Throwback Thursday: Tour groups and earphone hardhats

People have been touring Basin Electric facilities for decades.

Tours of Basin Electric’s facilities have proven to be a positive form of communication for decades. Whether the tour has been at Leland Olds Station, Deer Creek Station, or Spirit Mound Station, the excursionists learn something new at each tour about the production of their electricity. Win Curtiss, former manager of the Basin Electric information services department said, “Tours are one of our best communication tools. When people go through the power plants, they better understand the size and complexity of the operation and develop a greater appreciation for the invisible commodity they use every day. After people have been on a tour. I believe they are more aware when they plug in an appliance of how their electricity is transmitted.”

Tours comprise of a number of groups. Whether it be board of directors, cooperative members, high school students, cub scouts, or government officials, the tours are informational for each individual.

Since 1983, Basin Electric has promoted the tour program. This year, 42 member cooperatives from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wyoming will tour a facility. Some co-ops tour the facilities together. The tour program also hosted 28 school groups as well as 20 groups that represented a variety of organizations, according to Erin Huntimer, who coordinates Basin Electric’s tour program.

An article published in the July 1983 edition of Report, “Basin Electric rolls out the welcome mat,” showed the promotion of tours as well as the introduction of the ear phone hard hats.

Power plant workers know how loud the power plants can be and how ear and head protection is vital in their everyday work setting. In July 1983 tours were starting to use ear phone hard hats. “Because of high noise levels and the difficulty of hearing in the plants, we’re experimenting with ear phone hard hats,” said Curtiss. “These headsets are used only at the Leland Olds Station in Stanton, North Dakota, so far, but if we continue to get favorable comments about them we hope to start using them at other plants.” The headsets included ear phones to hear the tour guide who had a speaker connected to each of the headsets. To keep the head sets on, helmets with ear protection that snapped down to lock them in place held the headsets on the individuals ear to protect the person’s ears and head.

The headsets were a hit from the beginning and were introduced over time to other plants including: Antelope Valley Station, Dry Fork Station, and Deer Creek Station.

The tour program has been a hot commodity for decades. Ear, eye, and head protection has been provided at every tour and the tour continues to have individuals from different groups come to learn about the generation of their electricity.


  1. DARYL HILL says:

    When we started using the headsets at AVS, we spent a lot of time with a hot-glue gun & wire snippers to “incorporate” the radios into the hard hats. What a great addition to the tours program. Those radios really helped to save our voices!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: