Columbus, Neb. – A public hearing on Nebraska Public Power District’s Stegall to Scottsbluff 115,000-volt transmission line is scheduled to be held Wednesday, January 21, at the Gering Civic Center’s Oregon Trail Room, 1050 M Street, Gering. The formal hearing will begin at 7 p.m. with an open house running from 6 to 7 p.m. prior to the hearing.
NPPD plans to construct a 115,000-volt electric transmission line from the existing Scottsbluff substation to a new NPPD substation to be built approximately five miles south of Stegall near the existing Stegall substation owned by Basin Electric Power Cooperative. There will be a short 345,000 volt transmission line built between NPPD’s new substation and Basin’s existing Stegall substation. A final line route has not been determined.
The approximately 23-mile transmission line will enhance transmission system reliability in the western Nebraska Panhandle region. The new line will also meet the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s Reliability Standards for the western Nebraska area. The line is expected to be in service by mid-2017.
The public hearing, required under Nebraska statutes, is conducted to present the proposed transmission project. A hearing officer will facilitate the hearing and a court reporter will be used to document all presentations by Nebraska Public Power District and landowner comments and questions.
The first part of the public hearing consists of presentations on the project by Nebraska Public Power District and its engineering consulting firm, POWER Engineers. The topics will include the need for the project, engineering aspects, line route selection, and the easement acquisition process. Once that portion of the hearing is completed, the public will have an opportunity to speak.
Any individual can supply testimony or ask questions about the project in two ways. One way is for the individual to speak from the podium, state their name and county where the property is located, and either present information that they feel is needed about the project, or ask questions about the project. Comment cards will also be available for landowners who prefer not to speak at the podium, but desire to make a statement or ask a question. The comment or question will be read aloud during the hearing.
Prior to each formal public hearing, NPPD will host a one hour open house similar to the previous three rounds that have been held since January of 2014. Again, this will be an opportunity for the public to provide additional information regarding their property or ask specific questions about the project. NPPD representatives will also be available following the public hearing to meet with landowners.
Approximately 30-45 days following the public hearing, NPPD will announce the final line route. Shortly thereafter, NPPD will begin meeting with landowners for right-of-entry to conduct activities along the line route. The initial activities include conducting surveys of proposed easement areas and proceeding with appraisal work. After engineering is completed, right-of-way agents will meet with landowners to fully explain the project as it relates to their specific property and explain terms and conditions of the easement needed for the line. NPPD strives for fair and respectful treatment of affected landowners during the entire process.
(Editor’s Note: Additional information and maps can be found at https://www.nppd.com/stegall-scottsbluff/.)