Manager’s Message

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — January 2020

The Value of Bonneville Power

Jeff DavisMedia reports questioning the solvency of the Bonneville Power Administration continue to appear in both regional and national media outlets. We would like to respond directly to these outlandish, unsubstantiated and unfair claims.

BPA is in no way insolvent or in danger of becoming insolvent. Its contracts with public power utilities in the Northwest guarantee coverage of its costs. BPA has made 36 consecutive annual payments to the U.S. Treasury, fully repaying investments in the federal hydro system. In fact, third-party credit rating services such as Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have all affirmed BPA is on solid financial footing.

That being said, the competitiveness of BPA’s rates in the future is a legitimate concern for BPA and its public power customers. Our power purchases from BPA come bundled with many valuable services, making a direct cost comparison with standard spot-market purchases difficult and complex. This important fact is often overlooked or ignored by BPA’s critics, and the reports make unfair apples-to-oranges comparisons. A better statement of BPA’s competitive situation is that we are concerned about BPA’s ability to mitigate the layering of considerable cost pressures driven by operational, market and ongoing legal challenges to the operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System.

BPA’s response to our competitiveness concerns by holding the line on wholesale power rates for the current two-year rate period is appropriate and appreciated, although we firmly object to the surcharge BPA just imposed to increase its financial reserves. To ensure future competitiveness, we believe it is critical for BPA to exercise strict cost controls and keep wholesale power rates level for future rate periods.

The not-for-profit community-owned Northwest utilities that make up the bulk of BPA’s revenues are working to support BPA in its efforts to reduce costs and increase revenue opportunities. BPA’s cost competitiveness is a crucial issue as we consider our long-term power supply options prior to the expiration of our current BPA contracts in 2028.

The federal dams on the Columbia and Lower Snake rivers provide many valuable economic and environmental benefits, including shipping, irrigation, flood control and recreation. They are also critical to our clean energy future. The federal hydro system is also the largest source of flexible, carbon-free energy in the Northwest. It helps us add new solar and wind, and is critical to avoiding blackouts in the region. It’s essential to adequately account for all of these factors when placing a value on the power we buy from BPA.

BPA’s mission is multipurpose. We in public power understand the crucial role the agency plays in the Northwest.
Wasco Electric Cooperative and the rest of the region’s not-for-profit utilities remain committed to holding the agency accountable for its costs and spending decisions, yet we also see great opportunities for BPA and the federal hydro system to support the Pacific Northwest economy and way of life for the foreseeable future.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Inside Ruralite, Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — December 2019

Capital Credit Retirement

Jeff DavisThis month, Wasco Electric Cooperative will retire all of the 1989 and a portion of the 1990 capital margins back to members and former members.

The total capital credits returned to members who received service in 1989 and 1990 will be $500,000. In addition to these general retirements, the co-op retired $46,000 to the estates of deceased members during the year, bringing the total capital credits to be returned to members in 2019 to $546,000.

Capital credits are unique to cooperatives such as Wasco Electric. Investor-owned power companies make profits and pay dividends to stockholders, but cooperatives work on a not-for-profit basis and allocate their operating income back to their members.

Capital credits represent your share of the cooperative’s operating income— the operating revenue remaining after operating expenses.

The amount designated in your name each year depends on your energy purchases for the year. To calculate this, we divide your annual energy purchase by the cooperative’s operating income for the year. The more electricity you buy, the larger your share of the capital credits.

Each February, members who received service the prior year are mailed a statement of their prior year’s capital credit allocation. The member’s allocation amount is based on the year-end operating margin.

Capital credits are not necessarily dollars in a bank account. Instead, they represent funds that have been invested in the co-op’s utility plant.

Most months, Wasco Electric receives more cash from operations than is necessary to pay for operating expenses. However, the cooperative needs cash for purposes other than paying for operating expenses. Wasco Electric must service its debt; i.e., pay principal and interest on money it has borrowed.

The cooperative must also use cash to pay for capital expenditures. The amount of cash needed for capital expenditures is largely determined by the growth of a utility and the replacement schedule of its aging system.
Your board of directors considers distribution of capital credits and the effect on the financial well-being of the cooperative each year. The board has the discretion to return capital credits as long as the co-op is financially fit to return them without any additional borrowing to pay capital credits.

