Nebraska Public Power District » News Always there when you need us Fri, 06 Jan 2012 14:45:42 +0000 en hourlys 1 Oklahoma earthquakes leads to “Unusual Event” declared at NPPD’s Cooper Nuclear Station Brownville, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District's (NPPD) Cooper Nuclear Station declared an “Unusual Event” today at 7:10 a.m. as a result of this morning's earthquake in Oklahoma. Minor tremors were felt at the plant which required plant operators to declare the event. There is no threat to the public or plant personnel, and the station continues to operate safely. Per procedure, station personnel have increased monitoring of plant equipment. No damage to the plant or equipment has been noted. The plant’s Emergency Plan is being followed and appropriate local, county, state, and federal agencies have been notified. "All nuclear power plants are designed to withstand the historically worst-case scenarios for the regions where they are built," said CNS Emergency Preparedness Manager Jim Stough. "Cooper Nuclear Station was designed and built to withstand earthquakes of this magnitude, and our team members are highly trained to respond to an array of events, including earthquakes. Our personnel and the plant's monitoring and safety systems all responded exactly as intended." An "Unusual Event" is defined as unusual events, minor in nature, which have occurred or are in progress which indicate a potential degradation in the level of station safety. If placed on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being the least serious level of an emergency and 4 being the most serious level of an emergency, an Unusual Event would equal a 1. County or state officials will inform the public if conditions were to change and any protective actions become necessary via radio stations associated with the Emergency Alert System (EAS), such as KFAB, Omaha, 1110 AM, and KFEQ, St. Joseph, Missouri, 680 AM. Cooper Nuclear Station is located three miles southeast of Brownville near the Missouri River. It is owned and operated by the Nebraska Public Power District, with headquarters in Columbus.]]> Tue, 06 Sep 2016 14:15:57 +0000 NPPD closing roadway at Lake Maloney dam to vehicles North Platte, Neb. – The safety of walkers, bicyclists and fishing enthusiasts is the primary reason, Nebraska Public Power District will permanently close the gravel roadway that runs along the north front of the Lake Maloney Dam to public traffic. Work will begin Monday, July 18, with the installation of gates designed to prevent public motor vehicles access to the roadway. “The roadway below the dam has received extensive damage due to the high volume of rain the area has received,” said Chuck Troia, manager of water systems and renewable energy for NPPD,. “Parts of the road and shoulder were under water, and several individuals used the location to conduct off road mud trailing, resulting in even more damage to the roadway and shoulder area.” The roadway was constructed years ago for the purpose of allowing NPPD maintenance vehicles to gain access to the dam. Troia added, “Many people use it as a short cut to get from one side of the lake to the other, sometimes at high speed, and it was not designed for that purpose. That becomes a safety issue for the District.” Troia pointed out the gravel roadway is used by individuals who live around the lake and who like to camp, walk, or to ride bicycles. Fishermen also utilize the dam. “We don’t want to have vehicles going through at high speeds attempting to do mud trailing and damage the road. More importantly, we don’t want any member of the public hurt. Safety is our priority here. We want to eliminate the risk of any pedestrian or cyclist being hit by a vehicle. Closing the road to such uses eliminates the risk,” he said. Troia pointed out that NPPD will be putting up a gate that will block access by motor vehicles onto the gravel roadway. Reflective material will also be placed on and around the gates for safety purposes at night. There will be a gate available to allow access for walkers and cyclists. NPPD vehicles will be able to access the gravel road to conduct maintenance work. There will be some parking spots developed and turn arounds will be developed at each end of the road for public use Troia noted while there will no longer be public access to the road, the paved county road (West Lake Road), to the north side of the dam, will allow for traffic to get from one side of the lake to the other.]]> Thu, 14 Jul 2016 18:02:01 +0000 Open Range Beef gets incentivized by NPPD Gordon, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District presented an EnergyWiseSM  incentive check through its Industrial Process Incentive program Thursday to Open Range Beef of Gordon, Neb., following a review and implementation of the company’s efforts to become more energy efficient. NPPD Account Manager Terry Rajewich presented a check in the amount of $10,802 to Jill Noetzelman  of Open Range Beef, following a review and implementation of improved efficiency of the company’s compressed air system used in its operations. NPPD estimated that Open Range Beef would have a reduction of 154,313 kilowatt hours of electricity in their operation with a new system that has been installed and is in operation. Helping customers find ways to use energy wisely