News Releases

9/28/2020
Power line safety important for farmers heading into fall harvest

Columbus, Neb. - While many Nebraskans are dusting off their fall clothes in preparation for the cool autumn weather, farmers are headed to their fields to begin the annual harvest. Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants to remind large equipment operators to keep safety front of mind and “Look up and Look Out” for power lines as they head back to the fields.

NPPD Vice-President of Energy Delivery Art Wiese says coming close to, or hitting, power lines becomes a significant hazard during the harvest season. “It’s easy for an equipment operator to accidentally get a piece of equipment too close to a powerline or even make contact if they are not aware of their surroundings,” noted Wiese. “If large equipment gets too close to a power line, electricity can arc from the line to the equipment, potentially causing major damage and severe injury to the operator.”

NPPD encourages equipment operators to keep their machines 20 feet away from power lines to avoid the possibility of any electricity arcing from the line to the equipment.

If a power line falls onto a vehicle or piece of equipment, anyone inside the vehicle should remain there until help can arrive and deenergize the power line. When a powerline is touching a vehicle or lying on the ground, it can electrify both the vehicle and the ground in the surrounding area. If a fire forces you to exit the vehicle then do so by jumping away from the vehicle, landing on two feet and shuffling as far away from the area as possible.

“If a power line is touching a vehicle, anyone inside the vehicle should avoid touching  both the ground and the vehicle at the same time. If someone were to do this, it could result in serious or fatal injuries,” NPPD Transmission and Distribution Construction and Maintenance Manager Scott Walz said. “Taking the precautionary effort to look up and look out for powerlines can promote a safe work environment, and our hope is that everyone working this harvest season can do so in a safe manner.”

NPPD recommends that farmers review the following safety precautions before entering the fields to begin harvest operations, or for more details and video footage follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufilter=NULL&v=Hfikot58Fkk

  • Each day review all farm activities and work practices that will take place around power lines and remind all workers to take precautions
  • 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. For large equipment, 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 transporting them. Variables like wind, uneven ground or shifting weight can cause unexpected results.

9/11/2020
Refurbishing of NPPD transmission line between Beverly and Enders set

Columbus, Neb. - Nebraska Public Power District has contracted Forbes Brothers Timberline Construction Inc., of Rapid City, S.D. to refurbish a 115-kV transmission line in Southwest Nebraska.

The line is located between NPPD’s Beverly substation and the Enders substation in Southwest Public Power District’s service area. Southwest PPD is an NPPD wholesale customer headquartered in Palisade, which serves five counties—Chase, Dundy, Hayes, Hitchcock and Red Willow.

During the refurbishment, 78 structures and all shield wire will be replaced. The line is scheduled to be out of service beginning the end of September through mid-March of next year. No end use customers will be impacted.

“This project will improve transmission line reliability,” stated NPPD Transmission and Distribution Construction and Maintenance Manager Scott Walz. “Most of the structures being replaced were put in when the line was originally built and are reaching the end of their life expectancy.”

Residents can expect to see utility service trucks and workers in the area during the refurbishment time frame and should be aware of an increase in the number of large vehicles and equipment moving through the area in support of the planned work.

8/27/2020
NPPD partnering up to spread safety awareness this harvest season

Columbus, Neb. - Safety around powerlines should always be front of mind when operating large farm equipment, and Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), Nebraska Extension and UNMC Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (CS-CASH) are partnering together to spread awareness about potential dangers as harvest season approaches.

NPPD, Nebraska Extension and CS-CASH will be hosting events at multiple locations across the state which will feature a “Look Up and Look Out” custom combine and an ATV and grain bin entry safety simulator. First responders will be on hand to provide  education on how to exit machinery safely in case of contact with a downed power line or pole structure.

“We want to make sure farmers and equipment operators who are working around power lines know what precautions need to be taken in order to perform their work safely,” says NPPD Transmission and Distribution Construction and Maintenance Manager Scott Walz. “If a piece of equipment gets too close to a powerline or makes contact with a line it can result in serious or fatal injuries, and our main concern is that people are able to go home safe at the end of the workday. Hopefully these events will help remind people to keep a focus on safety.”

