News Releases

3/24/2019
Cooper Nuclear Station exits "Notification of Unusual Event"

Brownville, Neb. - Nebraska Public Power District and Cooper Nuclear Station management announced at 4:01 p.m. Sunday, March 24, the plant had exited the emergency classification of a Notice of Unusual Event (NOUE) status it entered early Friday morning, March 15.

Missouri River water levels near Cooper have dropped to 896 feet mean sea level, three feet below 899 feet MSL – the level at which Cooper was required to enter the emergency classification status. Weather forecasts and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expected upstream dam releases indicate the river’s level at Brownville will slowly continue to drop. The plant operated safely while under a NOUE. 

Utility officials made the decision after several days of river elevations consistently dropping below the 899-feet sea level mark and discussing the decision with county and state agencies. Plant staff also conducted a thorough assessment of the site’s emergency preparedness plan before making the decision to exit the NOUE. 

The station made the notification as part of the station’s emergency preparedness plan that includes procedures to follow when flooding conditions are in effect.Cooper was in the Notification of Unusual Event status for nine days. 

There was no threat to plant employees or the public throughout the event. A Notification of Unusual Event is the lowest and least serious of four emergency classifications established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for nuclear power plants.

3/21/2019
NPPD customers in Scottsbluff targeted in latest scam

Scottsbluff, Neb. – In the wake of the recent winter storm, Nebraska Public Power District has seen an uptick in scam calls being reported in the Scottsbluff area.

Customers in the Scottsbluff area have reported receiving calls from scammers posing as representatives of NPPD, and demanding payment.

“Unfortunately, this is the type of scam that impacts many communities every year.” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “Anyone who receives such a call should not let their guard down and should contact our team and law enforcement immediately. Protecting our customers is a top priority.”

The recent number of scam calls have been targeting mostly businesses in the Scottsbluff area, but could target local residents as well.

These predatory individuals state the bill must be paid immediately or the power will be shutoff and will recommend several methods of payment. Sometimes the scammer’s caller-identification is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as ‘spoofing’.

To help customers be wary of such scams, NPPD offers the following tips and suggestions:

·       NPPD, as a business practice, does not call to ask customers for a credit card number.

·       NPPD does not demand payment with a pre-paid card.

·       Any customer receiving such a call should not attempt to make payment over the phone using a credit or debit card.

·       Write down the call back number or consider asking where the caller is located.

·       Contact law enforcement.

·       Let NPPD’s Centralized Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773) know about the call.

·       If served electrically by a rural public power district or municipality, customers should contact that organization before providing any type of payment.

 An informational video concerning scam calls is currently available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=azpRmjS0hT8.

3/15/2019
Cooper Nuclear Station declares “Notification of Unusual Event” due to rising river water levels along the Missouri River

Brownville, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District’s Cooper Nuclear Station, an electric power plant in southeast Nebraska, declared a “Notification of Unusual Event” at 5:46 a.m. Friday, March 15, when the Missouri River reached 899.05 feet at the plant. The declaration was anticipated for several days by the power plant’s operators, who closely tracked the river’s steady increase in elevation due to the combination of snow melt, frozen ground, heavy rain conditions in Nebraska , and releases of water from upstream reservoirs in South Dakota.

The notification was made as part of a safety and emergency preparedness plan the station follows when flooding conditions are in effect. The plan’s procedures dictate when the Missouri River’s water level reaches 42.5 feet, or greater than 899 mean sea level, a notification of unusual event is declared. Plant personnel regularly monitor the river levels.

There is no threat to plant employees or to the public; the plant continues to operate safely. Appropriate local, county, state, and federal agencies were also notified.

Site personnel had been monitoring the river’s water levels as part of normal operations and began additional preparations in anticipation of higher volumes of water earlier in the week. Personnel have been proactive in preparing the station for flood conditions by filling sandbags that were placed along the river levee and procuring materials and supplies for flood protection.

Should the river’s level increase to 900 feet above sea level, plant personnel will also barricade internal doorways as another layer of protection for facility equipment. If the river’s level increases to 45 feet or 901.5 feet above sea level, plant operators would take the station offline as a protective safety measure.The plant was built at 903 feet above sea level, which is 13 feet above natural grade.

A Notification of Unusual Event is the lowest and least serious of four emergency classifications established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for nuclear power plants. 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, a “Notification of Unusual Event” would equal a 1.

Cooper Nuclear Station is located three miles southeast of Brownville, Nebraska, near the Missouri River. It is owned and operated by the Nebraska Public Power District, with headquarters in Columbus, Nebraska.

3/1/2019
NPPD’s Ron Rose presented with EPRI Technology Transfer Award

Columbus, Neb. –A Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) employee was recognized with a Technology Transfer Award from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

NPPD Renewable Energy Consultant Ron Rose was recently recognized by EPRI for his efforts in a collaborative research and development project. Rose is based out of the District’s York Operations Center, and helped in leading a research demonstration project that installed more than 250 energy management circuit breakers. 

“The 2018 Technology Transfer Award winners have demonstrated initiative, collaboration and leadership and represent the very best in power industry research and development,” said Senior Vice President of R&D at EPRI Arshad Mansoor. “They’re shaping, enhancing and transforming the power system of the future by harnessing new and evolving technologies that can deliver benefits to their companies and the entire power industry.”

Energy management circuit breakers allow utilities and customers to monitor and control electricity use, across 12 utilities, at over 60 sites and 19 states.The project collected data for a year after launching in April 2017. Rose added that the project is among a growing market of internet connected devices, sensors and digital controls that could help improve reliability of power delivery.

“I’m thankful for the large team that designed and developed the product and grateful to have a small part in the successful outcome,” noted Rose. “I received the award, yet it was retiree Kenneth Young who initiated and coordinated NPPD’s participation in the project.  It was exciting to be a part of beta testing for new technology from a major manufacturer.”

Rose was honored for his work during EPRI’s Power Delivery and Utilization research meeting February 11-14 in San Antonio, Texas. 

The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, affordability, health, safety and the environment.

2/15/2019
Nebraska Public Power District reminds public of tree trimming

Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District wants to remind retail customers that the district does not charge for tree trimming services.

If someone offers to trim a tree around service lines on your property for a charge, this is not illegal, but it is not affiliated with NPPD.

NPPD identifies trees in its service territory that need to be trimmed around power lines and will trim them as seen fit, at no cost to the customer.

If you believe a tree on your property is becoming an issue with service lines, contact NPPD at 1-877-ASK-NPPD, and an assessment will be made on whether the tree needs to be trimmed.

2/12/2019
NDEQ Co-hosting Nebraska Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Conference on March 25

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) is partnering with the Nebraska Power Association (NPA) to co-host the Nebraska Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Conference on March 25 in York.  The conference is intended for those interested in installing public electric vehicle chargers and also for members of the public interested in the development of public electric vehicle charging in Nebraska.  