is a key component of NPPD’s business strategy. “In addition to helping customers save money and being the right thing to do, energy efficiency and conservation is an important aspect of NPPD’s business,” said Rajewich. “NPPD is pleased to partner with Open Range Beef on this energy efficiency initiative, and we’re very excited at the success they’ve achieved in reducing energy usage now and in the future. We hope this success will motivate other customers to follow the same path.” In an industrial plant energy efficiency improvement projects often are unique and do not fit a prescriptive program. Each manufacturing plant has certain characteristics that can require an individual approach to projects. For this reason, NPPD developed the Industrial Process Incentive to assist in improving the energy efficiency of manufacturing plants. For more information on this program and other energy efficiency opportunities and details, go to]]> Thu, 09 Jun 2016 19:30:03 +0000 Media Advisory Fri, 03 Jun 2016 18:14:52 +0000 Don’t move a mussel! NPPD encourages boaters to clean, drain, and dry their boats Columbus, Neb. – Don’t move a mussel! That’s the message Nebraska Public Power District is sending to recreational boaters and fishermen to help prevent the spread of the invasive zebra mussels into lakes and waterways of Nebraska. Moving a mussel can result in problems for both the body of water and its uses for utilities and recreational activities. The zebra mussel is one of many invasive species that has clogged cooling intake structures of power plants and other utilities along the Great Lakes as well as inflicting millions of dollars in damage to recreation, water systems and fisheries. Over the past few years, zebra mussels have been found in or near Nebraska waters, most recently in 2015 at Lewis & Clark Lake along the Nebraska-South Dakota border. Why is this important to NPPD?  The District utilizes water in the generation of electricity at several locations including Gerald Gentleman Station by Sutherland Reservoir, at the North Platte Hydroelectric Plant, and at Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville along the Missouri River. Keeping these aquatic invasive species at bay and preventing clogging of intake lines is the better way to provide low cost, reliable electricity rather than spending ratepayers’ money to control the species. “We have been fortunate over the past few years that we have not been impacted at any of our power plants, but we need boaters to be aware of the potential of unknowingly transporting aquatic hitchhikers,” NPPD Environmental Manager Joe Citta explained. Citta says boaters should follow 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 a short amount of time.” The Nebraska Invasive Species Program recommends the following:
  • Clean after boating and before leaving the launch to remove all visible plants, animals, fish and mud from the boat, trailer or other equipment and dispose of the debris in a suitable trash container or on dry land. Power washing the boat and trailer is another option.
  • Drain after boating and before leaving the launch by draining water from the bilge, live wells, ballast tanks and any other equipment holding water. If draining water not an option, using a cup of diluted bleach will kill off the zebra mussel.
  • Dry your boat, trailer, and all equipment completely before arriving at the next launch ramp to go boating or fishing.
Tips for preventing zebra mussels being introduced into Nebraska bodies of water are available through the Nebraska Invasive Species Program at]]>
Mon, 23 May 2016 16:30:43 +0000
Arbor Day coming early to Kearney City, NPPD, students will plant trees at Horizon Middle School Kearney, Neb. – Arbor Day is going to come about 24 hours early in Kearney. While Arbor Day is observed this Friday, the City of Kearney, Nebraska Public Power District, along with elementary and middle school students will be involved in an Arbor Day event this Thursday, April 28 at Horizon Middle School. Beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday, students from Park Elementary School and Horizon Middle School will assist in planting trees, as well as learning the importance of trees and how to be safe around them. Besides helping to plant trees, students will participate by providing posters and skits related to Arbor Day. The event will be open to the public with a welcome from Kearney city officials. Alan Roesler, City of Kearney Forester, and Scott DeWald, 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. Kearney was chosen for the 2016 event to plant trees needed at the Horizon Middle School. Four trees are being donated by NPPD to be planted at the school. “Planting trees at the school, and recognizing Arbor Day, is a positive partnership for the Kearney community,” said Roesler. “We appreciate the involvement of all the students participating, as well as NPPD’s help in organizing this event.” “Hosting the annual Arbor Day event is a great opportunity to show NPPD’s support for the Kearney community,” said NPPD Account Manager Stan Clouse. “It is a great way to explain and teach customers and school children about NPPD’s vegetation management practices and promote electrical safety and education of 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 11th 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 power 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.]