News Releases

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.

3/20/2020
Scam bill payment calls growing during COVID-19 outbreak; NPPD offers recommendations to thwart fraudulent attempts

Columbus, Neb. – With Nebraskans dealing with challenging times due to the COVID-19 outbreak, phone scammers are still on the prowl according to Nebraska Public Power District.

NPPD reported a growing number of scam calls being reported by customers Thursday night.

“Unfortunately, this is the type of scam that impacts many of our customers periodically and are coming at a time that is difficult for our customers,.” said NPPD Vice-President and 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, especially during these difficult times for all.”

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.

For more information concerning scam calls, view https://www.nppd.com/accounts-billing/scams.

3/19/2020
NPPD launches new app and notification system for retail customers

Columbus, Neb. - Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) retail customers now have access to a new mobile app and web portal to pay bills and report outages, in addition to a new email notification system that will update them on outages to their service.

NPPD’s previous app, which launched in 2015, was removed from mobile app stores in February 2020, in preparation for the launch of the new app in March. The new app offers more in-depth features including online bill pay, access to outage information and high energy usage notifications.  

“At a time when social distancing is so important, the new NPPD mobile app and web portal will provide a lot of convenient features for our retail customers from the comfort and safety of their homes,” says NPPD Vice-President and Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “In addition, we think this new app will give our customers the best ability to control and monitor their energy usage year-round.”

Anyone currently using the old web portal will need to re-register on the new system, through either the new web portal or new mobile app. Both offer the same features, so customers can use whichever option they prefer. The old customer web portal will no longer accept payments, and outages can no longer be reported through the old app. If a customer is signed up for automatic payments, their payments will continue uninterrupted.

Additionally, residential retail customers will now receive email notifications if a planned or unplanned power outage occurs to their service as long as NPPD has their email on file. Customers will receive these notifications whether they use the new app and portal or not. This is a change from the old system, where all customers would receive a phone call if a planned outage was scheduled to occur. Phone calls will still be placed to residential customers with critical needs and non-residential customers.

“The change in our notification system is another advancement that has taken place as technology improves and people have more access to mobile and non-mobile devices that can receive emails,” noted Arlt. “This new system will allow us to get information to the end-use customer in a very timely fashion, whenever an outage occurs to their service.”

The new web portal can be accessed at https://onlineaccount.nppd.com/Portal/ and the app can be found on both the iOS and Android app stores by searching NPPD or Nebraska Public Power District. Customers with additional questions about the new app or email notification systems can contact NPPD’s Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD (1-877-275-6773).

3/17/2020
NPPD suspends “walk-in traffic” at customer service centers

Columbus, Neb. - Due to the COVID-19 outbreak Nebraska Public Power District is suspending all “walk-in traffic” at its service centers around the state beginning Wednesday, March 18 until further notice. This decision by the District is based on guidance from state and federal agencies and is in the best interest of the safety and health of NPPD customers and employees.

Service centers in Aurora, Chadron, Kearney, Norfolk, McCook, Ogallala, O’Neill, Plattsmouth, Scottsbluff and York are affected.

NPPD provides a critical service to the state and the District wants to limit undue exposure to its employees and customers as much as possible. The transmission and distribution operations at each of the service centers will remain in operation to ensure reliable electric service throughout the state.

NPPD offers several, convenient ways to pay a bill and manage an account without visiting a public office.  Please visit www.nppd.com for available payment options and to manage accounts online with NPPD On The Go!.  

NPPD representatives are also available via phone for questions, payment arrangements, billing and account information, or if needing to keep electric service intact, by calling  877-275-6773 (877-ASK- NPPD) Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.  Outage reporting is available 24 x 7 via phone and online with NPPD On the Go!

Information on the status of the service centers and other information related to NPPD can be found on Nebraska Public Power District’s Facebook and Twitter account (@NPPDNews).

3/16/2020
Outage planned for Melbeta, Minatare and surrounding area to complete substation work

Columbus, Neb. - Construction work on a new substation that will serve Nebraska Public Power District customers in Minatare, Melbeta and the surrounding rural area, will cause an outage for those customers on Wednesday, March 18 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mountain time.

NPPD Distribution Superintendent Dennis Wademan says the outage is needed so that crews can safely install new sub-transmission poles that will support the new substation.

“We want to keep the outage time to a minimum because we know it is inconvenient for people no matter what day or time it takes place,” noted Wademan. “But the outage will have to occur so we can complete the required work in a safe manner. This new substation will help us to continue providing reliable energy service to these two communities and the surrounding rural area moving into the future.”  The reason for the timespan of the outage is due to prep-work for the construction that can only be completed while the outage is occurring.

“Our crews will be working as efficiently and safely as they possibly can so the impact on the customer is as short as possible,” added Wademan. “Safely generating and delivering reliable energy is our mission at NPPD, and we are very appreciative of our customers understanding while we complete this work.”

NPPD is contacting all customers who are being affected by the outage, both residential and commercial, to help make the transition through the outage as smooth as possible.

3/12/2020
Tom Kent named new NPPD President, CEO

Columbus, Neb. – Current Nebraska Public Power District Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Thomas Kent was officially named as President and Chief Executive Officer of the utility, following approval by the Board of Directors Thursday.

A native of Tilden, Neb., Kent has been with the utility for 30 years, including the last nine years in his current position. He replaces Pat Pope who announced in February he was stepping down from his position at the end of April and will focus on e-connectivity and future generation strategies for NPPD as a special assistant to the CEO.

“It’s an honor to be selected by the Board to serve as the next CEO of NPPD. I have been very fortunate over my career to work in many parts of the District, and I have experienced first-hand the talent and dedication of my teammates across the state to providing low-cost, highly reliable energy and outstanding service to our customers,” Kent remarked after the Board’s decision.

“The strength of public power is our direct accountability to our customers through a publicly elected Board of Directors. NPPD, under the guidance of our Board, CEO Pope, and previous CEOs, has delivered outstanding results for our fellow Nebraskans for 50 years. I look forward to leading this talented team as we continue to transform our organization to meet the changing needs of our customers for the next 50 years and beyond.

“As board members, we have had the opportunity to observe Tom’s knowledge, leadership and integrity and the Board’s executive committee felt strongly that he is the right person to succeed Pat Pope,” commented NPPD Board Chair Barry DeKay. “We believe it is important to develop leadership internally so that we have potential successors who know our organization, our culture, our customers and our employees. Tom brought us these attributes.’

During the past nine years Kent has provided executive leadership over NPPD’s non-nuclear operations and has overseen more than $700 million of new investment in NPPD’s transmission system. He also serves as the District’s Chief Electric Reliability Compliance Officer accountable for compliance with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation reliability and cyber-security standards.

A key effort during his recent tenure was leading a negotiating team responsible for attracting Monolith Materials to Nebraska. That operation will become the largest electrical load in the state when fully operational and will provide an opportunity for NPPD to reduce carbon emissions by approximately 10% by using hydrogen produced in Monolith’s manufacturing process as a fuel for generating electricity.

“The move by Monolith Materials to Nebraska is certainly an economic driver for the state,” Kent commented, noting that the first unit of that facility is nearing completion and will soon be in operation. “Our next step in this process is to complete the design and engineering of the conversion at Sheldon Station and eventually begin operations where hydrogen is used as a fuel in generating electricity and replacing coal.”

Prior to his recent position, Kent was the Transmission and Distribution Manager and also the Corporate Planning and Risk Manager. He has held numerous positions across the District in Columbus, Scottsbluff, Ogallala and at Cooper Nuclear Station. Kent is a veteran of the US Navy having served as an instructor at the Naval Nuclear Power School. He is also a graduate of the Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He is a registered professional electrical engineer in the State of Nebraska and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He recently chaired the Southwest Power Pool’s Holistic Integrated Tariff Team and serves on the Members Committee and Human Resources Committee. He currently is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Midwest Reliability Organization and serves on the Board of Directors of RMEL, an energy trade association.

Away from the industry, Kent is an active volunteer with the Mid-America Council of the Boy Scouts of America, where he was awarded the Silver Beaver Award for distinguished service to youth and serves on the Council Board of Directors.

He and his wife, Dacia, reside in Columbus.

2/27/2020
City of Mitchell, NPPD agree on system operation agreement

Mitchell, Neb. – With an affirmative vote earlier this month by its city council, the City of Mitchell has entered into a contract with Nebraska Public Power District for an electric system operation agreement for the community. NPPD will be responsible for maintaining the community’s electric system, for a period of five years as a final contract was signed this past week.

There will be little change that Mitchell residents and businesses will see other than NPPD’s orange-bumpered trucks doing future maintenance on the city-owned electric distribution system.  Crews based out of NPPD’s Scottsbluff Operations Center that also serve numerous Panhandle communities will be responsible for the maintenance of the system. There will be no change in the monthly electric billing from the city or process for reporting an outage or service problem.

Mitchell City Manager Perry Mader noted that the move to utilizing NPPD’s local crews was due to the difficulty in hiring lineman and the difficulty keeping that line item in the city budget. “Business in Mitchell with the electric grid will not change,” Mader said previously. “We will still own and operate our own electric grid. NPPD will be handling the maintenance we need with their crews out of Scottsbluff.”

The agreement calls for NPPD to begin providing maintenance in Mitchell that will be fully in effect by June 1, 2020.  The District’s presence will be seen in the community over the next several weeks reviewing the local system to become familiar with what already exists and will be working with the city on any maintenance issues and improvements in the future. NPPD has similar agreements, called Electric System Operation Agreements with several communities, including Lexington and South Sioux City.

“We have a professional and highly-trained crew of journey linemen that handle the distributions lines in Scottsbluff and other local communities,” said NPPD’s Scottsbluff Superintendent Dennis Wademan. “Our crews respond as soon as possible to power outages in those communities and we typically have outages remedied within a short period of time. We plan to carry out the same level of service to the Mitchell community as we do in other communities we serve.”

Mader encourages Mitchell citizens to contact city hall prior to June 1, 2020, to update personal contact information to ensure that the city has the most current data in their system before the call answering portion of the agreement is final.

For the time being, any power outages reported after normal business hours or weekends remains the same. If there is a loss of power contact the Mitchell City Hall with calls that will be answered by the Scotts Bluff County Communications Center until NPPD has completed testing with the city and confirmed the call answering services are in place. Full implementation is expected to take up to 90 days from March 1, 2020.

2/25/2020
NPPD cutting ribbon on new community solar facility

Columbus, Neb. – The time has come to celebrate the launch of a new community solar farm with the official ribbon cutting for the Scottsbluff II project.

The new addition to the Scottsbluff community’s renewable energy portfolio is set to go live on March 1, with the ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. March 2. “We are very excited to cut the ribbon and celebrate the official launch of Scottsbluff II,” says Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) Vice-President and Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “The Scottsbluff II project is a great partnership between the city of Scottsbluff – NPPD and N-Solar and these combined efforts are what made this project a reality.”

Speakers at Monday’s ribbon cutting will include Scottsbluff Mayor Raymond Gonzales, City Manager Nathan Johnson, representatives from N-Solar and NPPD subdivision 5 Board Director and Scottsbluff resident Charlie Kennedy. The ceremony is set to take place in the Landers Memorial Soccer Complex parking lot at 4205 5th Avenue just outside the new solar facility.

NPPD worked with N-Solar, who was brought on as the developer for the 4.375-megawatt solar project. A project that is expected to provide $2 to $2.5 million in energy cost savings to the City of Scottsbluff over a 25-year agreement period with the capability to generate the same amount of energy needed to power approximately 665 homes when operating at full capacity.

In the event of inclement weather, the ribbon cutting will be rescheduled.

For more information on the NPPD Community Solar program, check out nppd.com/sunwise.

2/25/2020
State Open Championship to be hosted in Columbus

Columbus, Neb. – The regular season of CREATE Open Robotics competitions is coming to an end and teams are preparing to take their talents to the Nebraska Open State Championship in Columbus, Feb. 29.

Robotics teams have been working all season to perfect their robots and improve them for the challenges they are tasked with during the CREATE Open Tournaments Powered by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD).  During these tournaments the teams are randomly paired up with teams from other communities and are given a set of challenges that they must work together to complete to earn points.

“Competitive robotics introduces students to technical workforce skills, problem solving, teamwork, and innovation,” says Senior Energy Education Specialist Chad Johnson. “This tournament will give Nebraska teams a chance to show off those skills on a big stage and compete against the most talented students from around the state.” NPPD sponsors the Open division tournaments because of the focus on innovation and technical workforce skills including electrical engineering.

There are approximately 33 teams participating from 10 different communities including Axtell High School, Omaha North Magnet High School, Hampton High School, Holdrege Public Schools, St. Paul High School, Nebraska Christian High School, Columbus High School, Heartland Community High School, Hampton High School, Cross County Schools, Millard West High School, Lakeview High School and Aurora YETI-botics.

“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.

For those who would like to check out the tournament but are unable to make the trip to Columbus Lakeview High School, their will be a student broadcast watchable online at https://striv.tv/channel/lakeview/.

Following the Nebraska Open State Championship, teams will be preparing to participate in the U.S. Open Championship which is scheduled to start April 2 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

2/17/2020
NPPD process ensures customer safety, grid reliability before starting a renewable energy project

Columbus, Neb. – Interest in building renewable energy resources, specifically solar generation and battery storage, continues to grow in Nebraska, and Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants to make sure customers are aware of steps that need to be taken before beginning construction on such projects.

These renewable resources are referred to as renewable distributed generation (DG) and they must be connected to a public electric system. NPPD encourages customers interested in adding DG to their home or business, to start by reaching out to their local public power utility to see if the project is viable and to evaluate projected savings.

NPPD has developed a process to ensure it can appropriately maintain the reliability of its electric system and public safety during installation and operation of renewable DG projects. Electric consumers, developers and contractors investing in a project are required to utilize this process, which begins with a form called the “Interconnection Application for NPPD Approval to Connect Distributed or Local Generation.”

This form allows end-use customers to submit formal notification to NPPD regarding their proposed project. Under the process, NPPD maintains the right to approve or deny any DG project that affects the electric system, including DG projects developed prior to these procedures.

“NPPD looks forward to actively partnering with all interested in undertaking a renewable DG project in a way that greatly minimizes impacts to our grid and community members,” said NPPD Senior Project Coordinator Tom Pillen. “NPPD also wants end-use customers to make an educated choice about their solar project.”

NPPD recommends using its customer-owned solar calculator to estimate potential savings and compare options when considering a solar project.

In turn, NPPD has also implemented and continues to explore opportunities for several community solar projects in retail communities throughout Nebraska. These projects avoid the up-front costs of customer-owned solar while still giving customers the chance to participate in renewable energy.

NPPD.com has a variety of resources available to help you make a sound decision on any DG project. The DG generation form and related details, as well as the solar calculator, a solar project contractor checklist, educational videos, current incentives and loans, and more, are available on nppd.com/powering-nebraska/solar.

2/13/2020
Pat Pope stepping down as NPPD President, CEO

Columbus, Neb. – With a career of more than 40 years with Nebraska Public Power District, including the past nine as President and Chief Executive Officer, Pat Pope announced during Thursday’s Board of Directors meeting he plans to step down as President and CEO.

He expects to remain available to assist with transition and continue working on the District’s generation options for the future and rural e-connectivity initiatives.

In making the announcement to the Board Pope said, “I didn’t know how long I would stay with NPPD when I began working here.  As the years went by. the opportunities kept coming. I stayed with the District and learned to appreciate what public power really means to our customers and the state.” He acknowledged that 20 years into his 40 year journey he was fortunate enough to be promoted to Vice President, and the electric industry began to deregulate and decarbonization became an issue. His tenure as President and CEO is the second longest in the 50 year history of NPPD, with Durwood ‘Woody’ Hill serving 12 years from 1970 to 1982.

