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NPPD lineworkers take honors at APPA rodeo

May 20, 2015

Columbus, Neb. – Linemen representing the Nebraska Public Power District demonstrated their skills and abilities by winning several awards during the American Public Power Association’s 15th annual, Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo. Held May 15-16, in Sacramento, Calif., and hosted by the Sacramento Municipal Utility.

Kearney Line Technician Chris Clausen earned fifth place in the Apprentice – Overall competition. A team including York Journey Line Technician Jared Rojewski, Norfolk Journey Line Technician Chad Sedlacek, Plattsmouth Senior Line Technician Brian Caba, and Bassett Local Manager Todd Keller placed fourth in the Journeyman – Overall competition. Also attending the rodeo and competing in the Apprentice Division was McCook Line Technician Tyler Brown. Serving as mentors for NPPD’s team were York Operations Program Manager Trevor Roth and Norfolk Distribution Superintendent Brent Arens.

“NPPD’s participants used outstanding professionalism, representing public power and Nebraska well,” commented Roth.

Seven teams and 14 individuals won awards. Fifty-eight teams and 86 apprentices from not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities across the nation participated. The “rodeo” is a series of competitive events demonstrating lineworker skills and safe work practices.

“Lineworkers are exposed to safety hazards in their jobs every day, similar to first responders, firefighters, farm workers, construction workers and security professionals,” said NPPD Transmission and Distribution Manager Joel Dagerman. “The training and skills NPPD invests in our lineworkers at events such as the APPA rodeo are important tools for us to better serve our customers and allow our Lineworker Teammates to go home safely….every day.”

The events are judged based upon safety, work practices, neatness, ability, equipment handling, and timely event completion. All safety rules established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the APPA Safety Manual were observed during events.

There are two levels of competition within the rodeo—journeyman and apprentice. The journeyman teams consist of three members—two climbers and a ground person—and can include an optional alternate. A qualified journeyman has more than four years of experience within the electric utility trade. An apprentice lineworker has four or fewer years of experience.

Clean, drain, dry boating equipment to stop invasive species from spreading into Nebraska waters

May 18, 2015

Columbus, Neb. – Who could imagine a small creature, not much bigger than a fingernail, could have the potential to cause millions of dollars in damages. But simply cleaning, draining and drying a boat will aid in stopping this creature.

That creature is the zebra mussel, one of many invasive species found in various lakes and rivers causing damage to boat motors, steering components, clogging cooling intakes of power plants, and annually creating millions of dollars in damage to recreation, water systems and fisheries. Since last fall, zebra mussels have been found in or near Nebraska in the waters at Offutt Air Force Base and along a dock on the South Dakota side of Lewis & Clark Lake.

Nebraska Public Power District utilizes water in the generation of electricity at Gerald Gentleman Station, the North Platte Hydroelectric Plant, and at Cooper Nuclear Station along the Missouri River. Keeping these aquatic invasive species at bay is important to continuing to provide low cost, reliable electricity.

“Millions of dollars have been spent in other parts of the United States at similar facilities to unclog intake structures of invasive species. We want to keep the sources of water we use free of these invasive species,” NPPD Environmental Manager Joe Citta explained.  “We have been fortunate so far, but we need boaters to be aware of the potential for aquatic hitchhikers.”

Zebra mussels can multiply at a rapid rate with an adult female releasing up to a million eggs in a year, compounding the problem. Earlier this year, the City of Denton, Texas, noticed a thin layer of zebra mussels had taken hold on some intake pipes leading from a reservoir into its water treatment facility. This resulted in a price tag of $500,000 to remove the zebra mussels.

The key to stopping zebra mussels from spreading into Nebraska waters lies in the efforts of boaters, particularly those who may be moving from one body of water to another.

Citta says boaters can take three steps to make a difference in keeping Nebraska waters free from zebra mussels and other invasive species. “They need to clean the boat, drain the boat, and dry the boat,” he said. “If it’s done properly, and systematically, this can be accomplished in only five to 10 minutes.”

NPPD, in conjunction with the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission and the Nebraska Invasive Species Project, asks recreationalists planning to enjoy several days on the state’s waterways to be aware of invasive species. Those organizations urge boaters to take precautions to prevent zebra mussels from hitchhiking from one body of water to another.

The best way for boaters to address the spread of zebra mussels is to check their boats and equipment for these invasive species and remove any visible mud, plants, fish, or animals.