The scheduled events will provide lunch to attendees and will take place at the following locations:

  • Scottsbluff Panhandle Research and Extension Center on Tuesday, September 1
  • Buffalo County Fairgrounds southwest lot in Kearney on Wednesday, September 2
  • York County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, September 9
  • Madison County Extension, 1305 S. 13th St. in Norfolk on Thursday, September 10
  • Red Willow County Fairgrounds in McCook on Friday, September 25

All the events are scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be marked with identifying banners for exact location. The  events will also be supported by local public power districts that serve the surrounding area. Events  in Norfolk and Kearney will include live line safety demos

“Nebraska Extension and CS-CASH continue to be valuable health and safety resources for our ag producers around the state, and we are excited to partner with NPPD to promote harvest safety as the season gets underway with more equipment heading out into the field,” says Nebraska Extension Educator, Susan Harris.

The events are open to the public and will all be held outdoors to encourage social distancing. Attendees are encouraged to wear masks at the event, where CDC guidelines will be in place.

8/19/2020
Norfolk solar facility, battery energy storage system ready to go with aim at being in operation in late 2021

Norfolk, Neb. – The sun is shining on the City of Norfolk as it will be the latest Nebraska municipality to  become part of Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) SunWise Community Solar program.  There will be an added aspect of the project for NPPD with the installation of a battery energy storage system (BESS) that will be tied to the solar array as a demonstration project.

NPPD plans to enter into a 30-year agreement with N Solar for an 8.5 megawatt solar unit to be constructed on land at the city’s well field. The expectation is installation of the solar panels will begin in 2021 with operations beginning by the end of 2021. “We are pleased to be adding Norfolk as one of our Community Solar program,” said NPPD Vice-President and General Manager-Retail Tim Arlt. “The interest in solar energy continues to grow and we have interest from other NPPD retail communities and we anticipate adding more units in the future.”

Norfolk is the fourth Nebraska community to be part of the program that currently includes Venango, Scottsbluff (two units) and Kearney.  

“We’re anxious to move forward on this first-of-its-kind project in Nebraska,” said Mayor Josh Moenning.  “Building the largest community solar project in the state, and the first tied to a battery storage system, further positions Norfolk to be a leader in clean, cost-competitive renewable energy that will  boosts and support the local economy.”

In partnership with the city, NPPD will host an open house for Norfolk customers to learn about the SunWise Community Solar program that currently operates in three locations, answer questions, and work with customers interested in purchasing solar energy.

N Solar, a three-company partnership that includes Messner Development, Gen Pro Energy Solutions and Sol Systems, will have a lease agreement with the City of Norfolk for the land where the solar panels will be installed. Eventually the well field site will have over 25,000 solar panels in place to generate electricity from the sun. Collectively, the three N Solar companies have been involved in a combined 20 solar projects across Nebraska, including three of the four NPPD SunWise Community Solar projects.

“Norfolk is a wonderful community and we are grateful for the opportunity to build on our relationship with NPPD through this project,” said Cliff Mesner of Mesner Development Company. “Having delivered their first community solar project, we are now excited to help bring the first energy storage installation to NPPD’s growing portfolio.”

The BESS will be charged through generation provided by the solar unit and can be discharged daily to accomplish several goals. The BESS unit will store approximately the amount of electricity that a small home would use over the course of two months.

NPPD, with support from the city of Norfolk, received a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) in the amount of $490,000 over two years for the BESS project. Norfolk committed to participate in the funding request as a grant partner and is providing the real estate for the project site, weekly inspections and guided public tours.

“Battery energy storage is a versatile resource,” said NPPD Renewable Energy Consultant Ron Rose.  “It has the ability to adapt technologies, applications, and business models to utility needs.”

This first of its kind in Nebraska demonstration project is  a one-megawatt (MW), two megawatt hour (MWh) utility scale, proven technology.  The BESS will be charged and discharged daily to accomplish many separate goals for NPPD such as demand management, frequency regulation, voltage support, and smoothing and shifting variable renewable energy generation.  “With the knowledge gained from this project, it will be reproducible for other Nebraska electrical utilities, assuming  future price reductions and increasing battery performance,” Rose explained.

With the BESS connected to a variable non-dispatchable renewable energy source such as wind or solar, the renewable generation now becomes dispatchable and will reduce  fossil fuel generation in the future.  This project was not economical for NPPD to fund in total but became possible with the Nebraska Environmental Trust grant sharing the battery costs.  