Conference time and location: 10 a.m. March 25 – Holthus Convention Center, 3130 Holen Ave., York. (On-site registration and exhibits start at 9 a.m.)

The NDEQ has approximately $1.2 million available from the Volkswagen Trust to help fund the growth of public EV charging across Nebraska.  There are several types of chargers available with different charging rates and a wide range of costs.  This conference is an opportunity to learn about the technical and financial aspects of public EV charging and to provide input to the Department.  

The Nebraska EV Infrastructure Conference will feature presentations from NDEQ, public power utilities, the Nebraska Department of Transportation, and the EV charging industry. These presentations will be followed by a facilitated discussion allowing attendees to provide their input on the development of public EV charging in Nebraska.

If you are interested in attending the event, or would like more information, please visit www.evnebraska.com.  Registering for this event is free of charge; however, if you would like to participate in lunch, snacks and refreshments throughout the day, the fee will be $20 per person.  Below is contact information for the conference coordinators:

Randy Smith
Clean Diesel Program Coordinator
NE Dept. of Environmental Quality
(402) 471-4272
Email:  randy.smith@nebraska.gov

Todd J. Duren
Sustainable Strategies Consultant
NE Public Power District
(402) 563-5084
Email:  tjduren@nppd.com

1/31/2019
NPPD’s Scottsbluff solar project performing as expected

Scottsbluff, Neb. – It has been 20 months since the 128-kilowatt solar array, located at Nebraska Public Power District’s office in Scottsbluff, went into operation sending renewable energy created on to the electric grid.

“The Scottsbluff project, and NPPD’s other Sunwise Community Solar projects, are operating well and performing as expected. The Scottsbluff project was sold out within days of our launch of the project and the community has been extremely supportive,” explained NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt.  “In fact, Scottsbluff has embarked on a second community solar project with the developer, SolSystems, for a significantly larger 4.6-megawatt operation.”    

NPPD customers in Scottsbluff took the opportunity to purchase shares of the solar unit in 2017, selling out all the potential shares. NPPD’s Sunwise Community Solar program currently includes two other units, a 98-kilowatt unit operating in Venango and a 5.7-megawatt facility in Kearney, which is currently the largest solar facility in Nebraska.

During its brief life of operation, the Scottsbluff facility has been able to generate over 350,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, including over 200,000 kWh in 2018. The highest producing months included June of 2017 when the unit generated 26,885-kWh, July of 2017 with 25,745-kWh, and 24,839 kWh in July of 2018. “We are seeing consistent generation although it is slightly behind what was initially forecasted,” Arlt added.

In the initial signup for the community solar program in Scottsbluff, customers who purchased shares (150 kilowatt hours per share) paid a higher premium. Arlt pointed out that with the second community solar project all subscribers will see a bill credit for the community solar shares. The solar share prices will be blended together resulting in a production cost savings to all solar program participants.  

“The community solar projects are not subsidized in any form or fashion,” Arlt pointed out. “Communities that choose not to participate in a community solar project do not pay any costs associated with the facilities that do. In fact, NPPD working with its partner communities established clear guidelines that prohibited cost shifts or subsidies.”  An end-use customer who decides not to participate in community solar their bill is not impacted at all.  

“Our Community Solar program is specifically designed to not shift costs to others or to subsidize the program,” he stressed.

Arlt pointed out that NPPD is in various stages of progress for community solar projects in Norfolk, Chadron, O’Neill, Ainsworth Pawnee City, and Loup City.

1/25/2019
Aurora Open & Innovation Showcase bigger than ever

Aurora, Neb. – The 2019 Aurora Open & Innovation Showcase is set to be the biggest in the event’s history.

Outside of the US Open Championship, for robotics, this will be the largest and most unique CREATE Open Powered by Nebraska Public Power District event of the year. The robotics competition is taking place on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Hamilton County Fairground from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

During the robotics competition, teams will be randomly paired with teams from other communities, to complete tasks and earn points.  “These students build some amazing robots, and in addition to learning technical skills, the students learn about leadership, communication, and sportsmanship ¬¬– all of which are demonstrated by NPPD employees on a day-to-day basis,” noted NPPD Careers Outreach Specialist Kim Liebig.

The Aurora Open will engage nearly 80 community volunteers and 51 robotics teams from Omaha North Magnet High School, Norfolk Junior High School, York Middle School, Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School, Benson Magnet High School, Columbus High School, Axtell High School, Holdrege Schools, St. Paul Public Schools, Nebraska Christian Schools, St. Edward High School, Hampton High School, Heartland Community High School, Cross County High School, Millard West High School, Lakeview High School and YETIbotics in Aurora.

In addition to the robotics competition, 10 innovation teams will be competing in an innovation showcase. As a part of the innovation showcase, two businesses from across Nebraska will be paired with a student team. The student team will then be tasked with building a product that can help meet the needs of both businesses. High school students, as well as students from Central Community College, the University of Nebraska Omaha and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be participating.

NPPD Senior Career Education Specialist Chad Johnson says, “The products made by the student teams will be judged, and the top ranked teams will present their product to a panel of Nebraska business representatives.”

Students will utilize NPPD’s STEM Connections Lab and other resources to build their products. “This event is designed to encourage community involvement, engage future employers and inspire business-to-business relationships,” added Johnson.

1/21/2019
Competitors ready for St. Paul Open Robotics Tournament

Columbus, Neb. – Top robotics teams are headed to St. Paul High, Saturday, Jan. 26, for the school’s inaugural CREATE Open Robotics Tournament powered by Nebraska Public Power District.

The St. Paul Open Robotics Tournament will see teams from nine different communities and schools pitting their robots against each other in competition. The challenges will also pair random teams together to complete tasks to earn points. “These students build some amazing robots, and in addition to learning technical skills, the students learn about leadership,communication, and sportsmanship ­­– all of which are demonstrated by NPPD employees on a day-to-day basis,” noted NPPD Careers Outreach Specialist Kim Liebig.

In total, thirty-two teams are registered to compete, from Columbus High School, St. Paul Public Schools, St. Edward High School, Hampton High School, Cross County High School, Millard West, Lakeview High School, Norfolk, and Aurora’s YETI-botics program.

Saturday’s tournament will open its doors at 7:15 a.m., with competition starting at 10:00 a.m. and continuing  throughout the day, leading up to the finals matches at roughly 3:30 p.m.

“We are excited to help St. Paul host their first ever CREATE Open Robotics Tournament,” says NPPD’s Senior Education Specialist Chad Johnson. “Competitive robotics introduces students to technical workforce skills, problem solving, teamwork, and innovation.” NPPD sponsors the Open division tournaments because of the focus on innovation and technical workforce skills including electrical engineering.