If there is a place for water to collect, there is a chance zebra mussels or other similar invasive species may be transported. Boaters should drain bilges and live wells in their boats, power-wash the boat, motor, and trailer to scour off invisible juvenile mussels. If unable to be drained, use a cup of bleach to kill any live mussels. It is also a good idea to dry the boat for several days before its next use.

For those who may be fishing, do not dump bait into the water. Instead, dispose of bait in the trash, as it can harbor aquatic invaders, too.

Tips for preventing zebra mussels being introduced into Nebraska bodies of water are available through the Nebraska Invasive Species Project at http://neinvasives.com and more information can be found on the Nebraska Game & Parks website, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/conservation/Invasive-Species/index.asp.

Syracuse, Bancroft-Rosalie garner top honors at annual Power Drive Championship competition

May 5, 2015

Columbus, Neb. – With Werner Park as a backdrop, 39 electric-powered vehicles fought off some early rain and windy conditions in the annual Power Drive Championships Saturday.

Eventually the sun broke through towards the end of the competition with Syracuse and Bancroft-Rosalie high schools taking top overall honors in the 2015 competition finals. The event has been held annually since 1998 and is co-sponsored by the Nebraska Public Power District and the Omaha Public Power District. Forty teams from Nebraska and Iowa competed Saturday.

High school students throughout the state build their cars during the school year and test them during spring rallies. In the finals, each car’s performance in endurance, braking, maneuverability, design engineering, as well as documentation supplied by each competing school, determined the championship winners. Points were awarded in each category for teams competing in Advanced and Standard classes, and were combined to tally a final score.

Bancroft-Rosalie (car A20) was the overall winner in the Advanced Class, followed by Elkhorn in second, Wayne third, Bancroft-Rosalie (car A31) in fourth, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kennedy took the fifth spot. Wayne High School took top honors in the Maneuverability category, Elkhorn was first in Design Engineering, and Elkhorn received top honors in Documentation.

In the endurance rally, Raymond Central topped the Advanced Class by completing 47.8 laps in the 60-minute race, followed closely by Bancroft-Rosalie (A20) in second with 47.15 laps, and Bancroft-Rosalie (A31) third with 47.1 laps.

Syracuse was the overall champion in the Standard Class, followed by Cedar Rapids Kennedy in second, Elkhorn in third, Bancroft-Rosalie fourth, and Friend fifth. Syracuse also won the Maneuverability category. Winside received best Design Engineering and Elkhorn was named the winner for Documentation.

In the endurance rally of the Standard Class, Friend led the competition with 42.3 laps completed. Cedar Rapids Kennedy finished second with 40.5 laps to edge out Syracuse which completed 40.1 laps.

Wayne was first in the Exhibition Class endurance rally with 43.3 laps completed, followed by Elkhorn with 40.5 laps, and Raymond Central was third with 30 laps completed. In the Novice Division endurance rally, Dundy County-Stratton finished first with 31.1 laps followed by Winside in second with 28 laps.

The award for Best Pit Crew went to Bancroft-Rosalie (A20), and Howells-Dodge received the award for Best Performance by a First Year Team. Elkhorn High School (car S5) won the Ken Kitchen Best Paint/Finish Award.

Zachary Brandenburg of Raymond Central High School was the recipient of the $1,000 OPPD Power Drive Scholarship and Jordan Masek, also of Raymond Central, was the winner of the $1,000 Paul High Memorial Scholarship.

Saturday’s event marked the completion of this year’s Power Drive program. Previous races were held in Lincoln, Hastings, and West Point this spring.

The following were the top three in each of the various categories:

Standard Class:

  • Maneuverability- 1. Syracuse; 2. Friend; 3. Cedar Rapids Kennedy;
  • Design Engineering- 1. Winside; 2. Syracuse; 3. Cedar Rapids Kennedy;
  • Documentation- 1. Elkhorn 2. Cedar Rapids Kennedy. 3. Stanton

Advanced Class:

  • Maneuverability- 1. Wayne; 2. Deshler; 3. Bancroft-Rosalie (A20);
  • Design Engineering- 1. Elkhorn; 2. Wayne; 3. Beatrice;
  • Documentation- 1. Elkhorn; 2. Wayne; 3. Bancroft-Rosalie (A20).

Farm workers urged to look up, look down, look around for safety hazards working near overhead power lines

May 1, 2015

Columbus, Neb. – Agriculture is a key component of Nebraska’s economy. With planting season on the horizon, Nebraska Public Power District is encouraging farmers – many involved in spring planting at this time – to be particularly alert to the dangers of working near overhead power lines.

