With the start of the new year, you’ll see more than a new look to our monthly newsletter at Heartland.

You’ll also soon see some changes to the district.

Voters in the Heartland customers cities of Arlington, Howard, Miller and Plankinton recently elected for those municipalities to be annexed into the Heartland Consumers Power District.

Heartland was formed in 1969 under South Dakota’s Consumers Power District Law to provide supplemental power to cities above the hydropower allocations they were receiving from Western Area Power Administration.

The Heartland district originally consisted of nine subdivisions including virtually all rural areas of the 36 counties in eastern South Dakota. These subdivisions were established and board members appointed before Heartland had signed any contracts with customers.

Heartland signed its first power sales contract in 1976 and in 1977, the state’s first and only consumers power district began supplying electrical power to 22 customers across a three-state region.

Three Heartland customers, Madison, Groton and Volga, later voted to be annexed into the district and Heartland is currently governed by a ten-member board, each member elected to represent a designated subdivision within the district.

The Heartland Board of Directors voted at their December meeting to accept the cities of Arlington, Howard, Miller and Plankinton into the district. The board will now have to decide where to place each municipality within the district. Those decisions will be made in the coming months.

Heartland values each of our customers and provides a number of opportunities to interact with our board and staff.

We feel the customer meetings held throughout the year are not only a great time to gain knowledge and interact with other customers, but to speak to board members and staff, share concerns or simply learn more about current Heartland operations.

Heartland staff also hit the road quite frequently to visit customers, learn about what’s going on in their cities and assist with any issues.

The Heartland board meets every month at our headquarters in Madison. These meetings are open to the public and the agendas are posted online for your review.

While I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions, I would encourage all customers to make it a goal to attend at least one board meeting in 2017. I think you would find the time well spent. Not only would it be educational, you would have the opportunity ask questions and get to know board members.

After all, they are representing your interests.

We at Heartland are looking forward to 2017 and what it has in store. We are happy to welcome these four cities into the district and are excited to strengthen relationships with all our customers in the new year.