Many of the teams competing in Saturday’s tournament will also be exhibiting their skills in the Aurora Open & Innovation Showcase, Feb. 2.

1/14/2019
NPPD’s Mary Harding appointed to APPA Policy Makers Council

Columbus, Neb. – Mary Harding,Nebraska Public Power District board member from Plattsmouth, has been named to serve a one-year term on the American Public Power Association’s Policy Makers Council as an at-large member.

Harding is in her third term on the NPPD Board of Directors,elected initially in 2002 representing Sub District 2 at the time, and was re-elected in 2008. Following re-districting she was selected to represent Sub-District 1 in 2014 and represents Cass, Lancaster, Saunders and Seward counties. She was selected by the Board to serve as Secretary for 2019 and is also the Chair of the Energy Supply committee.  She has served as Chair of Strategic Planning,Customer & Support Services, and Budget in the past. 

A seventh generation Nebraskan, Harding graduated from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a degree in Bilingual Education and completed graduate work at the University of Colorado in Boulder in sociolinguistics. She and her husband operate a residential rental property business in Lincoln.

APPA is the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide.  The Association represents public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million customers that public power utilities serve, and the 93,000 people they employ.  The Association advocates and advises on electricity policy, technology, trends,training, and operations.  Its members strengthen their communities by providing superior service, engaging citizens,and instilling pride in community-owned power.

The Policy Makers Council assists the APPA in promoting federal legislation that is important to public power utilities NPPD and opposing harmful legislation.  It also provides advice on other issues of importance to the Association.  Members of the Council meet a minimum of twice a year and participate in meetings with elected representatives and congressional staff for the purposes of supporting the APPA’s national legislative agenda.

The Council is made up of 40 members who serve on either utility boards or are elected officials in public power communities. Four members are appointed from each of the 10 geographic regions recognized by APPA.  In addition, there are a number of “at-large” members of the PMC from across the country who are appointed based on vacancies in the 10 regions.

1/10/2019
Contract awarded for R-Project transmission line construction by NPPD

Columbus, Neb. – During its monthly meeting today, Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) Board of Directors voted to award a construction contract to Forbes Brothers Timberline Construction, Inc., of Rapid City, S.D. at a base bid of $264,999,990 for the R-Project transmission line.

While the contract has been awarded, no construction work on the 345-volt transmission line will be conducted until NPPD receives its incidental take permit for the American Burying Beetle from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). “We anticipate that the USFWS will issue that permit sometime in the first quarter of 2019,” said NPPD Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Kent.

The new transmission line is needed to enhance the reliability of Nebraska’s electric transmission system, help relieve congestion of existing lines within the system, and help support renewable energy projects -- if approved at the local level. “As we stated during our public process, this new line will provide an additional power path that will enhance the reliability of the transmission system for Nebraskans,” Kent added.

The line route begins at Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland and then heads north to Thedford where it will connect at an existing substation. The line then will move east to Holt County, covering approximately 225 miles, where it will connect with a new substation to be constructed.

For more information on the R-Project, go to www.rproject.nppd.com.

1/10/2019
Gary Thompson to lead NPPD Board in 2019

Columbus, Neb. - Gary Thompson, a 26-year member of the Board of Directors of the Nebraska Public Power District, was elected as the Board’s chair for a second consecutive year following action taken during the utility’s monthly meeting. Thompson, a resident of Clatonia, was a long-time resident of Beatrice.

Also elected were Barry DeKay of Niobrara as first vice chair, Bill Johnson of Pilger as second vice chair, and Mary Harding of Plattsmouth as secretary. NPPD Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Traci Bender was elected treasurer.

“Being re-elected to this position for a second consecutive year is an honor and I appreciate the support of my fellow Board members,” Thompson stated. “Public power continues to be an essential ingredient to the economic strength of Nebraska. We have a strong agenda of issues to address over the next year that will be challenging.”

Thompson began his term of office on the NPPD Board of Directors in January 1993. He most recently served as vice chair in 1997, 2012, and 2017, and has served as second vice chair in 1998, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013.  He also served previously as committee chair for Benefits & Labor, Customer Services, Strategic Planning, Energy Supply and Nuclear in the past.

An attorney in Beatrice since 1971, Thompson graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Law School. He is a member of the Nebraska and Gage County Bar Associations, and the Beatrice Sertoma Club. Thompson is a past Chairman of the Board for the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce and served 11 years on the Board of Education for the Beatrice Public Schools.

He represents Subdivision 8, which consists of all or parts of Nuckolls, Thayer, Fillmore, Saline, Jefferson, Gage, Johnson, Pawnee,Richardson and Nemaha counties.

The Board of Directors also 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.

12/29/2018
NPPD’s Cooper Nuclear Station no longer in an “Unusual Event”

Auburn, Neb. – As of 3:44 p.m. today, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) exited the emergency classification level called a “notification of an unusual event” (NOUE) at its Cooper Nuclear Station. NPPD initially declared the NOUE at 9:04 a.m. today after discovering a hazardous gas environment in the basement of the plant. While investigating the gas, safety and plant personnel detected a fire within a pipe chase.

The station’s fire brigade extinguished the initial and active fire at 9:51 a.m. but support staff from the plant’s emergency response organization were brought in to assess damage caused by the fire, provide engineering support, and maintain a fire watch in the area until there was no longer any potential for a fire to restart.  The fire was declared out as of 3 p.m., after completion of overhaul activities and assurance that a re-flash would not occur.

At no time did plant conditions threaten public safety. The plant remained stable and operating throughout the event and continues to operate at this time.

A NOUE 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 at the station. 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, a NOUE would equal a 1.

In situations like this, plant personnel follow an emergency response plan and notify appropriate local, county, state, and federal agencies as part of their processes.

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. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

12/29/2018
Nebraska Public Power District declares an “Unusual Event” at Cooper

Auburn, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) declared an unusual event at its Cooper Nuclear Station at 9:04 this morning. The utility declared the emergency classification when site personnel discovered a hazardous gas environment in the basement of the plant. While investigating the gas, safety and plant personnel detected a fire within a pipe chase.

The station’s fire brigade extinguished the active fire at 9:51 a.m. but additional responders have been brought in to monitor the piping, assess any equipment damage, provide engineering support, and maintain a fire watch in the area until there is no long any potential for a fire to restart.

At no time did plant conditions threaten public safety, and the plant remained stable and operating during the event.

A NOUE 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 at the station. 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, a NOUE would equal a 1.

In situations like this, plant personnel follow an emergency response plan and notify appropriate local, county, state, and federal agencies as part of their processes.