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 15:13:51 +0000 NPPD line techs showcase skills, place third at industry rodeo Columbus, NE – There are no barrels or bulls, and instead of chaps and cowboy boots, contestants wear hooks, harnesses, and hard hats. But for the Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD), the 15th annual American Public Power Association Lineworker’s Rodeo was a chance to  test the utility’s journeymen and apprentices against their peers and earn a third place finish. Held April 1-2 in Minneapolis, MN, the rodeo was the largest in the event’s history, drawing 130 apprentice line technicians and 63 teams representing public power utilities throughout the U.S. At the rodeo, lineworkers compete for professional recognition in various events, attend training classes and practice essential skills in a safe environment. Members of NPPD’s journeymen team were Brian Caba (Plattsmouth), Jared Rojewski (Aurora), Bryce Stoltenberg (Scottsbluff), and Lee Conroy (Ainsworth). Apprentice team members were Tyler Brown (Loup City) and Taylor Sudbeck (Norfolk).  Todd Keller (Bassett) and Trevor Roth (York) judged two of the contests. “Having guys from different departments and parts of the state is part of our success,” said Caba. “The work is the same but everyone has their own way of doing things. We take ideas and work practices from each and blend it all into one plan. And then work that plan.” The team practiced together only nine days over the course of a few months before competing against teams who work together every day and some who go to the rodeo every year. Yet, NPPD’s team practice paid off. The journeyman team earned a third place trophy in the jumper replacement competition and took home a sixth place overall, missing fifth place, by 21 seconds.  NPPD’s apprentices placed eighth and 16th overall. According to Roth, the journeyman jumper replacement event tests communications between the climbers and the groundmen. Effective communications allow them to compete the job in a safer and shorter duration. The event also tests such skillsets as climbing, decision making and trust among crew members to complete the task. Other rodeo events included hurtman rescue, pole top pin insulator change out, fused cutout relocation, transformer change out, crossarm change out, and an obstacle course. In addition to showcasing the pride they have in their work, team members gain personally and professionally from their participation. “Participating in the rodeo gives me the opportunity to learn from other lineman,” said Conroy.  “If I see someone doing something successfully or using a piece of equipment that works well, I can share that with my colleagues at NPPD.  It also gives me the opportunity to network with my colleagues from across the state to discuss what their work groups are doing to make NPPD successful.” Nebraska’s public power utilities will hold their own rodeo on Aug. 27, 2016, at the Nebraska State Fair. To view a video about APPA’s 2016 Lineworker’s Rodeo, visit:]]> Tue, 12 Apr 2016 18:54:25 +0000 NPPD observing Lineworker Appreciation Day April 11 Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District joins other electric utilities and residents across Nebraska in recognizing Monday, April 11 as Lineworker Appreciation Day. This day of recognition allows Nebraskans to take a moment to honor the men and women who work each day to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of electricity throughout the state. “We often take for granted the quality of life that reliable and affordable electricity provides us,” said NPPD Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Kent. “Each day more than 1,300 lineworkers in Nebraska ensure electricity is there for all citizens of the state around the clock. Lineworker Appreciation Day is a day to share our gratitude and honor their dedication and skill.” Nebraska’s electricity is generated by power plants connected to a complex electrical grid consisting of more than 6,000 miles of transmission and 100,000 miles of sub-transmission and distribution lines that deliver energy to homes, businesses, hospitals, churches and schools throughout the state. Nebraska’s lineworkers maintain and repair this vast electric infrastructure, at times during inclement weather such as blizzards, thunderstorms, floods or other hazards. “When most Nebraskans are taking shelter from storms, Nebraska’s lineworkers are called upon to head out into storms to ensure the reliability of the state’s electrical grid,” said NPPD Transmission and Distribution Manager Joel Dagerman. “Our crews understand the conditions they must deal with in keeping the lights on, and they do it safely and as quickly as possible.” To participate in honoring lineworkers and their families use the hashtag #ThankALineworker in social media. If you see a lineworker, take a moment to thank them for all they do to keep the lights on, ensuring and enhancing the quality of life for all Nebraskans.]