity to these receptacles never cuts off – making them perfect for satellite boxes or other appliances that need constant power.

The remaining outlets, generally neutral or green in color, are sensitive to current flowing through the blue outlet, so turning off the TV or computer cuts power to them as well. Some smart power strips can be made even smarter with timers or occupancy sensors that determine when to cut power to various devices.



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Tackle that do-it-yourself project with care


You might have the paint selected and the nail gun loaded, but have you considered the safety of your next do-it-yourself project?

Safety is a concern in any do-it-yourself project, but especially when the work includes a home’s electrical system. Working on or near a home’s electrical system can be hazardous if you don’t know the rules. That’s why it’s a good idea to leave the installation or repair of your home’s electrical system to licensed electricians.

Most homeowners do not have the training or experience needed to safely perform electrical work, increasing the risk of immediate injuries and electrocutions and potentially introducing new dangers into the home. Working with electricity requires thorough planning and extreme care, and cutting corners can be a costly mistake.

Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative strongly recommends hiring a qualified, licensed electrician to perform any electrical work in your home. However, if you decide to complete a project yourself, consider the following important safety tips before undertaking any home electrical project:

  • First, make an effort to learn about your home’s electrical system so you can safely navigate and maintain it.
  • Then, turn off the power! Always turn off the power to the circuit that you plan to work on by switching off the circuit breaker in the main service panel. Remember, no power to the circuit means that you are safe to proceed to work on that circuit or device connected to it. But, how do you know the circuit is off for sure?
  • Test the circuit. Test the wires, devices or panels before you touch them to make sure the power has been turned off. A voltage tester can detect if the circuit is on before you begin any work or expose any wires. Test the tester on something you know is working, like a lamp cord, before testing a circuit.
  • Be sure to unplug any lamp or appliance before working on it.
  • Never touch plumbing or gas pipes when performing a do-it-yourself electrical project.
  • Never attempt a project that is beyond your skill level. Knowing when to call a professional may help prevent electrical fires, injuries and fatalities.


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Powering up after a storm

Lights out? Thirty-one percent of power outages are triggered by the weather. Lineworkers must battle the elements to find problem areas and restore service as quickly and safely as possible.

“We know our members want to know why the lights are out and when they’re coming back,” shares Eric Sieg, operations supervisor at Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative. “First, our crews must find and repair the problem, then follow a series of steps to bring the lights back on.”

Efforts are made to restore power to the largest number of members as quickly as possible. Then crews fix problems impacting smaller groups of members.

Restoring power
When an outage occurs, line crews work to pinpoint problems. They start with high-voltage transmission lines. Transmission towers and cables that supply power to thousands of consumers rarely fail. But when damage occurs, these facilities must be repaired before other parts of the system can operate.

Next, crews check distribution substations. Each substation serves hundreds or thousands of members. When a major outage occurs, line crews inspect substations to discover if problems stem from transmission lines feeding into the substation, the substation itself, or if problems exist down the line.

If the problem cannot be isolated at a distribution substation, distribution lines are checked. These lines carry power to large groups of members in communities or housing developments. If local outages persist, supply lines (also called tap lines) are inspected. These lines deliver power to transformers, either mounted on poles or placed on pads for underground service, outside businesses, schools and homes.

If your home remains without power, the service line between a transformer and your home may need to be repaired.

Always call Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative at (701) 939-6671 to report an outage. This helps crews isolate local issues.

Stay in the know
Members can receive outage and power restoration updates by liking Burke-Divide Electric on Facebook ( or following the co-op on Twitter (

(B. Denise Hawkins writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Megan McKoy-Noe contributed to this article.)

Powering Up


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2012 Annual Meeting Highlights

Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative held its 67th annual meeting June 13 at the cooperative’s headquarters in Columbus.  Around 220 members and families were served a backyard barbeque style meal of hamburgers, pork loins and hot dogs, potato salad and fresh fruit.  The meal was topped off with ice cream bars. Kids enjoyed a jumping castle and bucket truck rides prior to the meeting.

Members were treated to fresh-popped popcorn as they browsed informational displays prior to the meal and meeting.

Pastor Janet Gwin led the group in the invocation.  The National Anthem was presented in a video by Touchstone Energy with vocals by Lee Greenwood.  Vice President Haugland reported that 94 voting members were present.

