December 2, 2011

MWEC has plans to handle oil field demand

MWEC has plans to handle oil field demand
By Jerry W. Kram

Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative has an interesting problem on its hands. Thousands of oil wells will need thousands of kilowatts of electricity and providing that power will bring the cooperative millions of dollars. But how will the cooperative pay the huge up front costs that will be needed to build the infrastructure to service those wells?
That was the point of member meetings held in New Town and Parshall this week. Co-op general manager Dale Haugen said the problem boiled down to numbers. The cooperative currently provides power to about 5,500 members on 10,255 meters who consume about 529 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year. In the next 10 years, mostly because of the demands of the oil industry, the cooperative expects to see the amount of electricity used by its customers triple. That will make MWEC the biggest cooperative in North Dakota, beating out Cass County Electric.
“What makes MWEC is location,” Haugen said. “We’re right in the middle of this doggone Bakken boom. Our sales are still smaller than (Cass County) but they’re looking in their rear view mirror.”

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