NLI petitions circulating

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northern lights

NLI petitions are

making the rounds

Members of Northern Lights, Inc. (NLI), our electric non-profit cooperative, are circulating petitions to change two sections of NLIís bylaws. The petitions, which are due Feb. 4, are necessary to correct deficiencies that the NLI board has refused to change.

The first petition changes the directorsí compensation to not include health insurance. Directors have awarded themselves health insurance coverage as if they are NLI employees. They then awarded themselves the option of taking the cash value of the health insurance instead. Because the insurance premiums are $27,942/year this means that each director is paid approximately $800 per hour to attend the 3-hour monthly director meeting, in addition to any per diem they receive for performing NLI business. Directors are not employees but elected ďvolunteerĒ trustees who should be negotiating to keep member bills low. Instead, NLIís monthly minimum charge was recently raised to $30/month, the second base rate increase in 3 years. By comparison, Avistaís rate is only $5.75/month.

At a recent public meeting, NLI Director Jim Woodward, a Republican candidate for Idaho Senate, admitted taking the cash in lieu of health insurance, saying he guessed he couldnít turn it down.

The second petition, which Woodward spoke against, seeks to give members the right to purchase their own analog meter due to either privacy concerns or health issues with the current digital meters. Over the last five years, NLIís analog meters have been swapped for digital meters, at a member cost of $3 million, without their knowledge or consent.

Petitions are available for NLI members to sign at the Army Surplus Store and the Long Bridge Conoco in Sandpoint, and the Beacon office in Priest River.

NLI board meetings are the 4th Monday of the month at 10:00 AM.

ANNE WILDER CHAMBERLAIN

Priest River

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