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. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

12/27/2018
Winter storms can bring the danger of downed power lines

Columbus, Neb. – Being aware of the dangers of downed power lines remains important as another season of winter storms gets underway, according to Nebraska Public Power District.

High winds, heavy snow and ice build-up can cause power lines to break or falter. “Anytime someone sees a power line down on the ground or blowing in the wind, we encourage people to stay clear of the area and notify their local power provider immediately,” says NPPD Distribution Supervisor Ray Boston. “Broken power lines can have an electrical charge and are very dangerous if not handled by a professional. At no time should the public attempt to move a downed power line.”

Winter storms can bring a few different threats to power lines including galloping, downed, and floating wires. Galloping wires occur when high winds force two adjacent power lines to hit each other, which may cause an outage. Floating wires consist of power lines that have been broken and are blowing in the wind or are not long enough to contact the ground.

If a powerline falls on a roadway, motorists should not try to drive over the line or move it from the roadway. This could result in serious injury. If a power line were to fall on top of a driver’s vehicle, the occupants should remain inside, call for help, and wait for a professional to deenergize the line.

“If a power line has fallen on your vehicle, and a fire, or some other emergency, is forcing you to exit the vehicle, you want to take a couple of precautions,” added Boston, “get to the edge of your vehicle and leap as far away as possible, landing on two feet and never touching the ground and vehicle at the same time. Then shuffle at least 25 feet away from your vehicle. Although you may not be touching the power line directly, the ground and other objects in the area could be carrying an electric charge.”

NPPD customers can call 1-877-ASK-NPPD or go to NPPD.com to report an outage or damaged power line.

12/13/2018
NPPD electric rates will remain stable in 2019

Columbus, Neb. – The message is nearly the same from Nebraska Public Power District.  NPPD retail and wholesale customers will see no overall average electric rate increase in rates for 2019, following action Thursday by the utility’s Board of Directors.

NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope praised work done by District employees as they continue to implement long-term, cost cutting measures that do not impact service, reliability, or jeopardize safety for customers or employees. “We are proud to offer our customers another year of rate stability,” said Pope. “The NPPD team is constantly seeking ways to maintain rate competitiveness, both regionally and nationally. We established an initiative that utilizes the rates charged to our wholesale customers and measure them against similar organizations with the objective to be in the lowest quartile.”

This will be the second consecutive year of no rate increase for NPPD’s wholesale customers, and, over a six-year period, NPPD has had less than a two percent increase in its wholesale electric rates for customers that includes 46 municipalities and 24 rural public power districts and rural cooperatives that rely totally or partially on NPPD for wholesale power supply.

“Our wholesale electric rates are very competitive when compared to more than 800 other power suppliers we benchmark against,” said Pope.  “On the retail side, NPPD has kept its electric rates stable for end-use customers for five years straight. Next year will be six.”

“Our retail employees continue to meet the challenge to reduce costs and improve processes which continue to pay dividends for our customers, This past year also was the beginning of a three-year plan to install new advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) for 90,000 customers, and we are already seeing evidence that the installation of the equipment has a positive influence on costs“ said NPPD’s Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. The remainder of the AMI installations will occur in 2019 and 2020.

Seventy-nine communities in NPPD’s service territory are served at retail and include communities such as Scottsbluff, Kearney, York, Norfolk and Plattsmouth.

Based on 2017 data released in November from the Energy Information Administration, NPPD’s base retail electric rates rank 17th overall of utilities nationwide. NPPD benchmarks its wholesale rate with the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation’s wholesale power cost.  Several years ago, NPPD established a goal of being in the lowest quartile, (25 percent) and, in 2018, reached the 26-percentile mark in the most recent comparisons against over 800 other utilities.

12/13/2018
NPPD’s York Operations Center expansion gains Board approval

York, Neb. – The appearance of Nebraska Public Power District’s York Operations Center will soon begin to look slightly different in early 2019.

Following approval from NPPD’s Board of Directors during its December meeting, construction work is expected to begin in March on an addition to the facility located on West 25th Street on the north side of York. The project, which was awarded to Ironhide Construction, Inc., of Lincoln at a cost of $4.2 million, will begin construction in March and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

“For several years, various business needs have existed at the site for facility additions,” explained NPPD Chief Operating Officer and Vice-President Tom Kent. “Three separate projects have long been proposed and discussed to meet those needs and will now be under one roof.”

The result will be construction of 32,000 square feet of additional building space to include a Delivery Operations Training Center that will include a substation, lines and line structures to be utilized for simulated training for construction, as well as operation and maintenance activities.   Part of the training area will include a classroom, control room, and battery room.  In addition, the project will include the addition of a maintenance and wash bay for large truck, crane, aerials.  As part of this design, NPPD will be able to park these same large vehicles inside.

12/10/2018
Competitors ready for Lakeview Open Robotics this Saturday

Columbus, Neb. – Top robotics teams from around the state will be converging on Lakeview High School to compete in the Lakeview Open Robotics Tournament powered by Nebraska Public Power District.

The Lakeview Open Robotics Tournament will see teams from 13 different communities and schools traveling to Columbus, to pit their robots against each other in competition. The challenges will also pair random teams together to complete tasks to earn points. “These students build some amazing robots, and in addition to learning technical skills, the students learn about leadership, communication, and sportsmanship ­­– all of which are demonstrated by NPPD employees on a day-to-day basis,” noted NPPD Careers Outreach Specialist Kim Liebig.

In total, forty-two teams are registered to compete on Saturday, Dec.15, almost doubling the number of competitors from the previous CREATE Open. Competitors from Omaha North, Norfolk Junior High School, York Middle School, YetiBotics in Aurora, Columbus High School, Holdrege High School, St. Paul Schools, Nebraska Christian Schools, St. Edward High School, Hampton High School, Cross County High School, Millard West, and Lakeview will be participating.

Saturday’s tournament will open its doors at 7:30 a.m. with competition taking place throughout the day, leading up to the finals matches at roughly 3:15 p.m.

“Nebraska ranks fourth in the United States for competitive robotics teams per capita, with 466 teams competing during the 2017-18 season. We expect that number to exceed 500 this season,” says NPPD’s Senior Education Specialist Chad Johnson. “Competitive robotics introduces students to technical workforce skills, problem solving, teamwork, and innovation.” NPPD sponsors the Open division tournaments because of the focus on innovation and technical workforce skills including electrical engineering.

High school teams will participate in multiple CREATE Open Tournaments powered by NPPD and the CREATE foundation in Omaha, throughout the year.  This will be the third of nine tournaments for the Open division, leading up to the US Open Championships in Council Bluffs, Iowa — the second largest robot tournament in the world.

