The following were elected to the Board of Directors at the Mor-Gran-Sou Annual Meeting held July 19, 2019:
GRANT COUNTY position - Three year term
Vernard Frederick – Flasher
MANDAN AREA position - Three year term
Pam Geiger – Mandan
MORTON COUNTY position - Two year term
Kathy Tokach – St. Anthony
MORTON COUNTY position - Three year term
Jay Larson – Almont
Thank you members for casting your ballot and participating in your Annual Meeting.
See the Annual Report here: (2019)
2019 Mor-Gran-Sou Annual Meeting Summary
Members of Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative, Inc., met at the Pavilion of Prairie Knights Casino and Resort north of Fort Yates on July 19 to conduct their business at the cooperative’s 72nd annual meeting. This year’s theme was, “Inspired by innovation. Driven by service.”
The afternoon began with registration from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. CT. Prior to a delicious banquet served at 6 p.m., a solemn prayer was offered by Reverend Dennis R. Schafer, St. Gertrude Catholic Church, Raleigh; St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Flasher; St. Theresa Catholic Church, Carson. Standing Rock Chairman Mike Faith welcomed members.
Chairman Leland “Judge” Barth dropped the gavel at approximately 5:30 p.m. CT and the business meeting was underway. The membership fulfilled Cooperative Principle #2, democratic member control, by voting to fill four board director positions: one for the Grant County position, one for the Mandan-Area position, and two for the Morton County positions. Incumbent Vernard Frederick from Flasher retained the Grant County position. Pam Geiger from Mandan was elected to fill the Mandan-Area position. Kathy Tokach from St. Anthony was elected to serve the two-year Morton County position, and Jay Larson from Almont was re-elected to fill the three-year Morton County position.
Mor-Gran-Sou thanks Cody Hatzenbuhler and Bonnie Tomac from Mandan, Eric Schultz from Almont, and Travis Wilkens from New Salem for campaigning to serve their electric cooperative.
The reorganization meeting will be held at the next scheduled board meeting on Aug. 28.
Mor-Gran-Sou was honored to have a number of guests attend the meeting, including Sean Cleary, representative for Senator John Hoeven, and Jody Link, representative for Senator Kevin Cramer. They read statements provided on behalf of our congressional delegates.
After the greetings, Co-General Managers/Chief Executive Officers Donald Franklund and Travis Kupper captured this year’s theme in their interesting and informative report to the membership. Franklund began by noting the value of electricity is what it helps people accomplish.
From the electric meter and transformer outside a consumer’s home, to the distribution lines that lead to substations and the extensive transmission system beyond, the electric service network is needed to ensure the lights turn on at the end of the day.
“Yes, a true network of poles and wire are needed — but more importantly — it is the network of people,” Franklund said. “Years ago, I heard a bit of wisdom that still holds true today. ‘Line trucks don’t fix power lines; people do. And linemen don’t just fix power lines; the network of people do.’ From our billing department to warehousing … from engineering to communications … each step is important in providing members with reliable electric service. It is like a chain — only as strong as its weakest link.”
As noted regularly in Mor-Gran-Sou’s monthly local pages of North Dakota Living, Current newsletter, quarterly newsletter, online advertising and Facebook, safety is the culture of the cooperative. Mor-Gran-Sou has an aggressive safety program to keep employees and the general public safe. Franklund noted the cooperative is seeing more equipment damage due to being struck by farm equipment. The shortened spring planting season due to weather meant folks worked longer hours and into the night.
“While we can understand folks being in a hurry, we ask everyone to please look around. Make sure you are operating in a safe manner. We don’t want anyone getting hurt,” he said.
Franklund thanked the employees for working hard and providing high-quality services. He also thanked partners in the audience who represented the electric cooperative network, including Basin Electric Power Cooperative, National Information Solutions Cooperative, Innovative Energy Alliance Cooperative and the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives.
“Each provides critical skills and knowledge needed to provide reliable electric service. Without them, we would struggle to maintain the level of service we provide today,” he said.
One big change for Mor-Gran-Sou this year is receiving payments for its transmission system. Franklund noted utility companies have been using each other’s transmission systems since the 1970s. Following the lead of another electric cooperative in North Dakota, and due to Mor-Gran-Sou’s interconnection with Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Mor-Gran-Sou joined the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). It consists of transmission organizations ranging in location from Oklahoma to north of Canada. After going through an approval process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission earlier this year, Mor-Gran-Sou has started receiving payments.
“We are estimating our annual revenue, by allowing others to use our transmission system, to be just over $600,000 a year. This is new revenue to you, the members, that we have not had before,” Franklund said.