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 19:04:43 +0000 Stay away from downed power lines following a storm Lines could be energized; let trained crews respond Columbus, Neb. – It’s that time of year. With Nebraska Severe Weather Week (March 21-25) approaching, it is important for the public to understand what to do if faced with downed power lines and potential power outages. “We do our best to avoid interruptions to electric service for our retail and wholesale customers we serve,” explained Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD Transmission and Distribution Manager Joel Dagerman. “They can be devastating to property and take down power lines, creating a dangerous situation for the public, including line crews working to get power restored.” Restoration depends on the extent of a storm’s destruction, the number of customers impacted, and how safe it is for utility personnel to access damaged areas. Crews may have to clear downed power lines, repair transmission and distribution lines, and substations, and ensure public health and safety facilities are operational. “Let downed power lines remain where they are,” explained Dagerman. “The public cannot assume that, just because a power line is damaged or on the ground, it is not live. Every downed power line is potentially energized and dangerous until utility crews arrive on the scene to ensure power has been cut off. Downed power lines, stray wires, and debris in contact with them all have the potential to deliver a fatal shock. “If you do come in contact with a downed power line, do not leave the car. Wait for utility and emergency professionals to make sure the power line is de-energized before exiting the car,” he said. Other storm safety tips and considerations include
  • Turn off electrical appliances and unplug major electronics, including computers and televisions. Power sometimes comes back in surges, which can damage electronics. Leave one light on to indicate that power has been restored, then wait a few minutes and begin turning other electronics on.
  • Never enter a flooded basement if electrical outlets are submerged. The water could be energized. Do not turn power off, if you must stand in water to do so. Call your electric utility, and have them turn off power at the meter.
  • Before entering storm-damaged buildings, make sure electricity and gas are turned off.
  • Download NPPD’s mobile app to report an outage, view outage areas, and catch the latest news on storm restoration activities by NPPD.
Visit for a complete list of tips.]]>
Fri, 18 Mar 2016 15:01:08 +0000
NPPD inspections on wood poles used on its system begins Monday, March 7 Columbus, Neb. - Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) will begin inspecting wood poles on its distribution, sub-transmission and transmission facilities beginning Monday, March 7. NPPD has contracted with Osmose Utilities Services, Inc. to inspect wood poles during the calendar year 2016.  Osmose crews will continue these inspections through June 1. This process involves ground line excavation, inspection and rehabilitation treatment. Crews will be dressed in high visibility vests that identify “Osmose” on them. The crews will be traveling from pole to pole in a utility task vehicle (UTV). Inspections will be focused on the Kearney and Scottsbluff areas and along various transmission lines across the state. Public questions related to the inspections should be directed to 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773). A customer service representative will then contact the necessary NPPD personnel to address any concerns or issues.]]> Fri, 04 Mar 2016 20:46:26 +0000 Kearney High School, NPPD team up for the “Nothing But Net” robotics competition Kearney, Neb. – There will be nothing but net this Saturday at Sunrise Middle School. No, it’s not a basketball game filled with the swish sound of a basketball going cleanly through the rim, but instead, robots will be front and center shooting for nothing but net. Beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Kearney’s Sunrise Middle School (4611 Ave. N), 32 teams of student robotic enthusiasts will compete in the Kearney VEX Robotics Competition, with the theme this year being “Nothing But Net.” The competition is expected to run into the afternoon, with the finals tentatively scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by Kearney High School and the Nebraska Public Power District, and is open to the public with no admission fee. Awards will be given to teams in various categories including the tournament champion, tournament finalist, and special awards for excellence, programming skills, robot skills, design, and sportsmanship. A total of 32 teams, made up of middle and high school students representing nine different schools, are expected to participate. Participating schools and teams registered include Ravenna Public Schools; Crete High School; Thomas Jefferson High School from Council Bluffs, Iowa; Cross County Schools; Ogallala High School; Axtell Community School; Lakeview High School; Holdrege Schools; and Kearney High School. NPPD’s involvement with the robotics competition is through its Outreach Programs focusing on engineering, a major function for the District. “The students involved in the robotics competition have a great time while building amazing robots, and this program focuses on students learning and understanding the engineering, technical and programming and skills needed in building a robot,: explained NPPD Outreach Programs Specialist Kim Liebig.  “These students develop teamwork skills, leadership and sportsmanship – all of which are key competencies NPPD utilizes in the workplace on a day-to-day basis.” VEX Robotics competition “Nothing But Net” is played on a 12’x12’ square field with two alliances – one “red” and one “blue” – competing in matches consisting of a fifteen second autonomous period followed by one minute and forty-five seconds of driver-controlled play. Students utilize the robots they have engineered and constructed to place balls into nets within set time constraints, recording points for high or low goals ranging from one to 50 points. The winning team from the Kearney competition and the Excellence Award winner qualify for the Nebraska State Championship to be held in Omaha this February, and the U.S. Open Championship to be held at the Mid America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in April. The Design Award winner will qualify for the Nebraska State Championship. Winners from the Nebraska State and U.S. Open Championships will qualify for the World Championships to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, in April.]]> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 19:59:54 +0000 Electric bill payment scam crossing the state again NPPD warns customers to not fall for demands Columbus, Neb. – The scam is back and working its way across the state of Nebraska in a number of communities. This phone scammer contacts business owners and residents and falsely threatens their electricity will be shut off if they do not pay their electric bill immediately with a pre-paid “Greendot” card. The ruse Individuals, posing as representatives of the local power company – in this case, the Nebraska Public Power District – tell the customer 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. A number of businesses in Kearney, Ogallala and Norfolk, and some communities served by rural public power districts, have been contacted by phone through this deceptive practice since late last week and the activity has increased, with the calls demanding payment coming at busy times of a company’s operation. NPPD’s practice “NPPD does not do business this way,” said NPPD’s Customer Care Business Manager Robyn 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.” Customers who receive such a call should not attempt to make any payment. Instead contact local law enforcement and NPPD’s Centralized Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773) to report the request and provide the call-back number. 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. The malicious practice has affected many utilities, in addition to NPPD. It has also happened in other states, and has occurred as recently as last fall in Nebraska. 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. This deceitful scheme may not be isolated to just larger communities,” said Tweedy. “We expect similar calls may begin occurring in some other Nebraska towns, including towns served by NPPD.”]]> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 16:53:31 +0000 Helicopter work to begin this week on Hoskins to Neligh transmission line project Mon, 18 Jan 2016 18:57:34 +0000 NPPD to issue up to $300 million in bonds January 26 Columbus, Neb. – The Nebraska Public Power District plans to issue approximately $300 million of fixed-rate, tax-exempt bonds beginning Tuesday, January 26. The bond sale will include an order period for retail and institutional investors. Proceeds from the bond sale will be used to refund a portion of the outstanding General Revenue Bonds and a portion of the Commercial Paper Notes. The proceeds will also be used to pay financing costs. It is currently anticipated that the bonds will be issued in $5,000 denominations or any integral multiple thereof. NPPD has selected Goldman, Sachs & Co. as its senior bond underwriter. Other underwriting firms include Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo Bank, National Association, Ameritas Investment Corp., D.A. Davidson & Co., Piper Jaffray & Co., RBC Capital Markets, and US Bancorp. The bonds will be repaid over a 25-year period. Individuals interested in purchasing the bonds should contact their broker or financial advisor. NPPD’s Preliminary Official Statement NPPD’s Preliminary Official Statement and the information contained therein is subject to completion, amendment or other change without any notice. The bonds described therein may not be sold, nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the Official Statement is delivered in final form. Under no circumstances shall the Preliminary Official Statement constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of any offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these bonds in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the applicable securities laws of any such jurisdiction. A Preliminary Official Statement is available for review at]]> Fri, 15 Jan 2016 18:26:55 +0000 York’s Ken Kunze elected NPPD Board chairman for 2016 Columbus, Neb. - The Nebraska Public Power District Board of Directors Thursday elected Ken Kunze of York as its chairman for 2016. Also elected were Larry Linstrom of North Platte as first vice chairman, Tom Hoff of Broken Bow as second vice chairman, and Jerry Chlopek of Columbus as secretary. Kunze began his first term of office on the NPPD Board of Directors in 2009 and was re-elected to a second term that began in 2015. Previously, Kunze served as first vice chairman in 2014 and 2015, and was the nuclear committee chairman during 2013 and 2014. “Public power is an essential ingredient to the economic strength of Nebraska,” said Kunze. “I am committed to working with our customers and other stakeholders to keep public power strong in Nebraska.  