“It has been a pleasure working with Pat and I wish him and his wife Jackie the best in the coming years,” said Board Chair Barry DeKay. “Some may be surprised with this announcement but Pat has been talking to the executive committee of the Board for the past few months to ensure a smooth leadership transition.”

DeKay explained that as a result of those conversations, Tom Kent, currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer has been in discussions with the executive committee of the Board to replace Pope.  It is expected that the executive committee of the Board will recommend hiring Kent at  the March Board of Directors meeting.

“Today the District enjoys a strong financial position, wholesale and retail rates are stable and very competitive, and our operations are running well,” he commented.  In looking at key developments in recent years under his leadership he pointed out that retail rates have remained stable going into a seventh consecutive year and wholesale rates for the past three years, Cooper Nuclear Station has earned excellence ratings from the Institute of Nuclear Plant Operators two of the past three evaluation cycles, a conversion project to burn hydrogen rather than coal as a fuel at Sheldon Station is currently in the design phase, and Gerald Gentleman Station continues to be one of the most cost effective power plants in the country. Additionally, NPPD’s carbon free energy mix for Nebraska customers has averaged roughly 60 percent over the past five years, reaching 68 percent in 2019.

“And while I know the future will be different, a solid foundation has been laid to help ensure the District’s ongoing success,” he added  “After nine years as president and chief executive officer, now seems like a good time for me move on to the next chapter in my life. Tomorrow is promised to no one, and Jackie and I have lots bucket list items to begin checking off.”

“I want to thank the Board and the entire NPPD team for giving me one of the best experiences an old Nebraska farm boy could have hoped for. NPPD is a great organization made up of wonderful people and I have no doubt it will serve the residents of Nebraska well for many years to come.”

Pope graduated  from the University of Nebraska in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and earned a master’s degree in Business Administration in 1995. He joined NPPD in December 1979 as an Electrical Engineer and has also held the positions of Distribution Planning Engineer, District Operations Superintendent, Regional Operations Superintendent, Regional Manager, Energy Control Center Manager and Vice President of Transmission Services.

He was appointed Vice President of Energy Delivery in October of 2003 followed in November of 2004 being named Vice President of Energy Supply. In January of 2008 he was appointed Vice President & Chief Operating Officer and in April of 2011 he was appointed President & CEO.

2/3/2020
Drone work to be completed in northeast Nebraska

Columbus, Neb. – Residents in northeast Nebraska may be seeing some drones flying around, as inspection work begins on a Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) transmission line that extends from north of Norfolk, through Pierce County and into Antelope County.

Work is scheduled to begin Feb. 10, when drones will be used to take photos of structures along the high-powered transmission line. The photos are being taken so that NPPD can assess any maintenance work that may need to be completed along the line.

NPPD’s contractor, Valmont Utility, a business segment of Valmont Industries, Inc., will be conducting the drone work over a period of approximately five weeks and will be utilizing up to two drones simultaneously.  

“We recently conducted similar work on a transmission line in Filmore County, and as we begin drone work in Madison, Pierce and Antelope counties, we want people to be aware of what’s going on,” says NPPD T&D Construction and Maintenance Manager Scott Walz. “The drones will be flying along our transmission lines and will only be operating during daytime hours.”

The drones will not be operating until at least 30 minutes after sunrise and will finish operating at least 30 minutes before sunset.

“Valmont partners with our key utility customers to understand the conditions of the assets required for grid reliability,” says Angi Chamberlain, Director of Quality for Valmont Utility. “The use of drones, or UAS, to survey and monitor the conditions of existing utility infrastructure allows a minimally invasive method to quickly ensure assets are in compliance with the original specifications and will maintain structural integrity over their lifetime. This is the most effective way to monitor the reliability of these critical assets,” adds Chamberlain.

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About Valmont Utility

Valmont® Utility is a global leader developing structures that enable electric power to be transferred from the generation source—power generation facility or renewable source such as a solar and wind production—to the end power consumer. As an industry-leading provider of transmission and distribution poles, transmission towers, substation components and renewable energy generation equipment, and a global manufacturing network, Valmont Utility excels in supply chain logistics in service, performance and delivery. For more information, visit valmontutility.com.