NPPD’s SunWise Community Solar Program has an existing facility in Kearney that has been in operation for nearly two years, generating 5.7 megawatts of energy through photovoltaic panels. In the past year a 4.375 megawatt unit was installed in Scottsbluff.  Smaller solar arrays in the program are located in Scottsbluff (128 kilowatts) and Venango (98 kilowatts).

N Solar is a three-company partnership designed to provide every Nebraska community with the opportunity for clean energy integrated with local public power districts and municipal utilities. N Solar comprises Nebraska’s Mesner Development in partnership with GenPro Energy Solutions in site development and construction, and Sol Systems in financing, ownership, and power purchase agreements. To date, this team has developed, constructed and financed over 19 megawatts of solar in Nebraska.

8/17/2020
NPPD will be testing all incoming contractor employees working on the Cooper Nuclear Station refueling outage

Auburn, Neb. - Cooper Nuclear Station will begin a refueling outage September 26, which is conducted every two years and requires additional contract staffing to complete the work.

In preparation of this evolution, contract personnel will soon be arriving in Auburn for in-processing. Due to the ongoing pandemic, Nebraska Public Power District, in coordination with Auburn Family Health Clinic, will be hosting drive-thru testing for Covid-19 for all incoming contractor personnel during the last two weeks of August and all of September 2020.

Testing will be conducted at the Sheridan Training Facility in Auburn, on the north end of the campus. This testing is for NPPD/CNS outage-support only, and care has been taken to reduce traffic congestion on 11th street as the station prepares for this project.

Any questions on this process should be directed to Bill Chapin at 402-825-2817.

8/14/2020
Wells Fargo Nebraska Open set for 29th year in September; Pro-am event cancelled but scholarships for colleges continue

Columbus, Neb. - The 29th Wells Fargo Nebraska Open, set for Sept. 11-13 at Elks Country Club in Columbus, will have a completely different look this year.  The usual kickoff event, that starts on Thursday as a Pro-Am coordinated by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD), will not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Open itself will have a distinct Nebraska flavor.

“With the recent COVID-19 surges and various travel restrictions made across the country, the tournament will be restricted to all Nebraska PGA Professionals, amateurs, and non-PGA Professionals.  These players must currently reside within the geographic boundaries of the Nebraska Section PGA to be eligible to compete.  Any player that does not currently reside within the boundaries during the dates of the Wells Fargo Nebraska Open will not be eligible to compete,” said David Honnens, CEO of the Nebraska Section PGA. The Pro-Am event traditionally held the day before the 54-hole tournament, pairing tournament sponsors and professionals, will not be held.

“With the pandemic situation facing the country, it was decided that the pro-am portion of the Nebraska Open would not be held this year for the safety of all those who planned to participate,” said Nebraska Open Event Organizer and NPPD Communication Specialist Christy Avery. Since 1991, more than $1.6 million has been given through scholarships to students who attend one of the five community colleges in Nebraska.  “Now more than ever, these scholarships are essential to help these aspiring scholars fulfill their dreams of obtaining a college degree,” added Central Community College Foundation Executive Director Dean Moors.

The Nebraska Open will start its annual run on Friday, Sept. 11 with a field of Nebraska players being limited to no more than 132 golfers. “We understand that this year’s tournament will look quite different than in years past but with tremendous talent we have in Nebraska I am excited to see this event unfold,” Honnens commented. “Most importantly, I am thrilled that we will continue to provide scholarships for the five community colleges in Nebraska.”  Registration for the tournament can be done at nebraskapga.com The deadline to register is Friday, Sept. 4.  

The Wells Fargo Nebraska Open is endorsed and operated by the Nebraska Section of the PGA and coordinated by Nebraska Public Power District. Its proceeds are donated to the Nebraska Community College Foundation, which awards scholarships to hundreds of needy Nebraska students attending five community colleges in the state. These colleges include Central Community College, Southeast Community College; Northeast Community College, Norfolk; Mid-Plains Community College, and Western Nebraska Community College. For more information on the tournament, including a list of all participants, tee times and past results, please visit nebraskapga.com.