12/10/2018
NPPD urging customers not to fall for payment demand calls

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District is asking customers to be wary of scammers attempting to exploit customers, after recent reports coming from customers of NPPD in Gordon, Chadron, Crawford, Hay Springs and the Rushville area.

Customers in those communities have reported receiving calls from scammers posing as representatives of NPPD. “We received reports of a similar scam taking place in Chadron just four days ago. “Unfortunately, a scam that impacts many communities every year has hit several of our communities within a short time span,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “Anyone who receives such a call should not let their guard down and should contact our team and law enforcement immediately. Protecting our customers is a top priority.”

These predatory individuals state the bill must be paid immediately or the power will be shut off and will recommend several methods of payment. Sometimes the scammer’s caller-identification is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as ‘spoofing’.

To help customers be wary of such scams, NPPD offers the following tips and suggestions:

  • NPPD, as a business practice, does not call to ask customers for a credit card number.
  • NPPD does not demand payment with a pre-paid card.
  • Any customer receiving such a call should not attempt to make payment over the phone using a credit or debit card.
  • Write down the call back number or consider asking where the caller is located.
  • Contact law enforcement.
  • Let NPPD’s Centralized Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773) know about the call.
  • If served electrically by a rural public power district or municipality, customers should contact that organization before providing any type of payment.
12/5/2018
NPPD to issue $36 million in bonds December 11

Columbus, Neb. – The Nebraska Public Power District plans to issue approximately $36 million of fixed-rate, tax-exempt bonds Tuesday, Dec. 11. 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. 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 Bank of America/Merrill Lynch as its senior bond underwriter. Other underwriting firms include, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo Securities, Ameritas Investment Corp., D.A. Davidson & Co., Piper Jaffray & Co., RBC Capital Markets, and US Bancorp.

The tax-exempt bonds will be repaid over a 16-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 www.nppd.com/assets/2019SeriesAStatement.pdf.

11/26/2018
Save money and energy this winter with LED Christmas lights

Columbus, Neb. – The temperature outside is dropping, snow has begun to fall from the sky, and the time for hanging up Christmas lights is upon us. But using those old incandescent lights could mean an uptick in your home’s energy usage, along with a higher electric bill.

If you treasure putting up lights on the house and around the tree, then don’t worry, you can still light up the block and save some money, by using LED lights. LED lights can use up to 99 percent less energy and last 50 times longer than the incandescent alternative.

“LED lights can be more expensive than incandescent bulbs up front, but the investment will save you more money on your energy bill in the long run,” says Nebraska Public Power District’s Energy Efficiency Program Manager Cory Fuehrer. “The longer life span of LED lights, will save you money on replacements, as well.”

Using more efficient lights also frees up energy that can be used to heat homes when temperatures hit their lowest points during the winter.

“NPPD is always striving to help customers make their homes and businesses as energy efficient as possible and using LED lights for both Christmas decorations and your general interior and exterior lighting provides outstanding savings,” added Fuehrer.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED lights are much cooler and reduce the risk of combustion or burnt fingers, more resistant to breakage, last longer, and are easier to install.

11/15/2018
Nebraska Public Power District, Wärtsilä, LUT to develop business case for alternative fuels

Columbus, Neb. – The technology group Wärtsilä, Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology and Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the study of the development of a business case for the use of alternative fuels with Wärtsilä generating sets. The MOU was signed Tuesday in Venice, Italy, during Wärtsilä’s Smart Energy Leaders Forum.

The aim of the business case is to achieve a technically and commercially viable solution that will allow NPPD to proceed with an industrial scale pilot project. Both parties have expressed the intention that this initiative will help accelerate the move towards a future where energy will be produced from 100 percent renewable carbon free sources. The specified alternative fuels include methanol, dimethyl ether (DME), ammonia, and hydrogen, or synthesized from hydrogen using CO2 and nitrogen.

“We are delighted to be working with Wärtsilä on this very important project. By converting hydrogen to methanol, it will be possible to use this as fuel in Wärtsilä engines. This has dual benefits, since it helps us commercially while at the same time promoting an environmentally sustainable means for producing electricity,” added NPPD CEO and President Pat Pope, who took part in the signing event.

“This collaboration between our two companies is fully in line with our Smart Energy Vision for sustainable power generation. The energy sector is changing for all stakeholders, and Wärtsilä is harnessing its extensive capabilities to lead that change,” commented Mikael Backman, Regional Director, USA & Canada, Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.

“For LUT University, this is an important collaborative initiative in the research and utilization of Power-to-X technology. We are pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with global players and we are thrilled that it’s all starting in the United States of all places,” said LUT University Rector Juha-Matti Saksa.

Together, the parties will evaluate performance and commercial information on the various fuel capabilities of Wärtsilä engines, provide input for the economic model, and develop an economic evaluation model. By demonstrating the results with test engines, it is envisioned that the conversion of hydrogen to methanol using CO2, and then burning the methanol as fuel to produce electricity, will be successfully established. This will have a major impact on future fuel choices for the global energy market.

11/14/2018
NPPD to install new meters in Dakota City, Crystal Lake area

Columbus, Neb. – Upgrading of electric meters for residences and businesses in Dakota City and the Crystal Lake area west of South Sioux City by Nebraska Public Power District will begin on Monday, Nov. 26, and continue into early December. The meter replacements are part of a year-long program in 2018 to replace 43,000 existing electric meters in 33 communities served at retail by NPPD.

NPPD’s customer service organization will be contacting customers in advance to alert them to the installation of the new meters.  A District employee will make the change of the meters and will remove the old meter from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a short interruption of electric service.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade. The current meters in communities slated for replacement are electro-mechanical devices. The new meters display the reading, but in digital LED format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.

“The installation of the AMI systems will help maintain competitive electric rates by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “With these units we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time to restore power.”

In addition, the new meters will allow NPPD personnel to automatically read electric meters from service centers, provide a higher level of customer service, help customer service representatives troubleshoot billing concerns, and improve electric service reliability and power quality for customers. Another reason is from a safety perspective for NPPD’s employee teams when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance.

The AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics within a residence or business.

In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.

The Dakota City/ Crystal Lake installations complete the first phase in replacement of meters with new technology. In 2019, NPPD expects to replace 24,000 electric meters in 29 retail communities primarily in western Nebraska.

11/9/2018
New robotics season kicks-off in Stromsburg

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska is a leader in competitive robotics, and the 2018-19 season is closing in on the kick-off at Cross County High School Saturday, November 17.

Saturday’s tournament will open its doors at 7:30 a.m. with competition taking place throughout the day, leading up to the finals matches at roughly 3:15 p.m. Cross County

“Nebraska ranks fourth in the United States for competitive robotics teams per capita, with 466 teams competing during the 2017-18 season. We expect that number to exceed 500 this season,” says NPPD’s Senior Education Specialist Chad Johnson. “Competitive robotics introduces students to technical workforce skills, problem solving, teamwork, and innovation.” NPPD sponsors the Open division tournaments because of the focus on innovation and opportunities in electrical engineering.

During the competition, teams will be randomly paired with teams from other communities, to complete tasks and earn points.  “These students build some amazing robots, and in addition to learning technical skills, the students learn about leadership, communication, and sportsmanship ­­– all of which are demonstrated by NPPD employees on a day-to-day basis,” noted NPPD Careers Outreach Specialist Kim Liebig.

Twenty-two teams from Aurora, Columbus, Hampton, Norfolk, Omaha, York and St. Paul will be competing in the opening tournament. Following the competition at Cross County, the next tournament will be held at Lakeview High School in Columbus on December 15.

High school teams will participate in multiple CREATE Open Tournaments powered by NPPD and the CREATE foundation in Omaha, throughout the year. Seven tournaments have already been scheduled, leading up to the US Open Championships in Council Bluffs, Iowa this April.

10/30/2018
NPPD to install new meters in Tekamah, Oakland and Craig

Columbus, Neb. – Upgrading of electric meters for residences and businesses in Tekamah, Oakland and Craig by Nebraska Public Power District will begin on Monday, Nov. 5, and continue throughout the remainder of the month. The meter replacements are part of a program in 2018 to replace 43,000 existing electric meters in 33 communities served at retail by NPPD.

NPPD’s customer service organization will be contacting customers in those three communities to alert them to the installation of the meters. Replacement work in Tekamah is scheduled to begin Nov. 5, while meter installation is slated for Oakland and Craig beginning Nov. 13.  A District employee will make the change of the meters and will remove the old meter from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a short interruption of electric service.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade. The current meters in communities slated for replacement are electro-mechanical devices. The new meters display the reading, but in digital LED format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.

“The installation of the AMI systems will help maintain competitive electric rates by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “With these units we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time to restore power.”

In addition, the new meters will allow NPPD personnel to automatically read electric meters from service centers, provide a higher level of customer service, help customer service representatives troubleshoot billing concerns, and improve electric service reliability and power quality for customers. Another reason is from a safety perspective for NPPD’s employee teams when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance.

The AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics within a residence or business.

In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.

The remaining schedule for retail communities runs through the majority of 2018, although weather conditions could create some delays.

10/29/2018
Design, engineering work for Sheldon Station conversion underway

Columbus, Neb.- The wheels are turning on Nebraska Public Power District’s Sheldon Station conversion project that would eliminate coal as a fuel source in one of its generating units and utilize hydrogen derived from a separate manufacturing process to generate electricity.

At the October NPPD Board of Directors meeting two agreements were approved – one to develop a preliminary boiler design and a second to assist NPPD with other engineering work required for the conversion of Sheldon Station Unit 2 boiler to burn hydrogen. Hydrogen is a by-product of the process used by Monolith Materials in manufacturing Carbon Black. Construction work on the Monolith facility, located south of Sheldon Station near Hallam, is underway.

“This is the first phase of the boiler conversion project,” said NPPD Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Kent. “This initial work will lead to a solid foundation for NPPD as we progress through the process of converting the boiler. Eventually, Unit 2 will be the largest boiler in the country to burn hydrogen to generate electricity.” The second phase will deal with detailed engineering of the boiler unit with the third phase being engineering, procurement and construction of the new boiler.

Phase 1 includes preliminary boiler design, permitting technical assistance, preliminary supporting system design, consultant support, and NPPD project engineering and management.

Babcock & Wilcox, the original Sheldon Station Unit 2 boiler manufacturer, was selected to develop the Phase 1 preliminary boiler design.

Sargent & Lundy was selected to perform the Phase 1 permitting technical assistance and supporting system design for the conversion, which will include developing draft permits for the boiler unit, developing design and general arrangement drawings to allow for separate hydrogen and natural gas supply lines from the Monolith facility to Sheldon Station, and developing a preliminary cost estimate for the project.

Monolith Materials will reimburse NPPD for the costs associated with the Sheldon Station Unit 2 boiler conversion project.

10/15/2018
NPPD linemen assisting OPPD in storm restoration efforts

Columbus, Neb. – Crews from Nebraska Public Power District are assisting Omaha Public Power District crews in restoring power following heavy snow conditions that brought down tree limbs onto power lines Sunday morning.

NPPD sent a four-man crew from its nearby Plattsmouth operations Sunday and another eight linemen from Norfolk, South Sioux City,York, and Kearney were responding Monday morning.

OPPD initially had more than 52,000 customers that lost power from the Sunday morning storm, but that number was down to around 7,000 Monday morning.  OPPD has indicated that they expect all customers to be returned to service by midnight Monday.

10/9/2018
Checking your insulation could save dollars as weather cools

Columbus,Neb. –With temperatures beginning to cool, it’s a good time to make sure your attic isn’t going to be costing you money.

Nebraska Public Power District EnergyWise Program Manager Cory Fuehrer says there are a few things to check in the attic, starting with places that could be leaking warm air. Fuehrer noted that “Light fixtures and can lights, especially those manufactured before 2004, have plenty of holes and gaps to allow for air to escape from the living space into the attic. If these are installed wrong, you could be paying to heat your attic”

Can lights should have a cover, that separates the fixture from insulation in the attic, and spray foam insulation should be applied to seal air leakages. These leakages can also occur around ductwork that drops in from above the ceiling.

“During the summer, cool air passing through uninsulated ducts in warm attics can cause condensation on ductwork, and dripping will occur,” says Fuehrer. “This can lead to mold growth and safety issues. Uninsulated ducts are also at risk of becoming rusted and leaking conditioned air.”

Properly insulating your attic is also a major key to energy efficiency throughout the year. The Department of Energy recommends homes in Nebraska have a R38 insulation value or better.

“Without realizing it, you could be losing more than 30 percent of the heat in your home through your ceiling. If you don’t have at least one foot of batts, blankets,or blow-in loose-fill insulation, you probably have an energy efficiency improvement opportunity,” discussed Fuehrer, “these types of insulation often have an R-value of 2.8 to 4 per inch of material.”

Fuehrer says homeowners who heat their home with electricity should check with their energy supplier to see if they have any incentive programs available to help resolve these issues.

10/8/2018
NPPD customers in Creighton to receive new electric meters

Columbus, Neb. - Upgrading of electric meters for Creighton residences and businesses by Nebraska Public Power District will begin on Monday, Oct.15 and continue throughout the remainder of the month. The meter replacements are part of a program in 2018 to replace 43,000 existing electric meters in 33 communities served at retail by NPPD.