Financial Report
Burke-Divide Electric’s office manager Tori Kling presented the cooperative’s financial report.  Kling noted that the cooperative continues to see significant growth across its membership with the most notable growth being seen in the large commercial accounts.  Net margins for 2011 were $1,323,309.  Member equity stood at $9,548,122.

Eide Bailly, LLP of Fargo audited the balance sheets and related statements for the year ending December 31, 2011, and found them to fairly represent the Cooperative’s financial position.

President and Manager’s Report
In a joint report to members, President David Sigloh and Manager Jason Brothen provided members with a recap of the cooperative’s past year and a preview of the year ahead.

“The focus of our report this year will be the mission of Burke-Divide Electric,” begins Sigloh. The first part of Burke-Divide Electric’s mission states that the cooperative will provide reliable, high-quality electricity to its members.

Sigloh explained that the cooperative continues to experience many changes including the ability to provide reliable power.  Brothen spoke to members about the inadequacy of the cooperative’s current power delivery system.  “The current transmission system we have is not adequate to meet the member load growth, so changes to the system are needed,” Brothen explains. “We are taking advantage of a growth situation that will build the backbone of the cooperative’s power delivery system.”

Sigloh explained that taking advantage of our current growth spurt will help stabilize cost, reduce rate pressure and upgrade a very old delivery system. Sigloh continues, “As we go through this growth process, we keep the goal of providing reliable power at a competitive cost to all members in the forefront.  The board of directors and staff look at ways to maximize the investment for all members while allocating the cost to the correct member.”

Sigloh and Brothen continued their report based on the second portion of Burke-Divide Electric’s mission which focuses on the cooperative’s dedication to strengthen the economy and our vested interest in the communities we serve.

Sigloh explained to members the significance of Burke-Divide Electric’s role in economic development made possible through the cooperative’s Revolving Loan Fund and membership in the Rural Development Finance Corporation.

Brothen highlighted the educational opportunities offered through the cooperative which include scholarships, the Youth Tour to Washington, D.C., power plant tours and electrical safety demonstrations.

President Sigloh and Manager Brothen invited members to call or stop in anytime to ask questions, voice concerns and share ideas about the cooperative.

Guest Speaker
Jasper Schneider, North Dakota’s State Director for USDA Rural Development,discussed USDA’s commitment to rural communities and the programs USDA offers in partnership with electric cooperatives. He thanked the members of Burke Divide Electric Cooperative for building their cooperative and for their support of USDA projects.

Youth Tour and Scholarships
President Sigloh recognized Burke-Divide Electric’s Youth Tour representative Charles Steinberger and scholarship winners Trevor Binde, Allison Dhuyvetter and Mya Erickson.

Operation Round Up
Operation Round Up board member Marlow Nelson gave a report on the history of the Operation Round Up program and the grants awarded over the past year.  Nelson reported that $5,700 was awarded to area organizations in 2011 and nearly $12,000 has been awarded since the program started in 2010.  Nelson has served on many boards over the years and says this is one of the better ones.  “It is great to be a part of an organization like this, giving away money to groups and projects in our communities.”

Directors Elected
Members re-elected Lynn Jacobson and Jeff Dahlin to the Board of Directors.  Jacobson represents District 1 and will serve a three year term. Dahlin represents District 3 and will serve a two year term.

Service Awards
President Sigloh recognized employees and directors for their years of service to the cooperative.  Lex Lindbo, a lineman in Columbus, was presented with a five year service award.  Jason Brothen, general manager, was recognized for being with the cooperative for 15 years.  Lynn Jacobson was recognized for serving 15 years on the Board of Directors.

Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative directors and employees thank all members and families for attending your cooperative’s 67th annual meeting.  We value your interest in the operation and success of your electric cooperative. Burke-Divide Electric is proud to be a part of the cooperative movement—putting PEOPLE first, innovating to meet member needs, and building a bright future in our region

Photos from the 67th annual meeting can be found on the cooperative’s Facebook page,

Annual Meeting Door Prize Winners

Donated by
Won by
2 Medora Musical Tickets BDEC Wallace Stone
2 Medora Musical Tickets BDEC David Peterson
$25 NCC Gift Certificate