7/14/2020
New electric meters coming to NPPD Plattsmouth customers

Columbus, Neb. - Upgrading electric meters at residences and businesses in Plattsmouth will begin on Monday, July 20, by Nebraska Public Power District crews. Installation of meters is expected to run through the end of July.

In 2020, approximately 24,000 meters in retail communities served by NPPD are being replaced as part of a three-year project by NPPD. There is no charge to the customer for the meter or the installation. NPPD has replaced approximately 67,000 meters the past two years in NPPD retail communities throughout the state.

Prior to installation, the District’s customer service organization will contact retail customers (those who receive a bill from NPPD) via phone to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will switch out the meter at the residence or business and will remove the old one from the premises. During installation (a resident is not required to be at home) there will be a brief interruption of electric service.

When arriving at the residence, the employee responsible for the meter change will be knocking on the door to inform any individuals who are in the “stay-at-home” mode that the meter will be replaced, allowing them time to turn off computers and save work. Employees will also be practicing social distancing when a resident answers the door and while installation work is done.

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 and will include the latest technology in this type of equipment. The new meters display the reading in a digital LCD 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 system helps maintain competitive electric rates for our customers by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Vice President and Retail General Manager Tim Arlt, who noted that NPPD’s retail customers have not had a rate increase over the past six years. “With AMI equipment we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time in restoring power.”

The new AMI meters will continue to be key in providing reliable electric service for customers and provide an additional level of safety for NPPD employees when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance. The new AMI equipment cannot control or monitor any appliances or electronics within a residence.

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

Individuals with questions on the meters and the installation should contact NPPD at 877-275-6773 and speak with a customer care representative.

7/10/2020
NPPD to resume normal bill collection Aug. 1

Columbus, Neb. – During Nebraska Public Power District’s Board of Directors July meeting, it was determined that the assessment of late payment charges will resume beginning Aug. 1, 2020. Disconnections for nonpayment are scheduled to begin at the same time. NPPD will continue to work with each customer on their individual situation, including developing a repayment plan to suit them while helping to get current with their bill.

"As the economy begins to open, NPPD is slowly returning portions of our operations to pre-COVID. We realize that not every customer is completely back on their feet. Still, we are here to help customers through this unprecedented time," says Vice President and General Manager of Retail Tim Arlt.

"NPPD customer service representatives have stayed in contact with customers over the last several months and will continue to do so,” continued Arlt. “We are here to help and there are a variety of options available such as setting up payment arrangements or seeking assistance from NPPD's Pennies for Power financial assistance program, as well as other financial assistance programs available across the state."

NPPD customers experiencing trouble making their monthly NPPD payments are encouraged to call 877-ASK NPPD (275-6773) for information on the bill payment method to best meet their needs. For information on NPPD's Pennies for Power program, contact the United Way of the Midlands at 2-1-1 or (402) 444-6666. Funds are available to help customers in need.

For additional information, visit www.nppd.com/in-your-neighborhood/community/pennies-power.

6/16/2020
Farm equipment striking power lines prompts reminder to look up and look around for safety

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has seen a rise this spring in the number of power line contacts by farm equipment causing a power outage and raising the potential for electrocution to the operator or damage to the equipment.

NPPD is reminding operators and farmers to look up and around for power lines when operating equipment in the fields. An accident of this nature can result in serious or even fatal injuries.

“It’s fortunate that no one has been injured in any of the incidents our crews have responded to this year,” says NPPD Vice-President of Energy Delivery Art Wiese. “We want everyone to be able to go home safe at the end of the workday, and making sure operators know where powerlines are located along their work area, can make that happen.”

If an operator does hit a power line with their equipment, they should contact their local emergency organization at 911 or NPPD at 1-877-ASK-NPPD. When an energized power line lands on a vehicle it can electrify the surrounding area and should be deenergized by a professional, so that the operator can exit the vehicle safely.

For more information see the safety tips below or check out the spring harvest safety video on NPPD’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pqwRQwb-LU.

  • 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.
  • 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 local public power utility to repair them.

6/4/2020
June NPPD Board meeting, committees will be virtual

Columbus, Neb. – The June meeting of the Nebraska Public Power District Board of Directors, including various committee meetings, will be conducted virtually again due to directed health measures surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual monthly meeting will be held Wednesday, June 10 and Thursday, June 11.

