Boyko_Tom

Tom Boyko, General Manager of East River Electric Power Cooperative

We’re thinking about your future at East River Electric.

Not only that, we’re thinking of your children, your grandchildren and beyond. That’s why you created this cooperative. To provide energy today in a reliable and responsible way, and to build for the future, so access to power isn’t something the next generations even have to consider.

You have probably heard Dakota Energy is considering leaving East River Electric Power Cooperative and signing a contract with a Colorado energy broker named Guzman. This group was started in recent years by investors in Florida and promises cheap, green energy to replace local cooperatives.

We think a long-standing, not-for-profit local co-op can better serve its members and expose them to less risk. We think decisions made by our board—made up of members from each area, including Dakota Energy—keep the best interests of our members first rather than the interests of investors looking for profits.

You may not know East River Electric well since we spend our energy promoting our member cooperatives rather than ourselves.

We are the rural energy supplier for nearly every county in Eastern South Dakota and several counties in Western Minnesota. We’re based in Madison, S.D., and made up of 24 local cooperatives and one municipal electric system whose names you do know, including Northern Electric, Dakota Energy, FEM Electric, Lake Region Electric, Central Electric and more. Those members made a promise to each other to create East River to secure energy and distribute it for the benefit of all of our members. We build transmission infrastructure to new areas based on expectations of future growth. We maintain and repair power lines, substations and other infrastructure to reliably serve the region’s homes, farms and businesses.

We were started 70 years ago by local residents and members of area cooperatives because they recognized that by working together, we could lower risk, coordinate infrastructure, secure better pricing and take advantage of many other ways to improve service for members.

All those reasons are still important today.

Our board at East River Electric is made up of representatives from each of the 25 areas we serve. They set our direction, and we execute. We are beholden to not only that board, but also each of the members they represent in homes across Eastern South Dakota and into Minnesota.

We are not beholden to investors. No one’s profits come before our members. We are here for you.

We’ve done a good job of serving our members for the last 70 years. In surveys, 98% of our members say our cooperative family meets or exceeds expectations. In 2021, we’re looking at a third consecutive year with flat rates, and we use revenues to maintain or improve reliable access to power for our members. We operate a cost-based business, which means that any excess funds are returned to the membership. In the past 10 years East River has returned $2.3 million to Dakota Energy. That’s something you wouldn’t see from a for-profit company.

We care about South Dakota. Through our Rural Electric Economic Investment (REED) fund, we have invested more than $100 million in the region to promote growth and contribute to job, business and wealth creation.

We understand that green energy solutions are growing in the U.S. East River Electric members currently get 37% of their energy from renewable sources, with plans for steady and fiscally responsible growth. We also use traditional energy sources that have proven to deliver reliable power for the last 70 years. We change and adapt in ways that limit risk for our members while taking advantage of new developments in energy production.

Focusing on your future also means we have your interests and future generations’ interests in mind when negotiating pricing. We know this area; we live here. We are experts in market analysis and tracking long-term price trends. We don’t have knee-jerk reactions to sudden changes in spot market prices or supply, and as a result, we have had low and stable rates for our members for decades.

For the last 70 years we’ve put our heads down and done the work that lets you know that when you flip a switch, the power is there. When something is that reliable, it’s easy to stop thinking about who’s making it happen. If you’re not thinking about us, it means we’re doing our job well.

We look forward to continuing to do that job well for the next 70 years and beyond. Regardless of whether you’re thinking about us, we’ll definitely be thinking about you.

If you would like to learn more about this matter, please read our recent press release. You can also reach out to us direct at 605-256-4536.

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