Perry & Iola Rosenquist
$25 RTC Gift Certificate RTC Larry Olney
$25 NCC Gift Certificate NCC Ruben Olson
Picnic Bag/$25 Country Store Gift Certificate BDEC Maxine Smithberg
Cooler/$25 Lignite Oil Gift Certificate Ditch Witch/BDEC Leonard & Kermit Jorgensen
Duffle Bag/$25 Lignite Oil Gift Certificate Ditch Witch/BDEC Lovera & Dennis Dosch
$50 BDEC Bill Credit Midwest Power Lielan Grote
$50 BDEC Bill Credit Midwest Power Allen & Sally Bauer
$50 BDEC Bill Credit Midwest Power Melvin Christiansen
$50 BDEC Bill Credit Midwest Power Rodney Brudvik
$50 BDEC Bill Credit  Midwest Power Helene Beard
$50 BDEC Bill Credit HD Supply Ilene Rivers
$50 BDEC Bill Credit HDR Evelyn Holte
Extension Cord BDEC Ben James
Extension Cord BDEC Charles Dhuyvetter
Weather Station BDEC Roger Johnson
Power Spyder BDEC Ron Erickson
Trouble Light/$20 Cenex Card BDEC/Electro Tech Julian Nygaard
Trouble Light/$20 Cenex Card BDEC/Electro Tech Llewellyn Pederson
Trouble Light/$20 Cenex Card BDEC/Electro Tech Olaf Christianson


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Farm Safely around Power Lines

Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative reminds you to work safely on the farm and ranch. We care about your safety.

The following tips will help keep everyone on the farm safe:

  • Look over work areas carefully for overhead power lines and utility poles.
  • Make sure there are ample clearances of power lines when moving large machinery such as combines, grain augers, sprayers and tractors. Do this every year as equipment sizes or soil conditions may change. A newer, larger piece of equipment may no longer clear a line. And shifting soil may also affect whether or not machinery avoids power lines from year to year.
  • When planning new construction, consider existing power lines.
  • Be extra careful when working around trees and brush that often obstruct power lines.
  • Train all farm workers on how to properly operate machinery to avoid overhead power lines.


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Co-op awards college scholarships

Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative believes strongly in the future of area students. To recognize the achievements of these students and to encourage them to prepare for their future journeys, Burke-Divide Electric has awarded four, $500 scholarships this year to qualifying dependents of Burke-Divide Electric members.

These scholarships are awarded to dependents of Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative members based on academic excellence and school and community involvement.

Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative Memorial Scholarship


This year’s recipient of the $500 Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative Memorial Scholarship is Lexie Unhjem. Lexie is a senior at Divide County High School and is the daughter of LuAnn and Kent Unhjem of Crosby.

Lexie participates in many activities at school and in her community, including Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), FFA, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), 4-H, Girl Scouts, band, choir and National Honor Society, and serves as an officer in several of the organizations. Lexie works at a day care and a swimming pool and volunteers for Meals on Wheels and the nursing home.

Lexie plans to study psychology at North Dakota State University in the fall.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative Scholarships


Shelby Hass is the recipient of a $500 Basin Electric Power Cooperative scholarship. Shelby is a senior at Kenmare High School and is the daughter of Teresa and Jay Hass of Bowbells.

Shelby participates in volleyball, basketball, dance, FBLA, student council, band, and piano. Shelby works at an office, babysits and helps on her family’s farm. She also volunteers for Sunday school and Bible school at her church.

Shelby plans to study radiologic technology at Bismarck State College in the fall.


Kirsti Kueffler is also the recipient of a $500 Basin Electric Power Cooperative scholarship. Kirsti is a senior at Grenora High School and is the daughter of Connie and Scott Kueffler of Grenora.

Kirsti is active in band, choir, basketball and 4-H. She is a member of the National Honor Society, student council and Close-Up program. Kirsti helps with her family’s cattle operation and also mows lawns and babysits.

Kirsti plans to major in pre-dentistry at Minot State University in the fall.

Donald G. Cook Memorial Scholarship

The recipient of the Donald G. Cook Memorial Scholarship is Kristen St. Croix from Kenmare. Kristen is a senior at Kenmare High School and is the daughter of Stephanie and David St. Croix of Kenmare.

Kristen participates in band, choir and piano. She works in the physical therapy department of a wellness center and on her family’s farm. Kristen volunteers at the Kenmare Food Pantry and with the Gift of Love program.

Kristen plans to study physical therapy at the University of Mary in the fall.

The Donald G. Cook Memorial Scholarship is a one-time scholarship made possible by a donation from the family of Donald Cook, a former Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative board member.