The June 10 session will begin at 1 p.m. with the Energy Supply Committee followed at 2:30 p.m. by the Customer and Support Services Committee. Thursday’s session will begin at 9 a.m. with strategic business matters followed by the Board of Directors meeting including the Nuclear Committee of the Whole.

There will be no face-to-face session conducted at NPPD’s General Office in Columbus, and a recording of the June 11 proceedings will be made in place of a livestream archive. Previously, the April and May meetings were conducted under similar conditions.

Access links using Zoom for the June 10-11 meeting are:

All Board members and executive management staff will be included as panelists for the respective Zoom meetings, allowing them to speak and be heard. The public will be able to see and listen and submit comments/questions by using the chat feature within Zoom.

An agenda for the meeting, kept continuously current, is available to the public at https://www.nppd.com/about-us/live-streaming.

5/20/2020
NPPD: maintain social distancing, watch for shallow water, and be on the watch for zebra mussels on watercraft

Columbus, Neb. – While Nebraska Public Power District encourages people to stay home during the pandemic, Memorial Day weekend will potentially bring some out to local waterways owned and operated by the District, weather permitting. NPPD is urging everyone using water resources such as Lake Maloney, Sutherland Reservoir, and the 63-mile long Sutherland Canal system to maintain social distancing requirements and obey all regulations related to boating.

NPPD has been operating Lake Maloney at a lower water level than normal the past few weeks.  In order to safely operate the water system, the lake needs to be operated at a reduced level until further notice and is running approximately six inches below the normal operating level.

NPPD’s Water Systems is responsible for the operation of the North Platte Hydro and providing cooling water for Gerald Gentleman Station. As with most businesses, the coronavirus has forced precautionary restrictions on the work force and the staff operating the North Platte Hydro control room are under even further restrictions. The decision to allow some “cushion” room in Lake Maloney allows for operational flexibility should it be needed as part of the control and safe operation of the system.  

Due to the operational changes, boaters may see more shallow areas in the lake and should be extra cautious.

Also, the beach area at Lake Maloney’s South Beach is currently closed, although the picnic area is open. Day use is allowed at NPPD recreational areas only, with no overnight camping. Check with Nebraska Game & Parks on any restrictions at their campgrounds at Sutherland and Lake Maloney. The District urges those who use those facilities to practice social distancing and to obey all posted regulations at these locations.

Be on the watch for zebra mussels

NPPD also wants to alert boaters of the issue of invasive species and remind them of three simple words: Clean. Drain. Dry. By doing so it will help stop a continuing problem of zebra mussels spreading into lakes and rivers across the Midwest and into Nebraska. Zebra mussels, which look like snails or clams, are small but destructive. They damage boats, clog water intakes and impact the environment of lakes and rivers where they live.

Zebra mussels multiply quickly and, while only the size of a fingernail individually; they attach in groups to solid objects in the water and cause big problems and have caused millions of dollars in damage to water systems and fisheries across the country.

NPPD uses water in the generation of electricity at three key locations including Gerald Gentleman Station by the 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 helps provide low cost, reliable electricity rather than spending ratepayers’ money to control the species.

The Nebraska Invasive Species Program recommends all boaters clean, drain and dry.

  • Clean your boat 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 water from the boat, motor, live wells, ballast tanks and any other equipment holding water. If draining water is not an option, using a cup of diluted bleach will kill zebra mussels.
  • 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 neinvasives.com.

5/18/2020
Spencer, Wiese named to vice president positions at NPPD

Columbus, Neb. – Two new vice presidents were recently announced by Nebraska Public Power District President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Kent. In addition, two current vice presidents were promoted.

Kent announced that John McClure has been promoted to Executive Vice President Governmental Affairs and General Counsel, and Traci Bender was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

He also announced the appointment of two new vice presidents to fill his vacated position of Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “One vice president will be over our energy production organization, and the other will be over our energy delivery organization,” Kent explained in making the appointments. “This will create more future opportunities for leadership growth and development within the organization.”

Michael (Mick) Spencer was named Vice President of Energy Production and Art Wiese was named Vice President of Energy Delivery.

Spencer, employed by NPPD for 36 years, is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering.  He started his career at Cooper Nuclear Station in 1983 and worked there for 15 years in various engineering and supervisory roles and then transitioned to Gerald Gentleman Station where he worked for 10 years and held the positions of technical leader and station manager.

