Air Conditioner-1

WAPA offers Cooling Tip Sheet, bill stuffer

Just in time for the hot summer months, Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) has released its 2015 Tip Sheet: Cooling System Maintenance and accompanying bill stuffer for use by electric utilities. The files, available for download below, are ready to be imprinted with your utility or city logo and given to customers.

According to WAPA, both handouts break down the simple steps that keep air conditioners humming efficiently and offer operating tips to make sure a owning cooling system is not like fighting an uphill battle. The tip sheet makes a great handout for customer education events while the bill stuffer provides similar information in a perfect size to fit into a business envelope.

If needed, send WAPA Energy Services an electronic version of your logo and they’ll create the template for you.

Tip Sheet: Cooling System Maintenance (PDF)

Cooling System Maintenance Bill Stuffer (PDF)

front porch banner

Help Langford, SD win a $25,000 grant

You can help the community of Langford, SD win a $25,000 Neighborhood Assist Grant from State Farm! The funds will help establish The Front Porch, a unique gathering spot where community members and visitors can gather together for social, business and family connections. Visit to cast your vote today!

Community Development Need

With a population of 318, Langford has been slowly losing Main Street storefronts for the past two decades. Although dilapidated buildings and empty lots dot the downtown area, the residents are proud of the businesses that serve local needs. Several years ago, a group of residents with a vision gathered together to discuss the decline and find ways to reverse the trend. They came up with the Langford Main Street Center – a project that is reviving the town and community spirit.

Locally funded and constructed, the center is a 5,000 square-foot structure that will include a hair salon, two office spaces and a restaurant and sports bar. It is owned by the community, managed by a local board of directors and financed by local investors. Nearing completion, the center’s trickle-down effect is already being realized as the city is seeing new housing construction and other business opportunities are being planned.

Grant Funding

According to project officials, the grant funding from State Farm will be used to help create an atmosphere that reflects local pride and shares the story of Langford and its history. The group hopes to create signage, logos, framed historic photos, local art and decor that is reflective of the community’s 130-year history and success.  The money will help Langford Main Street Center “create a unique gathering spot that welcomes customers and recognizes our citizen’s talents and accomplishments, great pioneer history, and tells the story of our existence as a rural community.”

Lasting Impact

The spirit and theme of “Hard Work Together” is woven deeply within the community and this community project. Residents believe the momentum created by this project and within local residents has spurred potential for new growth and a change in mindsets and actions. In fact, they believe surrounding communities have already begun to take notice what Langford can achieve.

State Farm Neighborhood Assist

The State Farm Neighborhood Assist program will award forty causes grants of $25,000 each. Voting is open and determines where the money is allocated. People can vote up to 10 times per day through June 3 using their Facebook account. Links to the voting site are available HERE or on the Front Porch Facebook page,

The Front Porch construction progress in April of 2015.

The Front Porch construction progress in April of 2015. Photo courtesy The Front Porch.

Washington Capital building

Senate Majority Leader says Congress could block Clean Power Plan

By Paul Cimapoli, News Director, American Public Power Association
From the May 7, 2015 issue of Public Power Daily

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., recently said that Congress could utilize a section of the Clean Air Act to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

McConnell made his remarks at an April 29 hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2016 funding request and budget justification for the EPA. The hearing was held by the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy appeared before the subcommittee at the hearing.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan was proposed by the agency in June 2014. It would require states to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants from 2005 levels by 30 percent by 2030. Under the EPA’s proposal, states would be required to submit state plans to the EPA in 2016 and to begin to meet interim goals in 2020.

McConnell said that one of McCarthy’s deputies recently told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “that multi-state plans are a significant part of your strategy.”

In comments to McCarthy, the Senate majority leader said, “I’d like to acquaint you” with Section 102(c) of the Clean Air Act, which he said requires Congressional consent for cooperative agreements. McConnell said that the law states that no such agreement “or compact shall be binding or obligatory” upon any state “unless and until” it has been approved by Congress. “Doesn’t seem ambivalent to me,” McConnell said.

“I can assure you that as long as I’m majority leader of the Senate, this body’s not going to be signing off on any backdoor energy tax,” McConnell said.

It remains unclear whether Section 102(c) of the Clean Air Act could be used to block multi-state agreements.