At different times, we will individually, and sometimes collectively, have to ‘step up to the plate’ to make it work for our mutual benefit.” A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Kearney, Kunze has owned a real estate company in York for more than 36 years. He served as York’s mayor from 1988 to 1996 and as president of the Nebraska League of Municipalities in 1995. Kunze was a board member of the Nebraska Power Review Board from 2000 to 2008. He represents Subdivision 7, which consists of York, Polk, Nance, Merrick, Hamilton, Adams and Clay counties. The Board of Directors also elected NPPD Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Traci Bender as treasurer, re-appointed Donna Starzec assistant treasurer and Christine Pillen deputy assistant treasurer. Jan Modelski was re-appointed as assistant secretary and Sandra Keefover as deputy assistant secretary. All are from Columbus.   Editor’s Note: Photos of the Board members are downloadable for the media on NPPD’s website at]]> Thu, 14 Jan 2016 17:36:11 +0000 Lakeview High School, NPPD hosting first annual competition “Nothing But Net” robotics competition set for Saturday Columbus, Neb. – The phrase “nothing but net” can be closely associated with the game of basketball. But this Saturday there will be no Dick Vitale screaming those words at Lakeview High School as a basketball drops through the net without touching the rim. Instead, Lakeview will be the scene of the First Annual Lakeview VEX Robotics Competition, with the theme this year being “Nothing But Net.” This event, which is contested not only nationally but at the international level, begins at 10:30 a.m. and is expected to run until 5 p.m. The event is co-sponsored by Lakeview High School and the Nebraska Public Power District, and open to the public with no admission fee. Awards will be given to teams in various categories including the tournament champion, tournament finalist, and special awards for excellence, programming skills, robot skills, design, and sportsmanship. A total of 32 teams, made up of middle and high school students representing ten schools and organizations, are expected to participate. Participating schools and teams registered include Brownell-Talbott, Omaha North, Gross Catholic, Cross County, National Robotics Academy, Millard South, Millard West, Lakeview, Centennial, and Kearney. Teams also have unique names ranging from ‘Organized Chaos’ to ‘Dream Crushers.’ NPPD is involved in the program through its Outreach Programs related to engineering, a major function for the District. “In addition to just having a great time and building amazing robots, this program helps students learn and understand the engineering, technical and programming and skills needed in building a robot.  Students develop teamwork skills, leadership and sportsmanship – all of which are key competencies NPPD utilizes in the workplace on a day-to-day basis,” explained NPPD Outreach Programs Specialist Kim Liebig. VEX Robotics competition “Nothing But Net” is played on a 12’x12’ square field with two alliances – one “red” and one “blue” – competing in matches consisting of a fifteen second autonomous period followed by one minute and forty-five seconds of driver-controlled play. Students utilize the robots they have engineered and constructed to place balls into nets within the time constraints, recording points for high or low goals ranging from one to 50 points. The winning team from the Lakeview competition and the Excellence Award winner qualify for the Nebraska State Championship to be held in Omaha this February, and the U.S. Open Championship to be held at the Mid America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in April. The Design Award winner will qualify for the Nebraska State Championship. Winners from the Nebraska State and U.S. Open Championships will qualify for the World Championships to be held in Louisville, Ky. in April.]]> Wed, 06 Jan 2016 19:12:32 +0000 Customers sign new NPPD power supply contract Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District is preparing to begin 2016 with new power supply contracts in place with a majority of its wholesale customers. “We are nearing the end of the contract renewal process,” said President and CEO Pat Pope. “We are pleased with the support received from customers who have signed new agreements with us, and while we continue discussing options with a few customers, we are excited to begin the new year with a renewed commitment to providing reliable and affordable electricity over the long-term.” Pope reported, as of today, NPPD has renewed agreements with customers representing approximately 92 percent of its total annual wholesale revenue. The new agreement, which takes effect January 1, 2016, provides customers access to long-term, cost-based electricity over the next 20 years. The contract includes a financial performance standard incenting NPPD to maintain