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Beltrami Electric to close maintenance facility in Blackduck

As part of a continuing effort to contain costs, Beltrami Electric Cooperative announced the closing of the sole outpost maintenance building in Blackduck, effective Sept. 1.

General Manager Lynette Nieuwsma said the reason for the closing is solely a financial one. "We have a duty to all our members to look at savings wherever possible, and this change will not affect the quality of service provided."

She said the decision, made by the cooperative's board of directors will ultimately benefit all the 16,500 members in the 3,000 square mile area in Beltrami and parts of Clearwater, Cass, Hubbard, Itasca and Koochiching counties.

"These are tough economic times," Nieuwsma said, "and all of us realize the cost of everyday living puts a strain on the family budget. Any efficiencies we can make in our operations will help achieve our goal of providing electric power that is not only dependable, but affordable."

The Blackduck outpost personnel will now work out of the Bemidji headquarters, and outage calls will be handled by the nearest available crew as at present. After-hours outage calls currently are handled out of the Bemidji headquarters and will continue to be in the future.

Established in 1940, Beltrami Electric Cooperative is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative located in Bemidji, Minn. As a Touchstone Energy partner, Beltrami Electric upholds the four core values of electric cooperatives -- Integrity, Accountability, Community Involvement and Innovation.