In March, McConnell wrote a letter to the nation’s governors in which he urged them to “carefully review the consequences before signing up for this deeply misguided plan. I believe you will find, as I have, that the EPA’s proposal goes far beyond its legal authority and that the courts are likely to strike it down. All of which raises the very important question of why the EPA is asking states at this time to propose their own compliance plans in the first place.”

Senate committee examines legal implications of EPA plan

Meanwhile, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee on May 5 held a hearing to examine the legal implications of the Clean Power Plan.

In her opening remarks, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Va., who chairs the subcommittee, said that many states “have raised grave concerns about the legality of the rule and the implications for their citizens and ratepayers. In addition to significant Constitutional and other legal questions, states have expressed concerns about the feasibility of EPA’s proposed requirements and the likely impacts on electricity costs and reliability.”

Capito said that next week “I will be introducing greenhouse gas legislation with my colleagues that will preserve the proper balance of state and federal authority, help ensure reliable and affordable electricity, and protect jobs and our economy.”

Witnesses at the hearing included West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. In his prepared testimony, Morrisey noted that West Virginia is one of 15 states involved in a lawsuit before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The legal action targets EPA’s authority to issue any rule regulating existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act when EPA has already regulated the same source category under Section 112 of the act.

“If this administration elects to finalize this rule, West Virginia will challenge it in court and we expect that the coalition of 15 states that we’re currently working with will grow,” the West Virginia attorney general said.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt told the hearing that the EPA “does not possess the authority under the Clean Air Act to do what it is seeking to accomplish in the so-called Clean Power Plan.”

He said that the EPA, “under this administration, treats states like a vessel of federal will. The EPA believes states exist to implement the policies the Administration sees fit, regardless of whether laws like the Clean Air Act permit such action.”

Pruitt said that the Clean Air Act “hinges on ‘cooperative federalism’ by giving states the primary responsibility and role for regulation while providing a federal backstop if the states should fail to act.”

When the EPA “respects the role of the states, the cooperative relationship works well. When the EPA exceeds the constraints placed upon the agency by Congress, the relationship is thrown out of balance and the rule of law and state sovereignty is affected adversely,” the Oklahoma attorney general said.

The Clean Power Plan proposal “throws the cooperative relationship between the states and the federal government off balance,” he said.

Other witnesses at the hearing were Roger Martella, Jr., a partner at Sidley Austin LLP, Kelly Speakes-Backman, commissioner of the Maryland Public Service Commission and Chair of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. Board of Directors and Lisa Heinzerling, Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

In her written testimony submitted for the hearing, Speakes-Backman argued that the basic structure of EPA’s proposed rule is sound, “although the RGGI states recommend that EPA adopt certain revisions to ensure that early action is recognized, and that the state targets are verifiable, transparent, equitable, and enforceable.”

She also said in the written testimony that the RGGI states “have demonstrated that it is possible to achieve cost-effective pollution reductions while maintaining grid reliability, and while having a positive impact on ratepayers and our overall economies.”

RGGI is a regional carbon dioxide emissions program launched in January 2009. It was the first market-based regulatory program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The cooperative effort is mandatory in the participating states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Speakes-Backman addressed some of the key lessons learned from the RGGI that can be applied to implementing EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan in an exclusive interview published in Public Power Weekly in late 2014.

On the other side of Capitol Hill, the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 29 approved legislation that would allow for judicial review of any final EPA rule to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act before the rule could take effect.

FERC commissioner discusses Clean Power Plan

Colette Honorable, a FERC commissioner, on May 5 discussed the Clean Power Plan in remarks before an audience of energy attorneys in Washington, DC.

“I’d like to talk with you very briefly about a few of my priorities as I see them in my first” four months at FERC, she said at the Energy Bar Association’s annual meeting and conference. Honorable was sworn in on Jan. 5 as a commissioner with FERC.

“Clearly, job number one for me is reliability,” Honorable told the gathering of energy attorneys. During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing in December related to her nomination as a FERC commissioner, Honorable said that electric reliability would be a top priority for her at the federal agency.