In his current position since 2009, Spencer has been responsible for NPPD’s non-nuclear electrical generating assets, water systems, and energy management and marketing strategies.

Wiese, a 32-year employee of NPPD, is responsible for the overall management and oversight of the District's transmission and distribution assets.

A 1985 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, Wiese joined NPPD as a design engineer in the nuclear engineering department. He spent more than 13 years in various positions in the design engineering group and began transitioning into project management In 2001. He managed the construction of the Beatrice Power Station and the Ainsworth Wind Project.

He managed several other projects before becoming the Corporate Projects Manager in 2006. He moved into the role of Director of Asset and Project Management in 2014, then Transmission and Distribution Manager in 2017, followed by Director of Delivery in 2018. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2011.

5/15/2020
Scams continue to target NPPD customers during pandemic

Columbus, Neb. –  Scammers are using a variety of different methods to steal money from unsuspecting victims during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

These scams range from threatening to shut a Nebraska Public Power District customer’s power off through a text message or requesting a customer to purchase a green dot card to pay a fake overdue bill. Scammers will either text or call a customer and tell them that they must pay their bill immediately or their power will be shut-off. If the customer pays a scammer using a green dot card, or other method such as wire transfer, it makes it very difficult to track or recover the money.

“NPPD has suspended all disconnects and late payment fees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and we are encouraging customers to reach out to us if they are having trouble paying their bill,” says NPPD Vice-President and Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “Scammers will try to confuse or cause panic in order to get what they want, and it’s important for customers to know this is not how NPPD conducts business.”

Scammers will sometimes spoof their real phone number to make it appear as an NPPD number when they are making calls. They will then ask the customer to call them back using a different number in order to make the payments.  

NPPD will not call or text a customer and demand payment or threaten to shut off a customer’s power. If you believe you are a target of a potential scam or are unsure if you are talking to someone from NPPD, hang up the phone and call 1-877-ASK-NPPD.

5/8/2020
As farm equipment heads out to the fields, look up and look out for overhead power lines

Columbus, Neb. –  Now that spring is here and farmers are heading to the fields to plant crops, it’s important to remember to look up, and look out for overhead power lines.  

Hitting a power line with a piece of farm equipment can result in a dangerous, potentially fatal, situation. This is always preventable and requires awareness of where the power lines and poles are, as well as knowing the size of the equipment being used. The first thing to do after making contact with a power line is to call 911 and remain inside the vehicle as the line may still be energized. Law enforcement can contact NPPD or one of the many rural public power districts to respond.

“It’s important that all farm workers look up and around and determine where power lines are before moving large pieces of equipment under them,” said NPPD Vice-President of Energy Delivery Art Wiese. “We most importantly want farmers and their crews to go home safe every day, and if we do that, we also keep the lights on.”

If you’re forced to leave the vehicle, jump as far away as possible from the equipment, making sure no body part touches the tractor and the ground at the same time. It is important to land standing up with both feet together. The individual should then shuffle their feet, making sure to never break contact with the ground or cause separation between the feet. Do not attempt to return to the equipment and always wait for emergency responders and the power utility to respond.

  • 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.
  • 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 local public power utility to repair them.

5/5/2020
NPPD Board of Directors will meet again virtually

Columbus, Neb. – The May meeting of the Nebraska Public Power District Board of Directors will be conducted virtually through a telecast this month due to limited health directives surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual monthly meeting will be conducted Thursday, May 14, beginning at 10 a.m. CDT. It is possible that a portion of the meeting could be held in Executive Session. There will be no face-to-face session conducted at NPPD’s General Office and a recording will be made in place of a livestream archive. Previously, the April meeting was conducted under similar conditions.

The public will be able to participate in the meeting via computer by accessing the following link: https://nppd.zoom.us/j/96260518933. There will be an opportunity to submit public comments during the meeting.

An agenda for the meeting, kept continuously current, is available to the public at https://www.nppd.com/about-us/live-streaming.

5/1/2020
NPPD’s Norfolk residential customers getting new meters

Columbus, Neb. - Upgrading electric meters at residences in Norfolk will begin Monday, May 4, by Nebraska Public Power District crews. Installation of meters is expected to run through the end of July.

