CEO Talk


By Todd Brickhouse

Beginning a new year allows us to focus on executing our objectives for the current year and measuring our goals from the prior year.

As part of our 2023 strategic planning effort, we developed three cooperative-wide goals that would provide value to our members and a unified sense of purpose within Basin Electric.

As the largest G&T in the country in megawatt-hour sales and geographical territory, we have an obligation to our members, employees, and industry to do things safely, reliably, and affordably. That’s why it was a natural fit to have our cooperative-wide goals focus on safety, reliability, and affordability.

In our most recent member surveys, reliability and affordability consistently ranked as top items of importance for our cooperative family. Safety was also a natural selection because there’s nothing more important than our employees returning home safely at the end of each day.

After determining our goals, we set measurements that we felt were realistic and achievable.

  1. Safety – Decrease our incident rate by 10% compared to 2022.
  2. Reliability – Improve generation and transmission reliability compared to 2022 and exceed industry average.
  3. Affordability – Achieve a net cost per member megawatt-hour sales equal to or less than $53.23 and achieve a consolidated net margin equal to or greater than $199.4 million.

Basin Electric has a long history of making safety a core value; however, over the last decade we have fallen short of our standards. Whether it’s a line of fire injury or ergonomic injury, our team worked hard to prevent and minimize incidents in 2023.

I’m pleased to report that after focusing on transforming our safety efforts at all locations, we met our goal for our most important initiative.

In the electric utility industry, we strive to provide service so dependable that the member at the end of the line doesn’t have to pause to think about reliability when they flip a light switch, allowing them to focus on their families, farms, and businesses, among other activities.

As you’ve likely seen firsthand at your own local cooperatives, the men and women at Basin Electric who are on the front lines of our reliability efforts, operating and maintaining your generation and transmission assets, work very hard to keep those assets online.

While we can’t control the weather or the rules of our regional transmission organizations when power shortages occur, we can perform systematic maintenance, commit to secure power purchase agreements, and ensure reliable fuel sources are available to fulfill our responsibility of being a reliable energy supplier to our membership.

I’m pleased to share that we successfully reached our 2023 cooperative-wide goal for reliability.

We did not increase our rates in 2023, so it may feel to you that our affordability goal was satisfied. However, as detailed below, we came up short of our dual affordability goals.

Let me take a moment to expand on why we set dual affordability goals regarding net income after tax and megawatt-hour net cost. With respect to net cost per member megawatt-hour sales, the rate we charge is ultimately a function of the costs we incur to provide electric service, so controlling costs is an important factor in having an affordable rate. The second affordability goal of consolidated net margin is important because our margins allow us to rotate patronage and continue to invest in our system to ensure future reliability.

It is worth noting that Basin Electric’s utility business exceeded its budgeted net margin, but Dakota Gas' financial results were adversely impacted by lower-than-budgeted plant capacity factors and prices for its commodity products that came in lower than budget projections.

Now that the numbers are in and the results are laid out in black and white, we will focus our efforts on executing our 2024 objectives. Safety, reliability, and affordability remain as important in 2024 as they were last year, and we aim to continue tracking our efforts and holding ourselves accountable so our members have the power they need for rural America to continue to thrive.