Basin Electric: Live Wire

Basin Electric: Live Wire is a blog that features some of the people stories and interesting background information that you can't get anywhere else. This blog was started in 2008 on the Wordpress platform, and moved here in 2021. Please find our archives at You can email editor Tracie Bettenhausen with story ideas.

Recent Posts

Basin Electric team continually plans for reliable transmission

The Transmission team at Basin Electric were a part of the recent planning effort that resulted in the approval of more than $500 million in...

The Garfield Dairy shares co-op value of community

The community-minded values of the new Garfield Dairy near Bryant, South Dakota, make it an ideal member for an electric cooperative with the same...

How We Serve: Asset Management and Commodity Strategy

The “How We Serve” series highlights employees and their work group and explains how they serve our members every day.

MREA editorial shows we're all in this together

Reliability means something different to an electric utility than it does to a clean energy advocate.

Transmission projects determined as needed in North Dakota by the Southwest Power Pool

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) conducted an Integrated Transmission Planning study and in 2021 determined the need for extensive new transmission...

Montana school teacher shows the value of commitment in rural areas

This year, Hill County Electric offered its first ever Teacher Appreciation Award in an effort to help retain these educators that are so critical...

Basin Electric CEO and general manager visits wind, natural gas, and subsidiary facilities

Basin Electric CEO and general manager Todd Telesz visited three Basin Electric facilities this summer in Distributed Generation and two locations...

Deer Creek Station serves members with distributed generation

"Basically everything we do affects the membership. What's good for the membership is good for us."

Teamwork at Basin Electric develops new billing system

In 2019, departments at Basin Electric overcame challenges and worked together to develop a new member billing software called MemberBilling.

Feeling the heat puts focus on reliability

Reports of energy shortfalls that could potentially lead to power interruptions left people feeling uneasy this spring and summer.

Basin Electric hosts the South Dakota Rural Electric Association's Youth Excursion

Basin Electric hosted the South Dakota Rural Electric Association’s Youth Excursion, including 14 high school students sponsored by electric...

Old Basin Electric safety inspection vehicle from 1961 found in Ohio

In 1997, an old Basin Electric safety inspection vehicle was found for sale in a newspaper ad by a family from Shreve, Ohio.

Vastness and variety set Montana co-op apart

Doug Hardy says, “I’ve learned to volunteer to do things nobody else wants to do because some of those things have applications you would never...

Basin Electric continues sponsoring Teen Room at The Boys and Girls Club of Campbell County

Due to Basin Electric's sponsorship, the club has been able to market the space for the middle school age group within the community to provide a...

Basin Electric member match goes toward Carhart Trail improvements

Basin Electric provided a member match donation of $2,500 with Class C member San Isabel Electric to a non-profit, entirely volunteer-run...

Basin Electric watches cryptocurrency volatility and risk

Cryptocurrency is a digital form of currency that doesn’t come from central authorities such as governments or banks. Bitcoin, the first form of...

Basin Electric teams up with Powder River Energy for donation to Climb Wyoming

Powder River Energy Foundation and Basin Electric have joined forces to make a $10,000 donation to Climb Wyoming, fostering workforce development...

A day in the life of Basin Electric senior fleet and logistics administrator Nathan Johnson

“I work with employees at our facilities to find out when they need the equipment they ordered, then with trucking companies to coordinate...

Basin Electric pilots fly to East Coast to pick up parts for Dry Fork Station outage

"It is missions like these that really show the true value of the cooperative aircraft."

Rural America becomes even more electrified

“Having more access and reliability for power has been critical,” Eric Watson says. “If we didn’t have reliable power, it would hit every aspect,...

Basin Electric partners with members to support SPURS Therapeutic Riding Center

Basin Electric Class C member Northern Electric Cooperative presented SPURS Therapeutic Horseback Riding Center in Aberdeen, SD with a $2,000...

Trooper Toss event at Basin Electric provides funds for veteran bison hunts

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, employees at Basin Electric’s Headquarters participated in Trooper Toss – a fundraising event for Injured...

Living the cooperative way: Laramie River Station employees serve their community inside and outside of work

The skillsets William Deglman uses in his role as safety coordinator at Laramie River Station are also useful in his role as assistant fire chief...

40 Years of Opportunities: Steve Johnson's story with Basin Electric

One of the reasons Johnson says he’s found success in his career is that he has tried to treat everyone with respect and dignity and give people an...

