Weather Forecast


REA shares 2014 highlights at 79th annual meeting

Runestone Electric Association (REA) held its 79th annual meeting on March 21.

CEO Rick Banke reported cooperative assets of $80.1 million with 14,000 accounts at the end of 2014.

Highlights of 2014 included the retirement of four long-term employees, continuation of a right-of-way clearing program and the underground cable replacement program.

Banke announced REA’s new Solar Wise Community solar project. Participating members will be asked to sign a license agreement allowing them to purchase the output of a panel for 20 years. Depending on annual usage, the output of up to five panels may be purchased.

Installation of the tenKsolar panels (a Minnesota-based company) is scheduled for early summer and will be in conjunction with a Great River Energy solar demonstration project.

REA Board President Audrey Hjelle gave tribute to Banke and his 39 years of service to the cooperative. He began as a part-time summer laborer in college and wor

Under Banke’s leadership, REA experienced the creation of REA-ALP Internet Services, the Marathon Water Heater Program, Heartland Security Services, new headquarters and more.

Banke will retire in June; the recruitment process is under way for a new CEO.

Eric Olsen, vice president for Great River Energy (GRE), REA’s wholesale power supplier, reviewed a number of GRE activities including renewable energy, the CAPX 2020 project, Dakota Spirit AgEnergy, DryFining coal and more. He presented REA with a $1,000 Operation Round Up donation on behalf of GRE.

Incoming member advisory council chair David Lorence recapped the activities of the council and presented the Director Compensation Resolution, which calls for an increase in the director per diem. It was approved unanimously.

Board of director election results were announced. Incumbent Barbara Johnson, District 2, and incumbent Bill O’Brien, District 5, were elected for three-year director terms.

At an organizational meeting after the annual meeting, the following officers were elected: president, Audrey Hjelle; vice president, Barbara Johnson; secretary, Bill O’Brien; treasurer, Ron Holm. Other directors include Wilbur Burquest, Clif Patrick and Steve Pederson.


Runestone Electric Association is a Touchstone Energy cooperative providing electricity and other services to 14,000 rural residents, farms and businesses in parts of the following counties: Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens, Otter Tail, Todd and Stearns.