“We want all farm workers to look up, look down, look all around before starting work to see where potential contact between farming equipment and electric transmission and distribution lines could occur,” said NPPD Transmission and Distribution Manager Joel Dagerman.

NPPD urges farm workers to review their activities and work practices that take place around any power lines. Everyone who works on the farm should know the location of power lines and keep farm equipment at least 20 feet away from them. The minimum 20 foot distance is a 360-degree rule – below, to the side and above lines.

“It may take a little more time, but ensuring proper clearance can save lives and reduce the possibility of creating a power outage that impacts more than just the farm. Some can create an outage in a local community,“ said Dagerman. “Contact with power lines can have an adverse effect on an individual through the potential of electrocution, but also affected are homes, businesses and industry through the outage.”

Dagerman urged farmers not to raise or move a power line under any situation and to be aware of underground lines before digging and contact the Digger’s Hotline (dial 811) before work begins.

Many farm electrical accidents that involve power line contact happen when loading or preparing to transport equipment to fields, or while performing maintenance or repairs on farm machinery near power lines. It can be difficult to estimate distance and sometimes a power line is closer than it looks. A spotter or someone with a broader view can help.

Safety tips to avoid contact with power lines include:

  • Talk to those working in the area of power lines to make sure everyone is on the same safety page.
  • Use a second person as a spotter when working around power lines.
  • Do not raise the arms of planters, cultivators or truck bed when moving vehicles.
  • Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting larger modern farm machinery.
  • Watch for radio antennas that extend from the cab to fifteen feet above the ground that could make contact with power lines.
  • Be careful not to raise any equipment such as ladders, poles or rods into power lines. –Non-metallic materials such as lumber, tree limbs, tires, ropes and hay will conduct electricity depending on dampness and dust and dirt contamination.
  • Do not try to clear storm-damage debris and limbs near or touching power lines or near fallen lines.

The overhead electric wires are not the only electrical contact that can result in a serious incident. Pole guy wires are grounded to the neutral; but, when one of the guy wires is broken, it can cause an electric current disruption. This can make those neutral wires anything but harmless. If a guy wire is struck with farm equipment and breaks, or when making contact with electrical poles and wires, contact the electric utility in the area.

“It is also important for operators of farm equipment to know what to do if the vehicle comes in contact with a power line,” Dagerman explained. “It is always best to stay in the cab and call for help. Warn others who may be nearby to stay away and wait until the electric utility arrives to make sure power to the line is cut off.”

If the power line is energized and the individual steps outside, they become the path and electrocution can be the result. Even if a power line has landed on the ground, there is still the potential for the area nearby to be energized. Remain inside the vehicle unless there is a fire or imminent risk of fire. In that case, the proper action is to jump – not step – with both feet hitting the ground at the same time. Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Continue to shuffle or hop to safety, keeping both feet together as you leave the area.

Once away from the equipment, never attempt to get back on or even touch the equipment. Many electrocutions occur when the operator dismounts and, thinking nothing has happened, tries to get back on the equipment. Alert the local electric utility that have highly-trained lineman that can assist and return a potentially dangerous situation back to normal.

“Taking a few minutes to start each work day to look up, look down, and look all around will be a great step in keeping our Nebraska farm workers safe and avoid the potential for hazards, as well as eliminating disruption of electric service,” Dagerman emphasized.

NPPD introducing new outage app for retail customers

April 30, 2015

Columbus, Neb. – Reporting power outages just got a lot easier with the introduction of a new mobile outage app.  The app will allow NPPD retail customers to report power outages, check the status of their power outage, and view current power outages on the Storm Center Outage Map.

According to Customer Services Leader Brittney Koenig, “Because the app is tied to NPPD’s outage management system, it allows customers to report outages from their phone or other mobile device, and even check their power status when away from home. Customers can sign up for push notifications, which will alert them to their account being part of a power outage, their power being restored, and also let them know if their estimated time of restoration changes by more than 30 minutes.”

Besides the main benefit of reporting and staying on top of outages, the app provides one-touch access to the customer’s “My Account” login screen allowing them to see their electric consumption, billing history, pay their bill, and sign up for paperless billing.  Other benefits are the ability to view NPPD press releases and blogs, and follow the latest Tweets, Facebook posts, and YouTube videos.

Although the app is designed for retail customers, non-NPPD customers can benefit by downloading the app to view the Storm Center Outage Map so they can view power outages affecting family and friends served directly by NPPD.

