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NISC Member News: Verendrye Electric Cooperative to take over Minot Air Force Base facilities

Story Courtesy of the Minot Daily News

The Minot Daily News carried a story last week announcing that the Minot Air Force Base (MAFB) will officially turn over the “keys” to the base’s electrical facilities to Verendrye Electric Cooperative on June 1.

Last year, Verendrye was awarded a 50-year federal contract to purchase, maintain and operate the electrical distribution infrastructure on the base. Although the contract was awarded Sept. 30, 2011, there has been a transition period to learn the distribution system before Verendrye officially takes over the electrical facilities.

To serve the MAFB, Verendrye will be building a warehouse at the base this summer. In addition, four full-time employees have been hired for the base and will start work soon. The employees include three lineworkers specifically assigned to the base and an accounting clerk. Should there ever be a major outage, the lineworkers can be called off the base or lineworkers at other Verendrye locations can help on the base. NDAREC will be working with Verendrye to provide safety training to personnel who work on electrical facilities at the base.

The Air Force estimates the value of the federal contract awarded to Verendrye to be nearly $85 million over the 50-year period. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., was instrumental in urging military leadership to consider the local electric cooperative as a leading candidate for utility privatization, and worked to help the process overcome bureaucratic hurdles along the way.

“After years of difficult negotiation, it is particularly satisfying to see a proud North Dakota organization, like Verendrye, providing vital services to the men and women serving our nation in uniform,” Conrad said.

“This contract represents a great opportunity to continue our service to the Minot Air Force Base, and we appreciate the assistance Sen. Conrad has provided through this process,” said Verendrye Manager Bruce Carlson. “Having served the base for more than five decades, it is a natural fit for Verendrye to be taking on this expanded role.”
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