Columbus, Neb. - One of the most prestigious awards the utility telecommunications industry has to offer was officially bestowed upon the Nebraska Public Power District recently.
The Utilities Telecom Council, a global trade association, presented NPPD with the Apex Award for Partnership with Public Safety for NPPD’s role in working with the State of Nebraska to develop the State-Wide Radio System, enhancing communications for the District’s line crews, as well as inter-agency communications that would be needed during storm-related outages and emergencies.
The award was presented to Information Technology and Telecommunications Manager and Chief Information Officer Dave Webb by UTC President Connie Durcsack. “This partnership and collaborative effort between NPPD and the State of Nebraska is a model for the rest of the country to follow,” said Durcsak in presenting the award to NPPD. Also in attendance was the State of Nebraska’s Chief Information Officer, Brenda Decker, who spearheaded the state’s efforts to implement the radio system.
UTC’s Apex Award recognizes utilities that have employed communications to improve the lives within communities they serve. “NPPD has demonstrated outstanding leadership in that regard. It is truly gratifying to see what can be accomplished when we work together to solve a common communications need: to ensure safe and reliable power and provide those who safeguard the personal safety of its citizens with a system that allows everyone to talk with each other,” Durcsak added.
NPPD and the State of Nebraska entered into a partnership in 2009 to establish a radio system with interoperability that could be used by all agencies involved. The system improves communications statewide, not only for NPPD crews, but for agencies such as the Nebraska State Patrol and the State Fire Marshal. By partnering to build the new system, a savings of $20 million is expected for state taxpayers and NPPD customers.
In times of powerful winter storms, tornadoes, high winds, and hail that strike Nebraska, a reliable communication system is now in-service for crews as they do restoration work or day-to-day operations. It also gives NPPD the ability to communicate with emergency responders, like the State Patrol, throughout the state.
“By having this new system in place and operating we are able to have our transmission and distribution line crews communicating with each other and our emergency management team throughout the state, ensuring the safety of the workers involved and the communities we serve,” Webb explained. “I am pleased to receive this award on behalf of NPPD, but this is certainly an award to be shared with our partners from the State of Nebraska.”
Webb emphasized that the Board of Directors and management’s support was critical in funding the system, but also the partnership that was forged with the State of Nebraska was a key component to its success.