Co-op members show kindness to line crews during spring snowstorm

North Central Electric linemen worked long, hard hours after a late spring snowstorm knocked out power to some 1,200 accounts. Members were not shy...

Basin Electric Transmission System Maintenance comes to one member’s rescue amid snowstorm

Even with assistance from Basin Electric and other local cooperatives, it took Burke-Divide nearly three weeks to get power back to all residences.

Quick thinking by DGC teams lessen impacts of fire

The quick actions of Operations, Electrical and Instrumentation, and Protection Services helped minimize damage and prevent injuries.

Leland Olds Station and Basin Electric Marketing teams turned a former cost into a benefit

Basin Electric’s Leland Olds Station and Marketing teams partnered to turn an $875,000 cost into a net benefit of $1.6 million annually.

Basin tours the Bakken

Todd Telesz and Becky Kern visited key sites in the Bakken oil field to learn firsthand about current challenges and the potential for large-scale...

From blizzards to tornadoes, the Basin Electric SRS team managed it all

When historic blizzard, Silas, hit western and central North Dakota starting April 12, the Security and Response Services (SRS) team anticipated...

Basin Electric employee donations help victims reach goals

Employees collected about $10,000 in June 2021 that went to a special fund at Abused Adult Resource Center -- New Directions Education and...

Basin Electric CEO and General Manager Todd Telesz tours generation facilities

When Todd Telesz took the position of Basin Electric’s sixth-ever CEO and general manager, he committed to visiting Basin Electric’s plant sites...

All are Welcome: Homeless Cats find Sanctuary on Basin Electric Employee's Ranch

Tami Lynn Arndt, administrative assistant at Laramie River Station, has always loved animals.

Antelope Valley Station employees get creative in moving coal

When a fire occurred at Antelope Valley Station last September, there was some damage to the L1 chute that brings in the coal fines from Dakota...

Basin Electric employee's quote highlighted by Bismarck Tribune

The Bismarck Tribune runs a weekly feature title "Eminently Quotable."

New Basin Electric Director Jerry Beck: Farmer, father, rural electric leader

Basin Electric’s newest director, Jerry Beck, joined the Basin Electric board in December.

Innovative thinking saves the cooperative $1 million annually

When a project to modify the air quality control system at Dry Fork Station near Gillette, Wyoming, began, the project team had no idea it would...

Sheri Haugen-Hoffart: A woman, a leader, a public servant

In a largely male-dominated industry, she says she never let being in the minority bother her.

A multitasker who loves a challenge

Worker shortages mean some trucking companies are declining to accept jobs moving freight into states like North Dakota and Wyoming.

Strategy for serving power to Basin Electric members, long-term

Basin Electric has generation and transmission facilities on both sides of the grid, and also has access to the DC ties.

Basin Electric employee receives Core Value Award from vendor

Core Values Awards are given each year to celebrate notable individuals in the fleet industry who demonstrate the values that are integral to the...

Basin Electric's load forecasters are crystal ball experts

Robert Frank and Jay Lundstrom are responsible for the load forecasting for Basin Electric's membership. The load forecast is the main tool used...

Embracing change and serving the membership

Dave Raatz, senior vice president of Asset Management, Resource Planning, and Rates, retires after 41 years.

It's just part of living: Iowa man pays it forward to future generations

Retired dentist Dr. George North is one of three winners of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives of Iowa's Shine the Light contest, a contest that...

Leland Olds Station employees use special equipment to clear ice, get unit back online

With the ice and debris clogging up the intake, a loss of flow of circulated water brought the intake from 40,000 gallons per minute down to 13,000...

'Down Here, It's Pickup Truck Country'

Will rural residents be ready to go electric when EV trucks hit the market?

Helping them be who they were meant to be

East River Electric does its part to benefit a community organization that provides therapies and equipment for differently abled children and...

Three teams work over the holidays to power up Wyoming CarbonSAFE project

It  took a collaborative trio to power the Wyoming CarbonSAFE project at Dry Fork Station.

Sioux Valley's new Beneficial Electrification department responds to members in a powerful way

In a recent survey, 90% of members said they were interested in renewable energy and learning ways to be more energy efficient.

Top Basin Electric stories of 2021

As we’re getting ready to ring in 2022, we thought it would be fun to take a look at some of our popular posts and stories of 2021.

Cooperative leader and Basin Electric's 6th employee dies at 96

Robert Feragan, Basin Electric Cornerstone Award winner, former manager of East River Electric, former Rural Electrification Administrator, and...

Basin Electric holiday treats help neighbors stay warm and full

Basin Electric employees raised money for community members who are homeless or facing homelessness by ordering holiday treat trays, all made by...

Basin Electric employees give Christmas cheer to 176 children

Basin Electric employees donated to 176 children whose names were placed on “angel trees” at five Basin Electric locations.

Dakota Gas food service provider wears angel wings in her off-time

Kim Fischer says she delivers meals to anyone who is sick in the area

Basin Electric partners with Powder River Energy Foundation to provide meals this holiday season

Basin Electric teamed up with Class C member Powder River Energy's Foundation to donate a total of $6,000 to the Silver Sage Senior Center in...

Basin Electric's Paul Sukut talks about his time at the cooperative

Paul Sukut says the cooperative business model and principles give both staff and directors a solid foundation to lean on.

A little tree brings big bucks to Wyoming charity

A team of employees at Dry Fork Station near Gillette, Wyoming entered a decorated tree into the Festival of Trees, hosted by the Northeast Wyoming...

Co-op power proves out in reliable, efficient pasta production

Dakota Growers’ two sister plants (in Minnesota and Virginia) don’t have the cooperative advantages the North Dakota plant does as a member of...

In Depth: Researchers at Wyoming CarbonSAFE project near Dry Fork Station deploy seismic sensors

Researchers recently deployed a series of microseismic sensors as part of the ongoing baseline monitoring operations for the Wyoming CarbonSAFE...

Full reporting: Basin Electric 2021 Annual Meeting

All the information you need from Basin Electric's 2021 Annual Meeting of the Membership.

Basin Electric supports efforts to bring awareness to homelessness

A group from Ministry on the Margins, Missouri Valley Coalition for Homeless People, Inc., and the University of Mary stood outside from 7 a.m. - 7...

U.S. Air Force conducts training mission on Grayrocks Reservoir

The Air Force wanted to simulate a downed aircraft in a body of water, and another plane needed to drop rescue supplies.

Achievements to be proud of: military accomplishments from Basin Electric's veterans

They say that the greater the challenge, the greater the sense of accomplishment. Many in the military community have encountered situations that...

Wyoming Lime helps give a hero's welcome

Employees hung a large flag from a 90-foot boom to honor a Vietnam vet whose remains were found and returned home after nearly five decades.

Synfuels Plant’s DEF-inite production advantages bring in millions

The shift to producing an increased amount of DEF has had a significant financial impact for Dakota Gas .

Gratitude is sweet at Basin Electric – giving, even sweeter

Candy for a Cause raised almost $8,000 for charity and provided a way for employees to show their appreciation for each other.

Getting to know Basin Electric's sixth general manager and CEO

Todd Telesz joined Basin Electric on Sept, 1, 2021, making him the cooperative’s sixth-ever CEO & general manager. We asked him a few questions so...

Diane Paul looks back with fondness

She says working for the members and employees of Basin Electric was an honor.

Basin Electric member supports organization changing people’s lives

East River Electric’s annual “mountain oyster” feed has raised nearly $850,000 over the past 57 years to help fund Lifescape’s mission.

Huron TSM employee intrigued by electricity since childhood

Malsom and his team work to maintain substations and communication sites that cover about 18,000 square miles of service territory in eastern South...

Daring to innovate: 60 years of ambition at Basin Electric

From environmental impacts to new ways to generate power, Basin Electric has a long history of prioritizing innovation and taking chances. Here’s a...

Basin Electric: Cooks, coats, and a good cause

Five employees from Co-op Café at Headquarters put their cooking skills to the test for a chili cook-off. Each person prepared a large batch of...

Basin Electric employee helps bring clean water for the Roma

Basin Electric employee Mike Martin spent his vacation volunteering in Macedonia. One of the main projects he helped with was getting clean water...

Petals and Panels: A Wright-Hennepin Electric Co-op project

Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association installed two projects that help their members show their environmental values in a way that works...

September 11: A twist of fate that changed one Basin Electric pilot’s future

Ryan Anderson, aviation manager, was an intern with Basin Electric on September 11, 2001 – the day there were four coordinated terrorist attacks...

Throwback Thursday: July 1970

On July 7, 1970, Basin Electric received a $100,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a regional program to...