NPPD Customers and non-customers can download the free app by accessing either the App Store (for Apple users) or Google Play (for Android users). Follow these steps to download:

  • Access pertinent app store
  • Search for NPPD app using key search terms such as “NPPD,” “NPPD Outages,” “Nebraska Public Power,” or “Nebraska Public Power Outages.” (Please note: you will likely have to tap the “Search” button on your device as entering these search terms may not bring up the app as it is new to the respective markets.)
  • Once search is complete, select the app with the NPPD logo
  • The app description provides helpful information about the app
  • Follow instructions for installation by tapping an “Install” button
  • Downloading will begin
  • Once the download is complete, the app will appear on the device

“Once the app is downloaded to your device, it is a good idea to access the “Alerts” button and register your account(s) to receive notifications for outages,” Koenig states. “This will mean if your account is part of an outage, you are notified, even if you have not reported it.  Although it will be very tempting to want to see what happens when outages are reported, you should refrain unless you truly are experiencing a power outage, as having a line technician dispatched to your location in error may result in a service charge.”

Power Drive teams battle weather during Hastings competition

April 27, 2015

Hastings, Neb. – Student drivers in last Saturday’s Power Drive endurance rally faced competition not only from participating schools, but the weather proved to be a challenge with a damp track combined with cold and windy conditions.

Four different schools captured top honors in the four competition classes during the Hastings Power Drive rally on a one-mile plus course on the roadways at the Motorsports Park at Hastings. Next up will be this Saturday’s Power Drive Championships at Werner Park in LaVista.

Wayne High School won the Advanced Class by covering 28 laps in the 60-minute endurance rally, nipping Bancroft-Rosalie by 27 seconds. A second team from Bancroft-Rosalie finished third with 27 laps completed. In the Standard Class, Syracuse finished first by covering 27 laps with Friend taking second, also covering 27 laps, with Elkhorn taking third with 25 laps.

In the Novice Class, Chase County took top honors with 17 laps completed followed by a second team from Chase County in second completing 10 ¼ laps, followed by Stanton in third with 10 laps completed. In a highly competitive Exhibition Class, Elkhorn and Wayne battled for 60 minutes with both schools completing 28 laps, with Elkhorn edging Wayne for the top spot by 12 seconds. Harvard finished third completing 20 laps.

Werner Park in La Vista will be the site of the 2015 Power Drive Championship. Saturday’s schedule includes check-in and car inspections at 7 a.m. and braking- maneuverability testing at 8 a.m. The first heat of competition is slated to begin at 10 a.m. followed by a second heat at 11:15 and a third at 12:30 p.m. Awards presentation will be at 2 p.m.

In Power Drive, teams compete in a series of endurance rallies, using light electric vehicles. The annual competition is co-sponsored by the Omaha Public Power District and the Nebraska Public Power District. Power Drive gives high school students hands-on experience building a safe, energy-efficient electric vehicle. Teams have designed and built electric-powered vehicles during the school year.

NPPD and the City of McCook plant trees for Arbor Day

April 20, 2015

McCook, Neb. – This Wednesday, April 22, the City of McCook, Nebraska Public Power District, and McCook third grade students will come together to plant trees at Felling Field. The event is hosted by NPPD in celebration of Arbor Day.

Beginning at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, students from McCook Elementary and St. Patrick Elementary School will assist in planting trees, as well as learn the importance of trees and how to be safe around them. Besides helping to plant trees, students will participate by providing music and skits related to Arbor Day. The event is open to the public and will feature a welcome by Mayor of McCook Mike Gonzales.

Rachel Allison, District Forester with the Nebraska Forestry Service, will provide students with information about proper tree planting tips, as well as information on tree and vegetation planting around power lines.

McCook was chosen for the event to plant trees needed at the ball field. Four trees are being donated by NPPD to be planted at Felling Field. “Planting trees at the field, and recognizing Arbor Day, is a positive for the McCook community,” said Mayor Gonzales.” “We appreciate the involvement of the elementary students, as well as NPPD’s help in organizing this effort.”

“Hosting the annual Arbor Day event is a great opportunity to show NPPD’s support for the community of McCook,” said NPPD Account Manager Stan Clouse. “It is a great way to teach customers and school children about NPPD’s vegetation management practices and promote electrical safety and education on the hazards of planting trees near overhead power lines and other electric facilities.”

NPPD is a member in good standing of the Tree Line USA program, which recognizes electric utilities that demonstrate practices which protect and enhance America’s rural and urban trees. NPPD’s membership in the Tree Line USA program, sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation, provides an avenue to help promote the safety and reliability of power lines through public education programs about the proper planting of trees and vegetation.

