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A large crowd attended Federated Rural Electric's 82nd Annual Meeting Wednesday at the Martin County West High School gym in Sherburn.
"We had 325 members register and served nearly 600 members and family members a ham sandwich supper,” said Scott Reimer, Federated's general manager. "We like Sherburn for its somewhat central location; it’s always great to see so many turn out for their electric cooperative — voting for members who represent their interests.”
Members elected two directors: David Meschke, Welcome, for District Five; and Bruce Brockmann, Granada, for District Six. On the Nominating Committee Doug Landsteiner, Fairmont, was elected for District At-Large.
President David A. Hansen and General Manager Scott Reimer provided a cooperative update on 2017 highlights. Hansen reported on legislative activity that affects your electric cooperative and rates. “The ‘Local Democracy’ bill was approved,” Hansen stated. “The Minnesota Public Utilities was stepping in and making decisions that were the responsibilities of your Board of Directors. We thank those who signed letters of support. We appreciate that the House, Senate and Governor Dayton approved this bill.” Hansen added electric cooperatives are also watching the federal level with a new president on policies that may impact electric rates, while keeping the environment in mind, especially the possible sale of the power marketing agencies. Federated receives 11 percent of its electricity from the dams on the Missouri River.
Manager Reimer reported that 2017 was a year of financial stability. Margins in 2016 were slightly over $2.6 million and 2017 is already at $2.5 million. “This year a Cost of Service Study was completed,” Reimer explained. “We studied the Federated and the Alliant rates from the members added in 2015. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission allows us to merge both rates if they are within five percent of each other. The good news is that we are within the five percent and will do a rate study in 2018; if all goes well, August 2018 could be when the rate change occurs.” He also pointed out that Federated has some of the lowest rates in the state and nation.

Reimer also highlighted what’s on the horizon for the rest of this year and into 2018. The Federated billing conversion occurred earlier this spring. Reimer thanked employees and members for their patience during the transition and pointed out the mobile app for payment is now available. About $1 million of construction is slated for 2017 rebuilding or replacing lines. Contractor mPower is nearly done with the GPS inventory and mapping of Federated’s lines. Plus, a study will be conducted on whether Federated needs more towers for its meters to report data back, which will likely also be used for the next generation of load management signals for water heaters, gensets, Dual Heat and Cycled Air. “Federated is in a national beta test for the next generation of radio controls,” Reimer stated. “The beta test will conclude this fall and every site where a receiver exists today will be refitted with a new door or the whole unit will be replaced over the next few years.”
Five southern Minnesota electric cooperatives, including Federated, worked together to secure a cybersecurity grant from its national organization. “The intent of the program is to educate cooperative employees, be aware of potential hacks and to implement safeguards with the first meeting in September,” Reimer stated. Federated will also be looking at upgrading/remodeling its 1970s Jackson headquarters to meet today’s needs, security and technology. A study is underway with work planned for the next few years.
Members attending the Annual Meeting played Bingo during registration and received a knife sharpener as an attendance gift.
Three children ages 10 and under won bikes in their respective age groups:
Ages 3-5: Rhilee Evans, Windom
Ages 6-8: Olivia Garbers, Fairmont
Ages 9-10: Addison Wohlhuter, Sherburn
In addition, 50 door prizes were awarded to the members. The top three prize winners were:
Jon Schmidt, Welcome, won a $300 Federated electricity gift certificate.
Dean Lohse, Heron Lake, won a $150 Federated electricity gift certificate.
Betty Ringeisen, Sherburn, won a $100 gift certificate to Welcome TV.
Federated is a Touchstone Energy cooperative serving 6,700 electric members in Jackson and Martin Counties.

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