rates in the best quartile of a nationwide benchmark for the duration of the contract. “We know of no other wholesale supply agreement in the country with this type of financial provision and commitment to future rates,” said Pope. “Through these contract renewals, customers have put their trust in NPPD and public power.” Another new provision available in the new contract is the ability for a wholesale customer to add up to 10 percent of local renewable energy. “When it comes to power supply options, we understand our customers want choices,” said Pope. “With our customers, we serve more than 600,000 Nebraskans statewide with energy produced by a diverse generation resource mix. In fact, nearly 60 percent of the energy provided to Nebraska electric customers from NPPD is carbon-free, which significantly betters both regional and state averages. Under the new agreements, customers now have even further options to invest in their own, local renewable generating portfolio if they so desire.” Customers who do not renew an agreement are expected to receive full or partial power supply from NPPD through 2021. NPPD anticipates electric load lost due to customers leaving will be replaced with new loads such as Monolith Materials, a company with plans to bring a new industry to Nebraska in the near future. For a complete listing of wholesale customers who have signed a new agreement, click here.]]> Thu, 31 Dec 2015 18:24:40 +0000 Monarch butterfly population to get boost from seeding project at Beatrice Power Station Beatrice, Neb. – An iconic insect on the decline in Nebraska will be getting an opportunity to grow. A 50 acre tract of land near Beatrice, owned by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), will become a new breeding ground for the Monarch butterfly. NPPD and the Save Our Monarchs Foundation have joined together in an effort to provide a viable location to encourage the growth of the Monarch butterfly and other invertebrates. NPPD has signed an agreement with the Foundation to utilize approximately 50 acres of unused land west of its Beatrice Power Station to seed for milkweeds and other native flowering plants in an effort to help the Monarch butterfly population grow. NPPD Board member Mary Harding was first approached about the possibility of utilizing any available NPPD land. “This is a worthwhile environmental project that will help the Monarch population in Nebraska into the future,” she explained. “This is a great project for NPPD to be involved with the Save Our Monarch Foundation and is a great opportunity to help replenish a population that has been declining in the state and throughout the country.” NPPD initially worked with the Foundation to find a location that would be suitable and provide a large enough area to develop a new habitat  “In many of our locations where we have a power plant we also have land that is not being used and acts as a buffer area,” said  Rocky Plettner, environmental specialist for NPPD. The District looked at numerous locations and decided on a former sandpit area along the Big Blue River west of the Beatrice Power Station. “Nebraska sits in the heart of the Monarch butterfly flyway, and is a significant reproductive and migratory area for these iconic insects. Monarchs and other pollinators play a powerful role in the cycle of life that sustains us, while healthy, balanced ecosystems of native plants provide vital benefits to Nebraskans, from the clean water we drink to the clean air we breathe,” said Program Director for the Save Our Monarchs Foundation, Randall Gilbert. “Finding available land from a public entity where we could plant the necessary seeds for milkweed and other pollinator plants was our program’s goal, and the willingness of NPPD to assist us is invaluable to our organization. Actions like these will help make a significant impact on the recovery of the Monarch butterfly population.” Monarch butterflies made headline news in 2014 when the numbers of them hibernating in Mexico plunged to the lowest level since record-keeping began, down 90 percent since 1996. One of the primary causes of this decline is the loss of milkweed (the Monarch caterpillar’s only source of sustenance), which is disappearing across the country, with over one million acres of habitat lost since 2008 in Nebraska alone. After hibernating in Mexico, the Monarchs begin their long journey north in February or March. In the spring, this same generation of Monarchs will settle in the Monarch flyway, which includes Nebraska. These butterflies will reproduce, laying their eggs only on milkweed, and create subsequent generations that will return to Mexico in the fall. There are up to five successive generations of Monarchs born before the migration begins. It is still unknown how the Monarchs find their way back to Mexico each year, and their migration remains one of Earth’s great animal mysteries. The Save Our Monarchs Foundation assessed different parcels of land owned or controlled by NPPD in several distinct ecosystems throughout the state. The Beatrice location will be the first site of intensive, high-density seeding of native milkweed and pollinator plants under this project created to serve as an example of the habitat restorations that other right-of-way and public landholders in Nebraska could undertake. Initial seeding will begin this Friday and Saturday, weather permitting. Research findings from the monitoring of this and subsequent NPPD restoration sites will be compiled in order to share the methods, means, economic considerations and environmental benefits of this project with other land owners and state agencies, with the goal of inspiring similar restoration efforts. (Note to Editors: Representatives from NPPD and the Save Our Monarchs Foundation will be at the seeding site this Friday at 11 a.m. The location  is located off Highway 77 going towards Beatrice, just to the south the of the Homestead Plaza Truck Stop and approximately 3.6 miles west on Hackberry Road. You cannot gain entry to the location from the Beatrice Power Station entrance.)]]