NPPD was recently recognized by Tree Line USA for the 10th consecutive year for meeting the organization’s standards including training employees in quality tree care and educating the public on tree planting for energy conservation and appropriate planting near tree lines.

NPPD has been recognized over the years for its professional arboriculture practices along power lines. The utility maintains vegetation on more than 5,000 miles of transmission and sub-transmission lines across the state to ensure a reliable electric system. This program protects the public safety for customers, remains compliant with federal regulations, and minimizes the cost of future maintenance. NPPD follows proper tree-trimming guidelines set by the National Arbor Day Foundation, Utility Arborists Association, International Society of Arboriculture, and the Tree Care Industry Association.

Nebraska Public Power District to implement innovative solution, curbs carbon emissions while growing economy

April 17, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District  (NPPD), Nebraska’s largest electric utility, plans to replace an existing coal-fired boiler at its Sheldon Station plant in Hallam, Neb. with one that uses clean-burning hydrogen fuel. The hydrogen will be produced by Monolith Materials as a co-product from its production of carbon black using natural gas as a feedstock. The collaborative undertaking is expected to create good paying jobs at the site and enable NPPD to continue to generate and deliver affordable, reliable and sustainable energy to Nebraskans.

To obtain this new hydrogen fuel source in Nebraska, NPPD is working with Monolith Materials – a manufacturing company that produces hydrogen as a byproduct in its production of cleanly made carbon black.  When burned, the hydrogen fuel produces zero greenhouse gas emissions. Through this agreement, NPPD is expected to reduce CO2 emissions at Sheldon Station by 1.1 million tons per year.  The Sheldon Station boiler using hydrogen as a fuel will continue to be capable of generating 125 megawatts of electricity for NPPD’s customers. The boiler conversion is also expected to result in a dramatic reduction in other types of air emissions, as well as aide in NPPD’s maintaining service as a low-cost energy producer for Nebraskans.

“We are embarking on a new chapter in the history of Sheldon Station and electric generation in Nebraska with the decision by Monolith Materials to locate in Nebraska,” said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope. “Sheldon Station has always been a place of firsts – the first nuclear plant in Nebraska and now the first utility scale hydrogen powered generator. We are very proud of this facility and the people who work here.”

The addition of hydrogen as a fuel source will further NPPD’s diverse generation portfolio and will bring its carbon-free energy sources closer to 50 percent, while reducing air emissions from Unit 2 at Sheldon to close to zero.

“This is an example of the next-generation of American innovation and energy production that will also have a positive economic impact in Nebraska, and deliver clean and affordable energy to the state. This private business-led solution has the potential to support 600 new jobs and hundreds of millions of new capital investment in the state of Nebraska,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.

Monolith Materials will use a safe, patented and environmentally friendly process to manufacture carbon black, a common material found in thousands of products Americans use every day including tires, rubber and plastics, printing inks, and batteries. Monolith uses natural gas as feedstock in its process instead of oil or coal-tar as in the conventional process. A co-product of its manufacturing process is plentiful hydrogen, which NPPD intends to use to generate electric energy.

Monolith will build its new manufacturing facility adjacent to Sheldon Station so NPPD can easily access the hydrogen. Monolith will power its new manufacturing facility with electricity from Norris Public Power District, headquartered in Beatrice, Neb.

“Americans care about the quality of their air and water, and the sustainability of their everyday household products and energy use,” said Robert Hanson, Monolith’s co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer. “Together, Monolith and NPPD are helping reduce pollution, while still adding jobs and maintaining energy production. Additionally, Monolith plans to bring a cleaner process to a carbon black plant for the first time in the United States, which will help our country grow this important industry and expand America’s manufacturing economy.”

This initiative is not dependent on federal government grants or loan guarantees. Instead, innovative technology, affordable electricity and the country’s vast supply of low cost natural gas allows for the production of products at market competitive prices.

“This is the first large-scale utility operation to generate electricity through the use of hydrogen and something in which NPPD takes pride in having the opportunity to lead the way,” added Pope.

The companies expect to break-ground on their respective operations in 2016, with an expected completion date of 2019.

For more information, view www.nppd.com.


ABOUT NPPD

NPPD’s mission is to safely generate and deliver reliable, low-cost, sustainable energy and provide outstanding customer service. Working in partnership with the state’s rural public power districts, cooperatives and municipalities, NPPD helps serve an estimated 600,000 Nebraskans in 86 of the state’s 93 counties with retail or wholesale electric power and energy-related products and services.