About Valmont Industries, Inc.

Valmont® is a global leader, designing and manufacturing engineered products that support global infrastructure development and agricultural productivity. Its products for infrastructure serve highway, transportation, wireless communication, electric transmission, and industrial construction and energy markets. Its irrigation equipment and services for large-scale agriculture improve farm productivity while conserving fresh water resources. In addition, Valmont provides coatings services that protect against corrosion and improve the service life of steel and other metal products. For more information, visit valmont.com.

1/24/2020
Scottsbluff II Solar shares selling fast

Columbus, Neb. – Shares for the Scottsbluff II Solar project are selling fast, with the project coming close to selling out its available shares.

Shares for the 4.375-megawatt solar farm opened for registration on Jan. 2, 2020. In just under a month, over 90 percent of the Scottsbluff II shares have already been purchased. A small percentage of the residents who have reserved shares still need to confirm that they intend to keep their shares but following their confirmation only a small number of shares remain.

“Businesses and residents were initially capped at how many shares they could purchase,” says NPPD Vice-President and General Manager of Retail Tim Arlt. “Our goal is to provide everyone an opportunity to participate in the community solar program if they choose too, so as we get closer to selling out the shares, we want to make sure residents are aware of the opportunity to participate.”

The first community solar project, located near NPPD’s Scottsbluff facility, was well received and sold out immediately before going online in 2017.

Customers who purchased shares from the first community solar project paid a higher premium to participate, something that will change moving forward. As the second solar project comes online, customers who have purchased shares from both the first and second project will see a credit on their bill. The solar share prices will be blended together resulting in a production cost savings to all solar program participants.

“It’s also important to reiterate that the community solar projects are not subsidized in any way,” notes Arlt. “If a community chooses not to participate in a community solar project, they will not pay any costs associated with the projects established in other communities. Through work with our partner communities, NPPD has established clear guidelines that prohibit cost shifts or subsidies.”

To find out more information or to request shares for the Scottsbluff Community Solar project, go to https://sunwise.nppd.com.

1/23/2020
2020 Aurora Open & Innovation Showcase to be aired Live

Aurora, Neb. – The 2020 Aurora Open & Innovation Showcase is set to be the biggest in the event’s history and will be the first ever CREATE Open robotics competition in Nebraska televised statewide.

Outside of the US Open Championship, for robotics, this will be the largest and most unique CREATE Open Powered by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) event of the year. The robotics competition is taking place on Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Hamilton County Fairground in Aurora, beginning at 8 a.m.

The competition will be broadcast live from 1 to 5 p.m. on News Channel Nebraska (NCN) on local airwaves across the state. “Our future as a State in the knowledge economy depends on our ability to train a tech capable workforce. NPPD understands the value in STEM education and News Channel Nebraska wants to showcase this one-of-a-kind student competition,” noted NCN founder and owner Mike Flood. “If you worry about our future, watch this programming to find out how Nebraska farm kids solve problems that middle age folks have a hard time understanding.”

The robotics 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. “And the chance for this to be aired on live TV for others to experience is really exciting.”

The Aurora Open will engage nearly 80 community volunteers and 50 robotics teams from Omaha North Magnet High School, Norfolk Junior High School, York Middle School, Columbus High School, Chase County High School, Axtell High School, Holdrege Schools, Gothenburg Secondary School, St. Paul Public Schools, Nebraska Christian Schools, St. Edward High School, Brownell Talbot Schools, Hampton High School, Heartland Community High School, Cross County High School, Millard West High School, Lakeview High School, Central Community College – Columbus, Waverly 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.

1/21/2020
Electrocution incident reminds of importance of safety around power lines

Columbus, Neb. – A recent incident that resulted in a Kearney resident getting electrocuted was fortunately not fatal but reminds every one of the importance of safety around power lines.

The incident occurred over the weekend when the resident attempted to work on or near a power pole and suffered injuries from electrocution after getting too close to the power lines.

“The safety of our teammates and our customers is our highest priority. We cannot stress enough that the general public needs to stay away from power lines and stay off any associated equipment in order to avoid injury,” says Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) Director of Delivery Art Wiese. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the resident who was injured, and we hope injuries like this can be avoided in the future.”

NPPD wants to use this opportunity to remind people that it is important to be safety minded when working around power lines. Minimum clearance distances (meaning how close you, or anything you are touching, should come to a utility-owned power line), is 10 feet, and goes up to 20 feet at the higher voltages in NPPD’s system.  In addition, if you come across a downed power line it is important to stay clear of the area and notify your local public power district immediately so that they can deenergize the line.

“Winter storms can cause power lines to get knocked down, and it is just as important for the general public to be aware of the danger of these situations as it is for those who are working around power lines,” noted Wiese. “If you come across a powerline that looks like it has been damaged, stay away from the area and call the power district as soon as you can. It is critical to let trained professionals handle the situation and avoid severe, and potentially fatal, injuries.”

NPPD encourages the public to be aware in storm conditions this winter and review numerous safety tips on its website at https://www.nppd.com/outages-safety/electrical-safety. NPPD customers can call 1-877-ASK-NPPD or go to NPPD.com to report an outage or damaged power line.

1/20/2020
Western Nebraska communities set for meter replacements

Columbus, Neb. - Upgrading electric meters at residences and businesses will begin Monday, Jan. 27 for a number of communities in western Nebraska. Nebraska Public Power District crews will initially be replacing meters in Broadwater, Lisco, Oshkosh, Lewellen, Brandon, Venango, Madrid and Elsie to start the project. Once those eight communities have their meters replaced, work will start in Brule, Big Springs, Sutherland and Ogallala.

In 2020 approximately 24,000 meters in retail communities served by NPPD will be 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.

Prior to installation, the District’s customer service organization will contact retail customers (those who receive a bill from NPPD) in those communities 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. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a brief 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 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 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 its customers and provide an additional level of safety for NPPD employees when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance. The new 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.

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

1/17/2020
New emergency app now available for Cooper Nuclear Station

Brownville, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District has something that every cell phone user in the area around Cooper Nuclear Station needs when it comes to emergency information.

NPPD now has an app available for emergency planning information for Cooper Nuclear Station that can be downloaded to an IPhone or Android device. This information has been issued in a printed version in the past with the app now taking its place along with information posted on the NPPD website.

“Information that has been available through the printed calendars is now readily available in an app that the public will have at their fingertips,” said CNS Emergency Preparedness Manager Larry Mocnik. “There is also a link to NPPD’s Twitter account, plus individuals can sign up for emergency notifications through Nemaha County in Nebraska and Atchison County in Missouri that would include weather conditions.”

The new app provides information on all four of the emergency classification levels in the event of an actual emergency, plus provides a listing of various radio and television stations that could be tuned in to listen for any specific instructions.  An informative section on shelter in place and what to do in an evacuation is available, including evacuation routes and locations of designated reception centers.

A complete download is available of emergency information that was used in the calendars in the past.

“While we make this information available, our goal at the plant is that we will operate safely for employees and the public in the future,” Mocnik added. “We understand that some people may not have a cell phone so we can still  provide those individuals with printed information.”  An individual can call 402-825-3811 to obtain a copy of the information or request a NOAA/EAS radio.

The “NPPD Emergency Planning” app is available through the Apple and Android stores at no cost. The same information can be downloaded at https://nppd.com/ep.

1/15/2020
Scammers use new meter installations as a chance to target customers

Columbus, Neb. – As Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) works to install new, upgraded digital meters around the state, scammers are trying to take advantage of customers by threatening them with shutting off their power.

NPPD received several reports Wednesday of scammers calling both NPPD customers and customers of other public power districts across the state to try and extort money. The scammers pose as an NPPD representative and tell the customers they will shut off their power if they do not pay hundreds of dollars for their “new” meter.

“NPPD is currently in the process of installing digital meters in several communities across the state, and there is no charge to the customer when this work is done,” says NPPD Vice-President and General Manager of Retail 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.”

NPPD is currently installing meters in the Scottsbluff area, and NPPD has received a report of a customer in that area being targeted by this scam.

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.

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