NPPD’s customer service organization will be contacting customers in Creighton to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will make the change of the meters and will remove the old meter from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a short interruption of electric service.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure(AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade. The current meters in communities slated for replacement are electro-mechanical devices. The new meters display the reading, but in digital LED format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.

“The installation of the AMI systems will help maintain competitive electric rates by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “With these units we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time to restore power.”

In addition, the new meters will allow NPPD personnel to automatically read electric meters from service centers, provide a higher level of customer service, help customer service representatives troubleshoot billing concerns, and improve electric service reliability and power quality for customers. Another reason is from a safety perspective for NPPD’s employee teams when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance.

The AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics within a residence or business.

In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.

The remaining schedule for retail communities runs through the majority of 2018,although weather conditions could create some delays.

10/8/2018
NPPD’s Hartington customers will receive new electric meters

Columbus, Neb. – Upgrading of electric meters for Hartington residences and businesses by Nebraska Public Power District will begin on Monday, Oct. 15 and continue throughout the remainder of the month. The meter replacements are part of a program in 2018 to replace 43,000 existing electric meters in 33 communities served at retail by NPPD.

NPPD’s customer service organization will be contacting customers in Hartington to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will make the change of the meters and will remove the old meter from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a short interruption of electric service.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade. The current meters in communities slated for replacement are electro-mechanical devices. The new meters display the reading, but in digital LED format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.

“The installation of the AMI systems will help maintain competitive electric rates by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “With these units we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time to restore power.”

In addition, the new meters will allow NPPD personnel to automatically read electric meters from service centers, provide a higher level of customer service, help customer service representatives troubleshoot billing concerns, and improve electric service reliability and power quality for customers. Another reason is from a safety perspective for NPPD’s employee teams when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance.

The AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics within a residence or business.

In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.

The remaining schedule for retail communities runs through the majority of 2018, although weather conditions could create some delays.

10/5/2018
Hydrogen – the next energy resource for NPPD

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) will join in celebrating the third annual National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, which marks the growth of the industry by raising awareness of the benefits fuel cells and hydrogen technologies provide in generating reliable and resilient power, while increasing America’s energy, environmental, and economic security.

National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day is observed on October 8 (10.08), in recognition of the atomic weight of hydrogen – 1.008. And NPPD is at the forefront of hydrogen use to augment its diverse mix of nuclear, coal, wind, hydro, and gas resources to generate electricity for Nebraskans.

“NPPD is proud to join with other innovative companies celebrating National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day,” said NPPD Director of Research Alan Dostal. “Today’s hydrogen and fuel cell industry is making its mark on America’s energy landscape, on highways, in factories, warehouses, businesses, universities, and public institutions by providing resilient, sustainable, and safe power.”  An example of NPPD’s engagement with industry on the innovative production and use of hydrogen can be found in its plan to utilize hydrogen as a fuel source to generate electricity at Sheldon Station near Hallam.  NPPD will purchase the hydrogen by-product from the process of making carbon black from Monolith Materials, which is currently under construction and is located near the station.

“The continued growth of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies promotes America’s energy, environmental, and economic security.  Yet, the fuel cell and hydrogen industry does not receive comparable public policy support on par with other clean energy technologies,” Dostal said.  “To help reach its full economic and job-creating potential, the fuel cell sector continues to work with Congress to provide parity for fuel cell vehicles, hydrogen fueling stations, and distributed generation applications.

Efficient, clean, and quiet, fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, without combustion, and NPPD continues to look at that technology as it progresses.

Morry Markowitz, President of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) explained, “As we celebrate our fourth annual National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, the hydrogen and fuel cell future we worked for is making its mark today, with dynamic and growing markets across the industry.  This progress is a tribute to the companies, organizations, and individuals who pioneered these technologies and made hydrogen and fuel cells an important part of the nation’s, and the world’s, energy mix.”

For more information on National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, please visit www.hydrogenandfuelcellday.org.

10/5/2018
NPPD asking Chadron customers to be aware of bill scam

Chadron, Neb. – Following recent reports in the Chadron area, NPPD is asking customers to be wary of a scammer attempting to exploit customers.

Customers have reported receiving a call from a scammer who is posing as a representative of NPPD. The scammer is threatening to shut off power to the customer if they do not pay their bill.  The scammer told the customer to call them back at 888-601-7366 in order to pay what they owed.

“Unfortunately, these scams take place every year throughout the country and they tend to move around from one location to another,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt . “Anyone who receives such a call should not let their guard down.”

These predatory individuals state the bill must be paid immediately or the power will be shut off. Sometimes the scammer’s caller-identification is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as ‘spoofing’.

To help customers be wary of such scams, NPPD offers the following tips and suggestions:

  • NPPD, as a business practice, does not call to ask customers for a credit card number.
  • NPPD does not demand payment with a pre-paid card.
  • Any customer receiving such a call should not attempt to make payment over the phone.
  • Write down the call back number or consider asking where the caller is located.
  • Contact law enforcement.
  • Let NPPD’s Centralized Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (877-275-6773) know about the call.
  • If served electrically by a rural public power district or municipality, customers should contact that organization before providing any type of payment.
10/1/2018
NPPD meter replacement set for Bloomfield beginning Oct. 8

Columbus, Neb. – Upgrading of electric meters for Bloomfield residences and businesses by Nebraska Public Power District will begin on Monday, Oct. 8 and continue throughout the remainder of the month. The meter replacements are part of a program in 2018 to replace 43,000 existing electric meters in 33 communities served at retail by NPPD.

NPPD’s customer service organization will be contacting customers in Bloomfield to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will make the change of the meters and will remove the old meter from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a short interruption of electric service.

The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade. The current meters in communities slated for replacement are electro-mechanical devices. The new meters display the reading, but in digital LED format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.

“The installation of the AMI systems will help maintain competitive electric rates by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “With these units we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time to restore power.”

In addition, the new meters will allow NPPD personnel to automatically read electric meters from service centers, provide a higher level of customer service, help customer service representatives troubleshoot billing concerns, and improve electric service reliability and power quality for customers. Another reason is from a safety perspective for NPPD’s employee teams when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance.

The AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics within a residence or business.

In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.

The remaining schedule for retail communities runs through the majority of 2018, although weather conditions could create some delays.

9/27/2018
It’s harvest season – look up and look out for power lines

Columbus, Neb. – With the arrival of harvest season, Nebraska Public Power District is reminding farm operators to “look up and look out” for power lines.

Hitting power lines becomes a significant hazard during the harvest season, as farm operators begin moving tall equipment back out to the fields. “Equipment can get caught in power lines if operators are not aware of their surroundings,” noted Transmission and Distribution Manager Art Wiese, “even coming too close to a power line can cause electricity to arc to your equipment.”