Happy Holidays

The board of directors and employees of Wasco Electric wish each of you a happy holiday season and a prosperous 2020. It has been our pleasure to serve you this year.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message – November 2019

Join Us for Our 80th Annual Meeting

Jeff DavisI would like to invite each member to attend this year’s annual meeting Saturday, November 23, at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center, 402 W. Scenic Drive in The Dalles. Doors open for registration at 11 a.m. A catered buffet lunch is served at noon.

We will have musical entertainment; a guest speaker; reports from the board, manager, attorney and auditor; and the election of three board members for three-year terms. There will be prize drawings throughout the meeting.

The information booklets—including resumes of the candidates for election, the program of the day, financial reports and absentee ballots for the director election—were mailed to each member November 4. The photos and resumes of this year’s candidates are on pages 4 and 5 of this issue.

We look forward to seeing you at the annual meeting. If you are unable to attend, please vote and mail your absentee ballot to Secretary, c/o Wasco Electric Cooperative, P.O. Box 1700, The Dalles, OR, or drop it by the office no later than Friday, November 22.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

WEC’s annual meeting is at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center on Saturday, November 23. Doors open at 11 a.m.
WEC’s annual meeting is at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center on Saturday, November 23. Doors open at 11 a.m.
Inside Ruralite, Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — October 2019

Director Elections

Jeff DavisThe Wasco Electric Cooperative nominating committee, consisting of members from each director district, met September 5 to nominate candidates for election at this year’s annual meeting.

This year’s candidates for election to three-year terms as director are:

District 1: Bob Durham, incumbent.
District 2: Jim McNamee, incumbent; and Steve Kaseberg.
District 3: Jerry Duling, incumbent; and Pat Davis.

These candidates are up for election at the 80th Annual Meeting of Wasco Electric Cooperative on Saturday, November 23. I invite each of you to attend.

If you are unable to attend, absentee ballots and the annual meeting booklet will be mailed in early November. I encourage each member to vote on the leadership of your cooperative.

October is National Cooperative Month

As we celebrate, I want to reflect on what co-ops bring to Americans.

More than 29,000 co-ops with about 27 million members operate in the U.S. More than 900 electric co-ops maintain nearly half of the electric distribution lines in the U.S. These lines cover three-quarters of the U.S. land mass and provide electricity to more than 42 million Americans.

Like all other co-ops, Wasco Electric operates under the Seven Cooperative Principles:

Voluntary and Open Membership.

Co-ops are open to all who are able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.

Democratic Member Control.

Co-ops are controlled by their members, who set the policies and make decisions. Elected representatives are accountable to the members, who have equal voting rights: one member, one vote.

Member Economic Participation.

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. They allocate surpluses to develop the co-op, and benefit in proportion to their transactions with the co-op.

Autonomy and Independence.

Cooperatives are self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members.

Education, Training and Information.

Co-ops provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute to the development of their co-ops. They inform the public, particularly young people and opinion leaders, about the nature and benefits of cooperation.

Cooperation Among Cooperatives.

Cooperatives serve their members by working together locally, nationally, regionally and internationally.

Concern for Community.

While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities.

As always, if you have any questions regarding any aspect of your cooperative, please stop by or give us a call.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Inside Ruralite, Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — September 2019

Jeff Davis2019 Annual Meeting

The 80th annual meeting of Wasco Electric Cooperative Inc., is Saturday, November 23, at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center in The Dalles.

During the meeting, members will vote on three director positions—one from each of the three districts—that will be expiring.

At the August board meeting, the board of directors appointed the nominating committee, whose members will select candidates to run for the three board member positions up for election this year.

The committee meets in early September. If you are a member willing to serve on the board of directors, please let us know. We will pass on your name to the nominating committee members.

WECare Donations

Each year, the cooperative reaches out to its members asking for support for those who struggle to make financial ends meet. Your contributions to our WECare program help many families each year. We are again asking for your support this month.

With your September power bill, you will find a donation card with which you can help support your friends and neighbors. Please see page 8 of this month’s issue for more information on the benefits of this program.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your cooperative, please call or stop by the office.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Inside Ruralite, Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — August 2019

2019 Annual Meeting

Jeff DavisAlthough November is several months away, preparations for Wasco Electric Cooperative’s 80th annual meeting are underway. The meeting is Saturday, November 23, at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center, 402 E. Scenic Drive, The Dalles.

During the meeting, members will vote on three director positions that are expiring—one from each of the three districts.

At its August meeting, the board of directors will appoint the member committee that nominates candidates to run for those positions. This committee will meet in early September.

If you are a member willing to serve on the board of directors, please let us know. We will give your name to the nominating committee members for consideration. See page 8 of this issue for more information.

Current directors whose terms are expiring and will seek re-election this year are Bob Durham, District 1, serving on the board since 1994; Jim McNamee, District 2, serving on the board since 2006; and Jerry Duling, District 3, serving on the board since 2016 and current board treasurer.

August Events

August is a busy time of year for many end-of-summer activities. Below is a list of several signature events taking place this month. I hope you are able to take in some, if not all, of these great events.

  • Saturday, August 3, and Sunday, August 4: Shaniko Days.
  • Friday, August 9, through Sunday, August 11: Cruise the Gorge, The Dalles.
  • Saturday, August 10, and Sunday, August 11: Vintage Dufur Days.
  • Wednesday, August 21, through Saturday, August 24: Sherman County Fair & Rodeo, Moro.
  • Thursday, August 22, through Sunday, August 25: Wasco County Fair & Rodeo, Tygh Valley.

As always, if you have any questions about your cooperative, please feel free to call or stop by the office.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Inside Ruralite, Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — July 2019

Board Member Recognition

Jeff DavisThis spring, Wasco Electric Cooperative Director Jerry Duling completed the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Credentialed Cooperative Director program.

During the past two years, Jerry completed the required courses to earn his CCD certificate. He joins seven other WEC directors as credentialed board members.

The CCD program consists of five training courses covering Director Duties and Liabilities, Understanding the Electric Business, Board Roles and Relationships, Strategic Planning and Financial Decision Making, which are modeled specifically to the electric utility industry.

Congratulations to Jerry! I sincerely appreciate the commitment the directors have made in continuing their education in order to best serve the members of this cooperative now and into the future.

Cooperative Awards Community Grants

Each year, the cooperative supports the development of projects throughout its service area with its Economic/Community Development grant program.

This year, the cooperative’s grant committee awarded a $2,500 grant to the Maupin Legion Hall Restoration Committee for restoration work on the hall—a cornerstone building in the Maupin community.

Youth Programs

This summer, the cooperative again sponsored two area students to attend a utility related youth tour.

In June, Linnae Roeder, a junior-to-be at South Wasco County High School; and Thomas Scott, a sophomore-to-be at Dufur High School; attended the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Washington, D.C., Youth Tour. Linnae and Thomas, along with more than 1,800 cooperative-sponsored students representing 43 states, converged on the nation’s capital for a week of learning about the cooperative business model, touring landmarks, meeting with state representatives and honing their leadership skills.

This tour is a great investment in not only today’s youth, but tomorrow’s leaders. Congratulations to both of them.

Enjoy your summer! As always, if you have any questions regarding your cooperative, please stop in or give us a call.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Inside Ruralite, Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — June 2019

Director Recognition

Jeff Davis
Jeff Davis, General Manager

At the 79th annual meeting of the Northwest Public Power Association last month, Wasco Electric board member Ron Holmes took the reins as president of the board of trustees.

In addition to Ron’s 11 years of service on the Wasco Electric board, he has served on the NWPPA board since 2012 and was elected to the executive committee in 2017. NWPPA is an international association representing and serving consumer-owned utilities in the Western U.S. and Canada.

Congratulations, Ron. We, along with the other NWPPA member utilities from across the region, look forward to your leadership during the coming year.

High School Graduates

The board of directors and employees of Wasco Electric Cooperative offer our congratulations to the 2019 graduates from area high schools.

One way the co-op supports local youth is through our contribution to the high school’s graduating class drug- and alcohol-free graduation parties.

The high schools we support in this manner are The Dalles, Dufur, Sherman County, South Wasco County and Madras.

Again, congratulations and good luck in your future, wherever it may take you.

Summer Safety

With the arrival of summer comes an increase in outdoor activities. Whether you are out and about for work or pleasure, be aware of where overhead power lines are located in relation to your activities.

If you come across a downed power line, stay away from it, protect the area and call the power company immediately.

In addition to increased outdoor activities, summer also brings fire season. In the event of a fire that may potentially threaten the cooperative’s distribution or transmission lines, please call the office immediately.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer! As always, if you have any questions about your cooperative, please feel free to call or stop by the office.