Basin's Backyard Garden donates food to local pantries every week

Coming back in 2021, the garden decided it enjoyed that work-from-home life.

Employee saves wife's life, credits Basin Electric safety training experience

Jason Halvorsen, mechanic operator-journeyman for Basin Electric’s Transmission System Maintenance (TSM) division based out of Wheatland, Wyoming,...

Member co-ops stay cool in a crisis

Electric cooperative members heard about the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), perhaps for the first time, as their power was cycled off by transmission...

Throwback Thursday: June 1978

In May of 1978, Basin Electric's solar heating project began operation. Construction to install the solar collector plates began in October 1977.

Basin Electric employee shares passion and pride in his work

Working in the energy industry was not initially on Zachary Wager’s radar, despite his father working at Dry Fork Station in Gillette, Wyoming....

Basin Electric members experience catastrophic damage during June storm

Basin Electric members in eastern Montana and western North Dakota suffered catastrophic damage during summery storms June 10-11.

First responders at Leland Olds Station participate in hands-on, lifelike medical training

On May 27, the first response team participated in training facilitated by SIM-ND, a mobile medical education system that uses high-fidelity human...

Meet Basin Electric's 'Maytag repairman' who kept the lights on

Spirit Mound is a peaking power plant, meaning it runs about a dozen times a year, usually during periods of extreme hot or cold weather.

Following common sense principles benefits Basin Electric

When some energy providers saw massive increases in their February electricity bills, Basin Electric members could rest easy.

Basin Electric employees race the clock to beat an energy emergency

In mid-February, employees from Basin Electric’s Transmission System Maintenance (TSM) division stepped up for what became a marathon battle in the...

Remembering winter in the summer

Though it seems like forever, it was just a few short months ago that a winter storm caused an electricity shortage across the central United States.

Basin Electric SRS services reached all the way to Texas during February winter weather event

Basin Electric's Security & Response Services team assisted co-ops from North Dakota to Texas during the extreme winter weather event in February.

Firm pipeline capacity instrumental during energy emergency

In February, the Synfuels Plant was producing natural gas that was desperately needed. Cold weather shut in many gas producers, but not the...

Basin Electric brings truck for kids to explore

Touch A Truck offered children an up-close, hands-on opportunity to explore heavy machinery, safety vehicles, and other cool trucks, as well as ask...

Basin Electric donation aids wildfire relief

Basin Electric donated $10,000 to American Red Cross for the wildfire relief efforts in North Dakota and South Dakota. The donation will be used to...

Basin Electric donation helps individuals purchase affordable items

Basin Electric made a $25,000 to Heaven’s Helpers RePurpose Store in Bismarck, North Dakota. The store accepts donations of a wide range of useful...

Basin Electric funds help construct food distribution center just in time for ‘record-shattering’ need

The number of people served by the Great Plains Food Bank have been up substantially since the pandemic began, some areas seeing as much as an 80%...

Co-ops provide vital gift to North Dakota long-term care facility

Three cooperatives came together to equip a North Dakota long-term care facility with tools needed to care for its residents and staff during the...

Final remaining original incorporator of Basin Electric has died

Leroy Schecher was the last living member of the group who signed the papers to incorporate Basin Electric. He died on Mar. 27.

In Depth: Researcher conducts collaborative soil gas sampling to advance Wyoming CarbonSAFE

As part of the environmental field operations, soil sample composition is intended to establish a baseline of the test site prior to any carbon...

Quick thinking and connections at Basin Electric ‘stuff’ hungry bellies

Dozens of pounds of deer sausage were hanging in the balance, and Lisa Carney had to think fast or the whole stash would be smoked. 

Basin Electric gives the gift of connection

The iPads allow patients to see familiar faces and hear voices clearly without hindrance from full protection from head to toe.

Basin Electric, San Miguel Power matching donations help bring documentary films to students

The grant helps bring the films to thousands of students across the country.

Matching cooperative donations provide needed technology for Montana schools during COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

The funds helped purchase 40 Chromebooks for the schools. Along with other donations the schools received, this was enough to provide all students...

Electric co-op family recognized in national contest

The family, members of Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative of Milbank, South Dakota, placed third in Touchstone Energy’s annual #WhoPowersYou...

PRECorp’s donation to WY food pantries and soup kitchens multiplies, cooperative-style

Basin Electric matched the PRECorp funds, resulting in $35,200 in grant awards to help feed the hungry across five northeast Wyoming counties.