Franklund then introduced Co-General Manager Kupper, who provided legislative updates. On a national level, electric cooperative representatives traveled to Washington, D.C., this spring to meet with U.S. senators, members of Congress and federal policymakers to discuss a safe, secure and reliable power supply, and policies that support carbon capture and storage investment. They advocated to protect against proposals that aim to sell the Power Marketing Administrations’ hydroelectric power and transmission assets. They also educated policymakers on the unique benefits of the local control, advocating for continued tax protection of electric cooperatives, and calling on lawmakers for continued support of investments in rural infrastructure.
On the state level, the state’s electric cooperatives monitored 69 bills that could have an impact on members during the 66th regular North Dakota Legislative Assembly in January.
“Some of the bills we opposed included a net-metering bill, unrecorded easements and wind turbine setbacks. Some of the bills we supported included an electric vehicle infrastructure study, the protection of critical infrastructure and records related to it, the allocation of a wind generation tax revenue, and the use of carbon dioxide in enhanced oil recovery,” Kupper said. “While the Assembly adjourned in April, we continue to advocate on behalf of our members, and will keep you informed as we learn more.”
Linda Urlacher, president of the Mor-Gran-Sou Charitable Foundation, Inc., shared an update on the Operation Round Up program, in which Mor-Gran-Sou members can voluntarily choose to round up their monthly utility bills to the next dollar and donate their pennies. Applications are now being accepted. The foundation board members, who are also Mor-Gran-Sou members, will meet and disburse funds in the form of grants to non-profit corporations, organizations or agencies in the Mor-Gran-Sou service area for charitable causes and crucial needs such as food, shelter, clothing, health care, emergency services and education.
The Foundation had a great surprise for those who signed up for Operation Round Up at last year’s annual meeting. Those members were eligible for a drawing to win one of two $50 bill credits, just for signing up for the program. Mor-Gran-Sou will draw again at the 2020 annual meeting, which means members who signed up at this year’s annual meeting will be eligible for the bill credit drawing in 2020.
Dedicated to the development of young leaders in its service area, Mor-Gran-Sou awarded one $500 scholarship to a graduating senior from each of the high schools within its service area. Students recognized at the meeting included Nathan Roth from Elgin-New Leipzig Public School; Anna Muggli from Flasher Public School; Kristin Schaaf from Glen Ullin Public School; Chase McCone from Hebron Public School; Jayme Cepek from Mandan Public School; Ivy Klusmann from New Salem-Almont Public School; and Regan Dunn from Standing Rock Community/Fort Yates Public School. Kathryn Goettle also received a scholarship; she attends a school outside the Mor-Gran-Sou service area, and her parents are members. The $1,000 Basin Electric Power Cooperative/Mor-Gran-Sou scholarship was awarded to Alexius Gietzen from Glen Ullin. Chance Magilke earned the 3C Construction scholarship, and Wyatt Hoger earned the West Dakota Utility Services scholarship. All the students with the exception of Chase, Jayme and Chance were able to attend the meeting, and thank the membership for the assistance in furthering their education and careers.
Mor-Gran-Sou also awarded two “Luck of the Draw” scholarships to students who had registered for the meeting and attended with a parent or guardian. The goal of these scholarships is to encourage the younger generation to attend, and learn about the cooperative business model of one member, one vote — and to show how their voices and votes will count. Recipients included Kendra Miller and Alyssa Thompson. The board then thanked all the students who entered for running, and in a surprise declaration, conferred $100 to each of the other three students who registered for the contest. Those recipients were Hunter Frederick, Claire Graner and Emily Tweten.
This past June, Madalynn Sauter of Carson participated in the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour trip to Washington, D.C. She and other delegates from across the state and nation learned firsthand about our nation’s rich history, U.S. government, the cooperative business model and rural electrification. During the annual meeting, Sauter showed photos of some trip highlights, and thanked the membership for sponsoring the tour and giving her the opportunity to go and learn.
Chief Financial Officer Alex Craigmile presented the financial report to the membership. He said Brady, Martz & Associates, P.C. audited the 2018 financial statements of Mor-Gran-Sou, and presented their report to the board of directors with an “unmodified opinion,” the highest opinion they can give.
Every member who registered and stayed for the duration of the meeting was a winner! At the close of the meeting, members remitted their registration stub to earn a $20 bill credit on their next utility bill.
The board of directors and staff of Mor-Gran-Sou wish to thank our members for participating in the 72nd annual meeting of the membership, and look forward to meeting your electrical needs in the future.
Drawing for $25 bill credit
Mail-in ballot recipients:
Marshall Flagg, Bismarck
Roger Gisinger, Mandan
Thomas D. Hunter, Solen
Ron Jochim, Mandan
Hattie, Johnson, Mandan
Vicki Lippert, Mandan
Marvin Miller, Mandan
Ben Schmidt, Flasher
Annual Meeting attendee recipients:
Robert Gipp, Fort Yates
Ron Gross, Selfridge
Jerry Mitchell, Mandan
Dennis Renner, Mandan
Cleo Richter, Flasher
Beverly Sauter, Carson
Steve Tomac, St. Anthony