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Build farm shops for the future

Farm Shop The farm shop is often one
of the busiest buildings on
the farmstead For year-round
use, it needs to be well-
insulated and sealed to keep
energy use to a minimum.
If you are planning a new or
expanded farm shop,
consider constructing an
energy-efficient building
that will last into the next

Farm shop facts

Carl Pedersen, an energy educator with the North Dakota State University
Extension Service, recommends the following when building a farm shop:

  • Install insulation with an R-30 to R-40 value in the ceiling and R-18
    value in the sidewalls. Doors should have an R-value of 10 to 12 (two
    inches of foam insulation).
  • Install weather stripping if doors do not fit tightly. Air infiltration is one
    of the largest heat wasters in buildings.
  • Any concrete exposed above ground level needs insulation.
  • Keep the number and size of windows to a minimum. They increase
    heat loss and limit useable wall space for tools.
  • Install double- or triple-glazed windows to help reduce heat loss
    and reduce moisture condensation.  A window with single glazing will
    have an R-value of about 0.9, whereas a double-glazed window
    with an inert gas between panes will have an R-value of 3 to 4, reducing
    heat loss by 60 to 75 percent.
  • Good overhead lighting is a necessity in a shop. Use T-8 fluorescent
    lamps for economical lighting that will keep electricity use to a
    minimum and give good lighting to work on equipment. T-8 lamps are
    recommended because they will use about 25 percent less electricity for
    the same amount of light.
  • Install large doors for bringing machinery in and out of the shop
    so they face away from prevailing winter winds. Prevailing winter winds
    are usually from the northwest.  Installing the large doors facing south
    or east will prevent a considerable amount of heat loss when doors are
    opened. Bring large, cold equipment inside the shop to warm up the
    night before working on it.
  • Use zone heating. Heat only the areas that need to be heated with
    directional or radiant heaters – over work benches, for examples. They
    heat the objects, but not the air directly. Separating the shop from
    the storage area can save a significant amount of heat. Turn off or turn
    down the heat when it is not needed.  In-floor heating will keep you from
    fumbling with numb fingers or stumbling with frozen feet in a heated
    building, kept comfortable with in-floor heating using a groundsource, or
    geothermal, heat pump. Because it moves heat rather than generates
    heat, a geothermal system can deliver four times as much heating or
    cooling capacity. With a four-to-one efficiency rating, a geothermal
    heat pump system can be the most economical in-floor heating.
  • Dense shelterbelts reduce the wind velocity and the energy needed to
    heat the shop. Short, dense trees should be located on the edge of the
    shelterbelt and taller trees in the middle. Shelterbelts should be a
    minimum of 200 feet from the shop or other buildings to reduce the
    problem of snow building up.


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International Year of Cooperatives: Cooperatives help communities!


Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative is not just another utility company. It’s a cooperative. And that means members have an important role. During the cooperative’s annual meeting, members elect representatives to serve on the board of directors. These directors are members, just like you, and guide the cooperative’s future. Members are always welcome to visit with directors or cooperative staff with any questions they have about their cooperative.

In 2012, your electric cooperative is celebrating the International Year of Cooperatives. Cooperatives around the globe are celebrating this International Year of Cooperatives, as designated by the United Nations General Assembly. Cooperatives exist around the world and have empowered people to improve their lives through economic and social progress.

More than 29,000 cooperatives operate in the United States. Collectively, we generate 2 million jobs and make a substantial contribution to the U.S. economy.

Cooperatives also exist in your backyard. Your local electric cooperative is an important part of your life. No matter how deep the snow, how thick the ice or how hard the rain, your electric cooperative works to keep your electricity flowing.

Commitment to community is one of the Touchstone Energy values that electric cooperatives strive to meet every day. Cooperative employees are an integral part of the community, taking an active role in service organizations and leadership roles.

Your local electric cooperative also makes a difference in local communities by helping where needed, donating to community organizations and lending a hand wherever needed.

And electric cooperatives help each other, too. When other electric cooperatives need an extra hand during extreme outages, neighboring lineworkers are always willing to help.

It’s the cooperative way. And we’re celebrating cooperatives this year. So, next time you flip the light switch, think about the men and women behind the switch who make cooperatives special.

Burke-Divide employees Brad Kjos, Tom Rasmusson and
Mark Mattern grill hamburgers and hot dogs during the
Kenmare Association of Commerce customer appreciation supper
held July 10.


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