Avoiding contact with a power line is the best way to stay safe, but NPPD wants everyone to know what to do if contact does happen.  Remaining inside the equipment, until help can arrive, is critical to everyone’s safety.  Contact with power lines can result in serious or fatal accidents.

“Calling for help is important in avoiding injuries,” says Wiese, “If a line is not de-energized by a public power utility crew, stepping out of the vehicle could cause your body to become the path and electrocution could occur. Even if the power line is resting on the ground nearby, that surrounding area could potentially be energized.”

If you are forced to exit the vehicle, the appropriate action is to jump – not step – with both feet landing on the ground at the same time. Do not touch the vehicle and ground at the same time and begin shuffling your feet on the ground to safety. Never simply step out of the vehicle – the person must jump clear of the equipment.

NPPD recommends that farmers review the following safety precautions before entering the fields to begin harvest operations including:

  • Each day, review all farm activities and work practices that will take place around power lines and remind all workers to take precautions. Start each morning by planning the day’s work during a tailgate safety meeting. Know what jobs will happen near power lines and have a plan to keep the assigned workers safe.
  • Know the location of power lines, and when setting up the farm equipment, be at least 20 feet away from them. Contact your local public power provider if you feel this distance cannot be achieved.
  • Use caution when raising augers or the bed of a grain truck or wagon. It can be difficult to estimate distance, and sometimes a power line is closer than it looks. When moving large equipment or high loads near a power line, always use a spotter to make certain the equipment stays a safe distance from the line.
  • Always adjust portable augers or elevators to their lowest possible level – under 14 feet – before moving or transporting them. Variables like wind, uneven ground, shifting weight, or other conditions can combine to create an unexpected result.
  • Be aware of increased height when loading and transporting larger modern tractors with higher antennas.
  • Never attempt to raise or move a power line to clear a path. If power lines near your property have sagged over time, call your public power utility to repair them.
  • As in any outdoor work, be careful not to raise any equipment such as ladders, poles, or rods near or 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.

9/25/2018
NPPD, Norfolk seeking grant for battery energy storage project

Columbus, Neb. – Funding for battery energy storage system (BESS) demonstration project is being sought by the Nebraska Public Power District and the City of Norfolk that would be tied to a proposed community solar project planned for that community in 2019.

That project is contingent on approval of a grant application submitted by NPPD to receive $490,000 in funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) for the two-year project. NPPD expects the NET grant proposal selections to be announced in the April 2019 time frame. If selected, and when completed, the BESS would be tied to a proposed community solar facility to be built in Norfolk and would be like the facility already operating in Kearney.

The City of Norfolk has committed to participate in the funding request as a grant partner and would be providing in-kind support providing the real estate for the project site, weekly inspections, and guiding public tours.

Dave Rich, NPPD sustainable energy manager, said that the BESS would be charged through the solar unit and discharged daily to accomplish several goals. “Some of those would be related to demand management, voltage support, and smoothing and shifting variable renewable energy generation,” he explained. The unit would store approximately the amount of electricity that a small home would use over the course of two months.

“Northeast Nebraska leads the state in renewable energy generation,” said Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning. “This first-of-its kind battery storage project positions Norfolk to lead the way in using the newest technologies to efficiently utilize renewable energy that’s created in our own backyard, keeps our electricity costs low, and grows new jobs and strengthens our regional economy.”

Rich explained that knowledge gained from the demonstration project could be reproduced by other Nebraska electrical utilities.  Year one of the demonstration project would provide a summary of distribution benefits to NPPD’s wholesale and retail customers and members of the Nebraska Power Association, with year two providing a summary of production benefits to the same audience.

If NET awards the grant to and the community solar project moves forward in Norfolk, such a facility would probably be in operation sometime in late 2019.

“A key problem with electric generation is the U.S. electric grid has virtually no storage capacity, so grid operators can’t stockpile a surplus of clean energy and deliver it when the wind isn’t blowing, or the sun isn’t shining,” he added. “Battery storage could be a step forward in this area.” Electric energy produced today is generated and delivered at the time it is consumed on a real-time basis.

9/25/2018
Niobrara River project partners take major step to protect river basin for all users

Kearney, Neb. — The Niobrara River Basin Alliance (NRBA), the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC), and the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) took a significant step forward today towards protecting the Niobrara River Basin, water flows and all users of the river now and in the future.

The three partnering groups celebrated this accomplishment while attending the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts’ (NARD) Annual Meeting in Kearney. Each entity signed a purchase agreement for the eventual transfer of the assets and water rights associated with the Spencer Hydro-electric Generating Facility near Spencer, Neb., from NPPD to the NRBA and NGPC, on or before Jan. 31, 2021, when all conditions of the purchase agreement are met. This agreement is part of a series of steps that started with a memorandum of understanding entered into by the parties in September 2015.

“This signing today shows the Niobrara River Basin Alliance, four natural resources districts in the Alliance and our two partners working together to take proactive steps as we find ways to protect the river for generations to come,” said NARD President Larry Reynolds.

The agreement will assist in providing protection for all users of the river including wildlife, recreation and agriculture. It will help keep water in the river for fish and wildlife, including endangered species, and will also protect recreation use such as canoeing, tubing and kayaking, along with irrigation for agricultural users.

“Today the NGPC and the Niobrara River Basin Natural Resources Districts moved one step closer to reaching our goal”, said Jim Douglas, NGPC Director. “The Commission, the NRDs and NPPD want to ensure that the best possible future of the Niobrara River, in which the interests of stakeholders, users, fish and wildlife are all considered.”

Several years before this historic partnership, the Niobrara River was the focus of studies and lawsuits. In 2015, the NGPC and NRBA joined together to work with NPPD and seek options for transferring the water rights from Spencer to the State and NRDs. In 2016, Legislative Bill (LB) 1038 was passed by the Nebraska Unicameral that allowed the entire water right to be transferred for basin management purposes while retaining the priority dates; an essential component needed to provide the protection to the river.

“LB 1038 was a significant change in Nebraska water law that will be key in protecting the Niobrara River Basin,” said NRBA Secretary Marty Graff. “The legislation ensures the Spencer water rights retained the seniority needed for instream flows and water user protection.”

With the legislation and purchase agreement completed, the NRBA and NGPC will work to secure funding to complete the $9 million purchase. NPPD established the original sale price of the facility at $12 million and is providing an in-kind contribution of $3 million.

“NPPD is pleased to be a party to this agreement, which will provide water sustainability in the Niobrara River Valley and enable Nebraskans to continue to enjoy the river for fishing, wildlife, recreation and other uses in the future,” explained NPPD Corporate Environmental Manager Joe Citta, who was on-hand for the signing.

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