ABOUT MONOLITH

Monolith develops innovative, cost effective, and environmentally sustainable technologies that convert natural gas into chemicals and materials for customers around the world. Monolith’s proprietary process, which utilizes natural gas instead of oil or coal tar as a feedstock, is more efficient as well as significantly more environmentally friendly than alternative methods of production.

Monolith is backed by KERN Partners, a leading energy sector private equity firm, and First Green Partners, a leading investment company focused on industrial technologies in energy, agriculture, and materials. Monolith is headquartered in Redwood City, California.

ABOUT NORRIS PUBLIC POWER DISTRICT

Norris Public Power District is a public corporation and a political subdivision of the State of Nebraska providing electric power to approximately 18,650 customers in a five-county area of southeastern Nebraska consisting of Gage, Jefferson, Lancaster, Saline and Thayer counties.  The District’s electric system includes 5,061 miles of subtransmission and distribution lines.

Four schools take top honors at Big Red Invitational; Drive Safe Challenge this Saturday in Grand Island

April 13, 2015

Lincoln, Neb. – Thirty high school teams traversed the track at the University of Nebraska’s Tractor Testing Facility Saturday seeking to take top honors in the Big Red Invitational, the second round of the Power Drive competition. The weekend rally saw an unusually large crowd that took in the two races under sunny skies.

Four racing categories delivered four different schools taking home top honors.

In the Advanced Class, Elkhorn was able to get in 74 laps in their electric vehicle to best Wayne which completed 72 laps. Bancroft-Rosalie took third, also with 72 laps completed but 1:40 behind Wayne.

Syracuse topped the field in the Standard Class by completing 64 laps to Elkhorn’s 58 laps. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kennedy completed 58 laps, but trailed Elkhorn by 11 seconds.

In the Exhibition Class, Wayne took a narrow win by covering 64 laps in one hour with Elkhorn taking second with 63. Winside won the Novice Class by touring the Tractor Test Facility track 57 times, topping the Dundy County-Stratton team that posted 55 laps.

Best Pit Crew honors went to Syracuse.

The next Power Drive competition moves to central Nebraska with the Drive Safe Challenge to be contested at the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center in Grand Island. Competition starts at 11:30 a.m. with the awards presentation at approximately 2 p.m.

In Power Drive, teams compete in a series of endurance rallies, using light electric vehicles. The annual competition is co-sponsored by the Omaha Public Power District and the Nebraska Public Power District. The series will culminate at Werner Park in LaVista where the Power Drive Championships will be held Saturday, May 2.

Power Drive gives high school students hands-on experience building a safe, energy-efficient electric vehicle. Teams have designed and built electric-powered vehicles during the school year.

Electric bill phone scam continues in state; NPPD warns customers not to fall for demands

April 7, 2015

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District officials are keeping a watchful eye on continued attempts by individuals contacting utility customers and businesses demanding that they pay their electric bill or face shutoff within 20 minutes.

On Monday, NPPD reported that the phone scam was occurring in Norfolk and based upon past history, other communities across the state could be targeted within the next few weeks. “Once the public recognizes the ploy, the scammers will take advantage of another community in the state. We expect similar calls may begin occurring in some of our retail communities such as Kearney and Scottsbluff, but this deceitful scheme may not be isolated to just larger communities,” said NPPD’s Customer Care Business Manager Robyn Tweedy.

The Ruse

The individuals, posing as representatives of the power company, will tell the customer that they are overdue on their electric bill and must pay up within 20 minutes or be disconnected. They are then instructed to purchase pre-paid cards in order to make immediate payment.

Tweedy said that several local businesses in the Norfolk area were unfortunate victims of the deception with the calls coming at busy times of the company’s operation

NPPD’s Practice

“NPPD does not do business this way,” said Tweedy. “If a customer is overdue on their electric bill and subject to disconnection, it will be printed on their monthly bill with instructions on what they can do to settle the account. They should call the number printed on the bill, not the phone number of the individual making the phone request.”

The malicious practice is not affecting NPPD alone. It has happened in other states with other utilities, and has occurred in Nebraska several times in the past, as recently as last year. If an individual or business not served by NPPD receives a call demanding payment on their electric bill, they are encouraged to contact their local electric provider to check on their account before making any attempt to pay.

Any customers that receive such a call should not attempt to make a payment and contact local law enforcement and NPPD’s Centralized Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773) to report the request.