In her remarks before the Energy Bar Association meeting, she noted that the EPA is in the final stages of issuing the final rule under the agency’s Clean Power Plan. “EPA has sought advice and counsel from the FERC and I am eager to give that,” she said.
With respect to the Clean Power Plan, there are a “few issues that really rise to the top for me,” she said.

“One, clearly, is the reliability safety valve issue and the notion of developing some sort of a reliability mechanism that could be employed,” Honorable said.

Honorable said that “another takeaway for me” involves the “importance of collaboration and cooperation.” She said, “We really won’t get very far if we don’t work well together.” Honorable noted that she has “often said, no matter what you think about this plan, we absolutely are going to get a plan this summer – mid to late summer.”

She said that it “behooves all of us to prepare and do the work we do so well day in and day out to contemplate the possibilities, the scenarios, the plans and what we will do” if the rule is upheld.

“If we wait and do nothing, in my opinion, we’ve lost an opportunity,” she said.

Honorable also highlighted the “importance of the regions and the regional efforts that are underway.”


Volga celebrates Mayor Bjerke

Congratulations and best wishes to Mary Bjerke, who wrapped up her third term as mayor of the city of Volga, SD this week. Friends, family, colleagues and residents joined Bjerke for an open house recently to celebrate her tenure.

“It has been an honor to serve,” said Bjerke. “I will miss the people and the relationships.”

Mary Bjerke and Heartland Customer Relations Manager Steve Moses

Mary Bjerke and Heartland Customer Relations Manager Steve Moses

Bjerke has been a public servant for the city of Volga for 20 years. She joined the city council in the mid-90’s before being appointed to mayor in 2009.

With her newfound free time, Bjerke plans to continue volunteering for local non-profits and spending more time with her family, including her two daughters and four grandchildren.

Bjerke works for Larson Doors in Brookings, SD as a graphic designer.

Congratulations Mary, and thanks for the many years of outstanding service!


Celebrate local entrepreneurs during National Small Business Week

More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.

National Small Business Week events will be held in multiple cities, including Miami/Boca Raton, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York City and Washington, D.C. Follow along via live streaming on or using the hashtag #DreamSmallBiz on social media.

U.S. SBA will also be hosting numerous training webinars this week covering a variety of common business topic areas regarding pay, digital footprints, new chip card payment technologies, benefits packages and online payment strategies.

NSBW 2015- Webinar Schedule

Monday, May 4, 2015
4:00-5:00 PM Eastern Time
Register here

Do I Have to Pay My Employees for That?
Common and Not-So Common Workplace Scenarios
Join us as we discuss some of the common pay and time-tracking questions ADP’s HR HelpDesk fields every day. Participants will learn about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), correctly classifying employees as exempt, non-exempt or as an independent contractor, and more.

Monday, May 4, 2015
6:00-7:00 PM Eastern Time
SBA and YP
Register here

The Secrets to Crafting a Digital Footprint
Consumers are serious researchers. When they are on the hunt for a new product or service, they will search across devices, use multiple sites, and make decisions after reading quality content and reviewing videos and images. Join Steve Strauss, USA Today Small Business columnist, and Jeff Biesman from YP for this action-oriented conversation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
3:00-4:00 PM Eastern Time
SBA and Visa
Register here

What Small Business Owners Need to Know about Liability for Counterfeit Fraud on Chip Card Accounts
Liability for counterfeit fraud on chip card accounts will shift from the chip card issuer to business owners who have not upgraded to chip-activated terminals. Visa will bring together experts to help you understand how new payment technologies impact your business’ bottom line.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015
4:00-5:00 PM Eastern Time
SBA and Colonial Life
Register here

Voluntary Benefits: Not Just For the Big Guys
Many small businesses do not offer benefits. Many business owners don’t think they can afford them, don’t know that their business is large enough to qualify, or think they’re too much of an administrative hassle. But the truth is, you can offer a strong benefits package to your employees, even though your business is small. Join this webinar to learn more about voluntary benefits and how can they help your business.

Thursday, May 7, 2015
2:30-3:30 PM Eastern Time
SBA and PayPal
Register here

Payments as a Trigger for Small Business Growth
PayPal and the SBA present a special National Small Business Week webinar about payments as a trigger for small business growth. Tune in to an interactive discussion featuring Crisloid, a PayPal merchant, and hear how simple steps like adding a payments button to your website can spur growth.