> Wed, 16 Dec 2015 20:44:31 +0000 NPPD retail customers will see no rate increase in 2016 New service options, cost cuts, and process efficiencies are responsible Columbus, Neb.- Retail electric customers of Nebraska Public Power District received good news today. In 2016 there will be no overall retail rate increase for residential and business customers of the District. NPPD’s Board of Directors approved the 2016 Retail Rate Schedule which did not include any overall retail rate increase, marking the third year in a row rates have not increased. Customer usage can vary which determines the amount due, but there will be no rate change for customers as a whole. NPPD management had briefed the Board earlier this year that there would be no need for a retail rate increase. NPPD’s retail customers reside in 80 communities throughout the state and include communities as far west as Scottsbluff and as far east as Barada. Approximately 89,000 customers are served by NPPD at retail. Retail General Manager Tim Arlt noted that retail community leaders have been aware since mid-year that no rate increase was expected next year.  Arlt pointed out three key reasons for not raising rates: effective cost control by utility staff, sustainable cost-cutting measures, and optimal use of staff and processes to create efficiencies. “NPPD employees are committed to finding and implementing long-term cost cutting measures, while not impacting service or reliability or jeopardizing safety for customers or themselves,” Arlt said. Staff have improved customer service by offering paperless billing where a monthly statement is delivered electronically rather than printed and mailed. There is less cost to NPPD and more convenience to the customer. “Our new mobile app has also been a popular customer service offering,” he added. “There are many self-service options available, including paying one’s bill by smart phone and reporting of outages.” A complete list of NPPD retail communities is available at]]> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 17:48:28 +0000 NPPD Board approves 2016 wholesale rate schedule Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District’s Board of Directors unanimously approved NPPD’s 2016 Wholesale Rate Schedule during a specially-scheduled meeting today in Grand Island. The rate schedule includes a 3.8 percent overall average increase in 2016 wholesale rates. The increase will be used to fund transmission investments and $25 million in retiree healthcare benefits associated with past service provided to NPPD’s wholesale customers. Wholesale customers who sign a new 20-year wholesale power contract will receive a rate discount of 3.57 percent because NPPD can finance their portion of the uncollected retiree healthcare obligations over a longer time period. This results in an overall average rate increase for such customers of 0.6 percent. NPPD’s Board heard from customers both opposed to and in support of the 2016 wholesale rate proposal at a rate hearing Oct. 8 in Columbus. “Our customers’ feedback, not only at the rate hearing but over the past two years of contract negotiations, has played a critical role in the Board’s approval of these rate options,” said NPPD Board Chairman Ed Schrock. “We believe the rate schedule is fair and non-discriminatory for all customers who have invested in a not-for-profit system which has served a majority of them for more than 45 years.” NPPD’s new wholesale power contract contains a financial performance standard incenting NPPD to operate competitively for its wholesale customers throughout the duration of the contract, and offers wholesale customers the ability to add up to 10 percent of local renewable energy. NPPD’s wholesale customers who purchase electricity generated by NPPD and then distribute it to their local customers consist of 25 public power districts and electric cooperatives and 50 municipalities.  Board action on retail rates for 2016 for nearly 90,000 end-use customers who receive a bill from NPPD is expected in November; however,  the District expects there will be no retail increase for a third year in a row. In a separate decision by the Board today, NPPD agreed to terms and conditions for a contract with the Loup River Public Power District that calls for the purchase of all energy generated from Loup’s Columbus hydro operations. The new contract becomes effective in 2022 when the current contract ends. It will run through 2035, concurrent with the new wholesale contract that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016.]]> Wed, 21 Oct 2015 18:22:44 +0000