In 2020, approximately 24,000 meters in retail communities served by NPPD are being replaced as part of a three-year project by NPPD. There is no charge to the customer for the meter or the installation. NPPD has replaced approximately 67,000 meters the past two years in NPPD retail communities throughout the state.

Prior to installation, the District’s customer service organization will contact retail customers (those who receive a bill from NPPD) in Norfolk via phone to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will switch out the meter at the residence or business and will remove the old one from the premises. During installation (a resident is not required to be at home) there will be a brief interruption of electric service.

When arriving at the residence, the employee responsible for the meter change will be knocking on the door to inform any individuals who are in the “stay-at-home” mode that the meter will be replaced, allowing them time to turn off computers and save work. Employees will also be practicing social distancing when a resident answers the door and while installation work is done.

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 and will include the latest technology in this type of equipment. The new meters display the reading in a digital LCD 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 system helps maintain competitive electric rates for our customers by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Vice President and Retail General Manager Tim Arlt, who noted that NPPD’s retail customers have not had a rate increase over the past six years. “With AMI equipment we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time in restoring power.”

The new AMI meters will continue to be key in providing reliable electric service for customers and provide an additional level of safety for NPPD employees when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance. The new AMI equipment cannot control or monitor any appliances or electronics within a residence.

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

Individuals with questions on the meters and the installation should contact NPPD at 877-275-6773 and speak with a customer care representative.

4/24/2020
Diamond RP3 designation earned by NPPD . . . again

Columbus, Neb. - For the second time since 2017, Nebraska Public Power District has earned a Diamond Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3)® designation from the American Public Power Association for providing reliable and safe electric service.  

“Receiving this designation for a second time recognizes NPPD as one of the best in the nation based on the criteria,” said Vice President and Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “Our teammates take tremendous pride in all we do for the benefit of our customers, and we aim to provide top-notch service for them. This is a high bar achieved by a small percentage of public power utilities in the country.”

The RP3 designation, which lasts for three years, recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development, and system improvement. Criteria include sound business practices and a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity. NPPD joins more than 275 public power utilities nationwide that hold the RP3 designation.  NPPD was originally honored in 2017 for the first time.

Application questions for this designation were comprehensive, according to Arlt, and were focused on the four criteria areas, and more specifically demographics, security, mutual aid, benchmarking, succession planning and employee development, financial health, system maintenance and more.

“This is a great honor,” said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope. “We take a lot of pride in the work we do to power communities throughout Nebraska. It’s nice to be recognized as among the ‘best of the best’ on a national level.”

A panel of experts from public power judged NPPD’s qualifications before awarding a Diamond RP3 utility ranking, the highest achievement above gold and platinum.

“Receiving an RP3 designation is a great honor and demonstrates a utility’s commitment to implementing industry best practices in utility operations,” says Aaron Haderle, Chair of the Association’s RP3 Review Panel and Manager of Transmission and Distribution Operations at Kissimmee Utility Authority, Florida. “RP3 utilities are consistently looking to improve their workforce, system reliability, and safety to serve their communities better.”

4/23/2020
Power outage scheduled for Elm Creek Sunday morning

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) retail customers in Elm Creek will experience an outage this Sunday, April 26 due to work on power lines that serve the community.

The outage is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and is estimated to last until 12 p.m., while crews work to remove an old feeder line that connects to the Elm Creek city substation. The old feeder line is on the same structures as a distribution line that also connects to the Elm Creek city substation and is currently delivering power to the town. In order to remove the old line safely, the power will need to be taken offline for the scheduled period.

Work will continue on the line this spring and into the summer, and a new feeder line will be installed where the old one was located.

“This work is being done so that NPPD can continue to provide reliable power to the city of Elm Creek,” says NPPD Distribution Superintendent Jamie Becker. “There is never a great time to take an outage, but our team will be working as safely and efficiently as possible to get the scheduled work done in a safe and timely manner.”

NPPD representatives have reached out to customers who will be impacted, to notify them of the planned outage. If an NPPD retail customer is unsure if they will be affected by the outage, they can contact the NPPD Customer Service Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD.

4/21/2020
Melbeta, Minatare NPPD outage moved to Tuesday

Columbus, Neb. – With projected weather to hit the Panhandle region, a planned power outage in Melbeta and Minatare to put a new substation into service set for last Thursday has been moved to Tuesday, April 21.