Jeff Davis
General Manager

Inside Ruralite, Manager's Message

Electrical Safety Starts With You

Every electrical device has a purpose and a service lifespan. None will last forever. When electricity is involved, failures present electrical hazards.

In recognition of May being National Electrical Safety Month, Wasco Electric Cooperative recommends looking around your home and correcting any
safety hazards.


Outdoor outlets or those in damp locations in a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room often include ground-fault circuit interrupters. GFCIs are designed to sense abnormal current flow and break the circuit to prevent electric shocks from devices plugged into the outlets.

The average GFCI outlet is designed to last about 10 years. In areas prone to electrical storms or power surges, they can wear out in five years or less. Check them frequently by pressing the red test button, then hitting the black reset button. Contact a licensed electrician to replace any failing GFCI outlets.

Unstable electrical outlets or wall switches with signs of heat damage or discoloration offer early warnings of potential shock or electrical fire hazards.
Loose connections can allow electrical current arcing. If you see these signs, contact an electrician.

Surge Protectors

Power strips with surge protectors safeguard expensive electronic equipment from power spikes. Voltage spikes are measured in joules. Surge protectors are rated for the number of joules they can absorb. If your surge protector is rated at 1,000 joules, replace it when it hits that limit because that is when surge protection stops.

Some surge protectors include indicator lights that flicker to warn you when they have stopped working as designed, but many do not. If your electrical system takes a major hit, or if you don’t remember when you bought your surge protector, replace it.

Extension Cords

Extension cords are designed for temporary use. If you regularly use extension cords to connect equipment to wall outlets, you may live in an underwired home. Contact an electrician.

If an extension cord gets noticeably warm when in use, it could be undersized for the intended use. If it is frayed, cracked or has heat-damaged insulation, replace it.

If the grounding prong is missing, crimped or loose, it will not provide the protection intended. Always make sure extension cords used in outdoor or
potentially damp locations are rated for exterior use.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 51,000 electrical fires are reported each year in the U.S., causing more than $1.3 billion in property damage.

Electricity is a necessity for modern living. Wasco Electric is committed to providing safe, reliable and affordable power to members. Please keep these electrical safety tips in mind, and address potential hazards before damage occurs.

Manager's Message

Manager’s Message — April 2019

Jeff DavisWasco Electric Cooperative Inc. will provide its members with competitively priced, reliable energy and related services.

This is our mission statement. I want to share with you what we are doing to meet this commitment to you, the members.

Competitively Priced Energy

This does not mean the cheapest power. It means we will deliver a product to our members at the lowest possible cost it takes to serve the rural areas where you live and work.

Wasco Electric serves more than 4,700 meters spread across 1,600 miles of distribution line and five counties. The annual revenue generated from electric sales averages $6,900 per mile of line.

The cost to serve a system averaging fewer than three customers per mile is much different than the cost to serve a concentrated city load exceeding 40 customers per mile, with revenues in excess of $85,000 per mile of line.

In addition to the challenges of delivering low-cost power across a sparsely populated rural system, the rising costs of the power we buy from the Bonneville Power Administration continues to be a concern.

Reliable Energy

Ideally, we would like to have the lights on 24/7 throughout the year. However, that is not a reality given the elements our power lines are exposed to.

Your cooperative continually works to deliver the most reliable service possible.

During the past several years of an aggressive right-of-way tree-trimming program, we have nearly eliminated tree-related outages. While the costs associated with this program are relatively high, the value of clear rights-of-ways and reduced outages has paid big dividends.

In addition to tree trimming, we continue to upgrade portions of the system that have aged to the point of not being able to provide reliable service. This includes pole changeouts, upgraded lines to serve increasing loads and replacement of aging underground lines.

Related Services

In addition to the basic electric service we provide to you, the co-op offers a host of related services.

We offer rebates for several energy saving programs such as Energy Star appliances, home weatherization, heat pumps, irrigation system improvements and efficient commercial lighting upgrades.

Cooperative members have access to many local and national savings through the use of our Co-op Connections Card. Since its introduction, Wasco Electric members have saved more than $35,000 on their prescription drugs when using the Co-op Connections Card.

The co-op also offers a budget payment plan for its residential customers and on line bill view and pay through our website at

As always, if you have any questions about your cooperative, please feel free to call or stop by the office.

Jeff Davis
General Manager