An outage was conducted March 18 so construction work could be completed on the new substation and Tuesday’s outage will allow the new substation to be placed into service.

There will be two separate outages, the first impacting approximately 414 customers in Minatare and some customers in the rural area northeast of Minatare. That outage will begin at 9 a.m. Mountain time, and is estimated to last until 12 p.m. The second outage will impact approximately 208 customers in Melbeta and will begin at 1:30 p.m., lasting approximately three hours.

“Our plan was to complete the work Thursday, but with weather projections being called for we realized that this would not be a suitable time to take an outage,” NPPD District Superintendent Dennis Wademan said. “We understand the inconvenience a power outage can cause, but we appreciate the patience of our customers as this necessary work is completed.

“The two older substations are reaching their end of life and this work will help sustain the reliability of NPPD’s system in these communities. “There is never a great time to take a power outage, but our crews will be doing their best to get the work completed as safely and efficiently as possible Tuesday.”

Customers who will be impacted by this outage will be notified by NPPD prior to the outage takes place.

4/16/2020
Dia named general manager at Cooper Nuclear Station

Columbus, Neb. – Khalil Dia, a 24-year employee at Nebraska Public Power District’s Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville, has been named General Manager of Plant Operations (GMPO) effective May 1, replacing Joe Sullivan who has been named General Manager at Entergy’s Arkansas One Nuclear Power Station.

“I am very pleased with the selection of Khalil as our next general manager,” said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope. “We have an agreement with Entergy to provide support services to Cooper that has been very effective with staff they have brought in. This will mark the first time since this agreement has been in place that we have had an NPPD employee in this role. I am confident in Khalil’s ability to handle this critical position and continue the expected excellent performance at CNS. I also want to wish Joe Sullivan the best in his new position and thank him for his outstanding effort in our operations.”

Dia has served as Engineering Director at CNS where he was responsible for the engineering department including reactor and fuel engineering since 2016.  After three years  working at Arizona Public Service’s Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station as a design engineer, Dia  joined NPPD in 1996 as a System Engineer at Cooper and later became System Engineering Supervisor in 2010 and System Engineering Manager in 2012, before his move to Engineering Director.

Sullivan will transition to the general manager role at Arkansas Nuclear One, where he will report to the site Vice President.

Dia will report to Vice-President and Chief Nuclear Officer John Dent. “I’m very excited that we have someone of Khalil’s caliber right here at Cooper that is ready to step into the role of GMPO,” said Dent. “Khalil is a gifted, dedicated hard working leader who, in his 24 plus years at Cooper, has made an indelible mark on the culture at the station, particularly related to teamwork as well as the operational reliability of the plant.

“He’s dedicated his career to driving Cooper’s equipment reliability to be one of the best in the industry. Moving into the role of GMPO here at Cooper is the perfect, natural fit for Khalil. I’m looking forward to continuing to work closely with him as we strive to be the best of the best in the industry.”

A resident of Nebraska City, Dia is a graduate of Arizona State University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and has done graduate course work at Arizona State.

Sullivan’s came to CNS in 2019 as part of the Entergy management team. He was previously director of performance improvement at Entergy’s nuclear headquarters in Jackson, Miss.

“Joe’s been a great addition to the Cooper team,” Dent said. “His work ethic, experience, positive attitude and team spirit have contributed positively to Cooper’s journey of becoming the best performing plant in the industry. Although Joe will surely be missed at Cooper, he’ll be a great addition to the ANO team.”

4/3/2020
April NPPD Board meeting will be aired by electronic means

Columbus, Neb. – The April meeting of the Nebraska Public Power District Board of Directors will be conducted by electronic means this month due to the emergency conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual monthly meeting will be conducted  on Thursday, April 9, 2020, beginning at 10 a.m. CDT. It is possible that a portion of the meeting could be held in Executive Session. There will be no face-to-face session conducted at NPPD’s General Office and it is expected that a recording will be made in place of a livestream archive.

The public will be able to participate in the meeting via computer by accessing the following link: https://nppd.zoom.us/j/653425922. There will be opportunity to submit public comments during the meeting.

An agenda for the meeting, kept continuously current, is available to the public at https://www.nppd.com/about-us/live-streaming.

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