News Releases

8/2/2021
NPPD hosting SunWise community solar open house Aug. 10

Ainsworth, Neb. – Residential and commercial customers of Nebraska Public Power District who live in Ainsworth will have the opportunity to learn more about the city’s SunWise community solar program on Tuesday, Aug. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. at  the Ainsworth Community Building meeting room at 606 E. 4th St. The solar facility, already under construction, is expected to come online early this fall.

Ainsworth residents are encouraged to attend the open house to learn more about the project including the impact it may have on their electric bill, as well as all details of the program including portability and any specific requirements or restrictions, plus can ask questions of NPPD staff involved in solar development. Interested residents will also have the opportunity to sign up during the open house. Ainsworth customers will be limited to 10 shares they will be able to purchase. In total there are 224 shares available.

GRNE Solar, based out of Lincoln, Neb., is the solar developer for the 500-kilowatt project. GRNE will sell electricity generated by the solar facility to NPPD, and NPPD will resell this energy to Ainsworth solar subscribers at cost. NPPD already has existing solar facilities operating in Kearney, Scottsbluff and Venango amounting to approximately 10.5 megawatts in size.

“The community solar program enables NPPD to partner with its retail communities interested in pursuing their own solar projects,” said NPPD General Manager Retail Services Pat Hanrahan. “Under this program, NPPD works with the community and a selected developer to purchase the output of a solar unit. End-use customers can then participate in the program and pay for shares via their electric bill.”

The facility will generate enough electricity to serve the equivalent of approximately 75-100 homes when the sun is shining and will be known as Solar Bundle One, LLC. The estimated completion date is fall of 2021.  

Only those residential and commercial customers who receive a bill from NPPD are eligible to purchase solar shares. When shares are fully subscribed a waiting list will be developed and those on the list will be contacted when shares become available.  

Any shares remaining after the open house can be reserved by registering online at https://sunwise.nppd.com/. Customers may also call NPPD toll-free at 1-877-275-6773. NPPD will review all solar requests and contact the subscriber with more information, including the customer’s program eligibility, cost, number of shares available, etc. before finalizing the purchase agreement. Additional information about the program can be found at nppd.com/powering-nebraska/solar/community-solar.

8/2/2021
Information forums on decarbonization scheduled by NPPD

Columbus, Neb. – What should  Nebraska Public Power District’s carbon reduction initiatives look like in the future?  

End-use customers of NPPD, and its wholesale public power partners (rural power districts and municipalities), can play a role in making that determination through a series of informational forums to be held during August.  Five forums are planned that will address the following topics: a high-level educational presentation on electricity today and into the future; what NPPD’s current generation mix looks like; what decarbonization is; and, factors to consider with decarbonization.  Additionally, the forums will include a public comment period for further public input on the topics and promote a public survey that will also be available online.  

NPPD’s Board of Directors is seeking to better understand their constituents’ opinions in three areas:  1) the risks associated with being a carbon emitting utility; 2) what NPPD’s carbon reduction goal should be; and 3) what principals (cost, environmental, reliability, resilience) are most important to customers  as NPPD works to reduce its carbon emissions.

“This is an opportunity for NPPD’s Board members to hear the thoughts of end-use customers who get their electric bill from NPPD, or from a rural wholesale public power utility, or wholesale municipality,” said NPPD President and CEO Tom Kent. “NPPD is continually transforming how we do business to power a sustainable future for Nebraska while keeping electricity affordable, reliable and resilient. We are looking at what our carbon reduction goal should be. Feedback from the public is part of that process in moving forward.”

The forum sessions will begin at 6 p.m. at each of the following  locations:

  • Aug. 11- Norfolk, Northeast Community College, Lifelong Learning Center, Rooms H & I, 801 East Benjamin Ave.
  • Aug. 12 – Seward, Concordia University, Janzow Campus Center, Cattle Conference Room, 800 N. Columbia Ave
  • Aug. 16 – North Platte, Mid-Plains Community College. Room 202 and 204, 1101 Halligan Dr.,
  • Aug. 17- Scottsbluff, Western Nebraska Community College, Harms Center Plex, 601 East 28th St.
  • Aug. 18- Kearney, Holiday Inn, Ballroom II, 110 Second Ave.

“We have engaged the services of subject matter experts from the Electric Power Research Institute in developing the education material to present to attendees to provide them an inside look at various segments of the electric industry, today, and into the future, focusing on decarbonization issues from all points,” Kent added.  “Two key presentations will be made at each forum. One focused on priorities of electricity service and the impacts on cost, environmental impacts, reliability, and resilience and the second on the business risk of carbon and decarbonization.”

EPRI conducts research, development, and demonstration projects for the benefit of the public in the United States and internationally. As an independent, nonprofit organization for public interest, energy, and environmental research, they focus on electricity generation, delivery, and use in collaboration with the electricity sector, its stakeholders, and others to enhance the quality of life by making electric power safe, reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible.

The survey will be available online, for public use, at nppd.com Aug. 11 through Sept. 1. Feedback from the question and answer sessions and the survey will be analyzed by EPRI and the MSR Group and presented to the Board in October for further evaluation.

7/26/2021
Scams targeting electric customers across the state

Columbus, Neb. – Scam activity has seen a sharp increase over the weekend and into the start of the week, as scammers posing as Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) attempt to steal money from unsuspecting victims.  

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 or gift cards, it makes it very difficult to track or recover the money.  

“NPPD will not call a customer and threaten to shut off their power,” says NPPD General Manager of Retail Services Pat Hanrahan. “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. If a customer is having trouble paying their bills, we encourage them to reach out to us.”

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 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.  

More tips and a video on scam activity can be found on nppd.com/scams.

7/12/2021
NPPD seeing high interest in renewable projects for Monolith

Columbus, Neb. –  Interest has been high on a request for proposal (RFP) to provide nearly two million megawatt hours of renewable electricity by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) to support Monolith Materials for its green hydrogen and carbon black operations in Hallam.

The RFP proposal, issued earlier this year, received bids for wind, solar, and energy storage projects.  The utility is in the midst of developing a short list of proposals from the bids received. Projects could be located physically within the Southwest Power Pool footprint with preference to those projects located within Nebraska.

Announced in January, in order to facilitate Monolith Materials’ proposed $1 billion expansion of its Olive Creek facility (OC2) near Hallam, NPPD and Monolith signed a letter-of-intent outlining the companies’ intentions to procure enough renewable energy resources to generate two million megawatt-hours annually.

“The approximately two million megawatt-hours of generation would create a sufficient number of renewable energy certificates (RECs) to meet 100 percent of Monolith’s average annual energy usage and meet their environmental and sustainability goals,” said NPPD President and CEO Tom Kent. “While we are adding additional generation resources, NPPD will continue to maintain our highly competitive rates, which was one of the reasons Monolith moved its operations to Nebraska. We are very interested in pursuing locations where the local community welcomes these types of investments in wind and solar projects.”

That short list is expected to be completed later this summer with successful respondents being notified this fall, followed by contract negotiations and eventual Board approval. Kent indicated that expectations are that all operations would be in place by Dec. 31, 2025.

A total of 28 different companies provided responses for a mix of wind, solar, storage and clean energy products.  This included 21 wind projects totaling nearly 4,000 megawatts, 33 projects for solar amounting to approximately 5,800 megawatts, and electric storage projects amounting to 2,200 megawatts.

The majority of proposals provided locations within Nebraska.

6/30/2021
Norfolk hosts ribbon cutting for new electric vehicle charging station

Norfolk, Neb. - Nebraska Public Power District will partner with the city of Norfolk for a ribbon cutting event on Friday, July 2 at 10:30 a.m. The ribbon cutting kicks off the availability of Norfolk’s first ChargePoint DC fast charger, located on the east side of main street.  

NPPD Account Manager Brittney Koenig said, “This is an important step forward and a great addition for Norfolk EV owners, and for visitors passing through the area. We are excited to partner with the City to add the charging station to help grow interest, satisfy demand for users, as well as alleviate hesitation to purchase EV’s because of range uncertainty and lack of charging facilities.  

The location of the DC Fast Charger is central and will be valuable for customers working and shopping in downtown Norfolk. The charger is easy to use and is an option for charging an EV in a short amount of time for those traveling long distances, and just 30 minutes of charging with the DC fast charger provides most cars with 70-75 miles of range.

The public and electric vehicle owners are invited to attend and learn more about EV’s and to get a sneak peek at NPPD’s newest EV vehicle, a Mustang Mach-E, a five-door electric crossover SUV produced by Ford.

6/22/2021
Aurora hosts ribbon cutting for new electric vehicle charging station

Aurora, Neb. - Nebraska Public Power District will partner with the city of Aurora for a ribbon cutting event on Friday, June 25 at 3 p.m. The ribbon cutting kicks off the availability of Aurora’s first ChargePoint DC fast charger charging station, located downtown on the corner of 12th and N Street.

Aurora City Administrator Rick Melcher said, “This is an important step forward and a great addition for Aurora EV owners, and for visitors passing through the area. There is a lot of hesitation to purchase EV’s because of range uncertainty and lack of charging facilities. Aurora is excited to add the DC fast charging station to help grow interest and satisfy demand for users.”

The location of the DC Fast Charger is central and will be valuable for customers working and shopping in downtown Aurora. The charger is easy to use and is an option for charging an EV in a short amount of time for those traveling long distances, and just 30 minutes of charging with the DC fast charger provides most cars with 70-75 miles of range.

The public and electric vehicle owners are invited to attend and learn more about EV’s and to get a sneak peek at NPPD’s newest EV vehicle, a Mustang Mach-E, a five-door electric crossover SUV produced by Ford.

6/16/2021
Energy saving tips as temperatures begin to heat up

Columbus, Neb. – Temperatures are beginning to soar in Nebraska and as energy usage rises, so will monthly electric bills.

Below are some simple steps that can be taken to help lower energy usage during the hot summer temperatures forecast throughout this week and in the future:

  • Set the thermostat to 78 degrees or higher. If 78 degrees is too high for you, keep in mind you'll save around 5 to 10 percent on cooling costs for every two degrees you raise the temperature. Use ceiling and box fans to provide continuous circulation of air in a room. This creates the wind chill effect whereby the body feels cooler than the room temperature. Run the fans only when the room is occupied.
  • Limit using heat-generating appliances (oven, stove, dishwasher, etc.) until the cooler hours of the day or night. Do chores such as cooking, cleaning, ironing and laundry during the cooler early morning and evening hours to avoid home heat buildup. Using a microwave or grilling outside can also help.
  • Unplug electronics, gadgets, and chargers, and turn off computers, monitors and lights that aren’t being used. Much of the energy from a light bulb is heat.
  • If your thermostat is located in a hallway with bedrooms, open the doors. Closed doors prevent air movement around the thermostat, which can provide a false reading that causes your AC to run longer than needed.
  • Close curtains, blinds and/or shades to prevent the sunlight from warming up the room. Make sure furniture or drapes do not block your registers for supply and return air.

Additional energy saving tips can be found at nppd.energywisenebraska.com.

6/15/2021
Construction underway on sediment basin for South Platte Canal

Columbus, Neb. - Work is underway by Nebraska Public Power District for the construction of a sediment basin that will help restore and rehabilitate the South Platte Supply Canal to recover from damages caused by flooding events.

Following two flooding events where NPPD diverted flows to alleviate down-river flooding, the South Platte Supply Canal was almost entirely filled with sediment, requiring operation of the canal to be temporarily suspended. The key focus of the project is construction of a sedimentation basin near the Korty Diversion, located west of Paxton. The basin will be constructed by BSB Construction of Curtis, Neb.

“The sedimentation and current temporary suspension of operation of the South Platte Supply Canal has prevented NPPD from operating the canal and has eliminated the opportunity to provide numerous regional benefits for present and future uses,” explained NPPD Corporate Environmental Manager Joe Citta. Some of those benefits include flood protection, increasing aquifer recharge, and multiple water supply goals.

The basin will reduce sediments that have historically deposited further downstream in the canal and lowered the canal capacity over time. Some of the sediment has also reached Sutherland Reservoir which causes reduced storage capacity, reduced water quality, and increased maintenance for NPPD. Previously, the South Platte Supply Canal has required extensive efforts to prevent and mitigate sedimentation and maintain proper operation of the canal.

The project is expected to return the canal to operation in a sustainable manner and eliminate future sedimentation issues. A dredge will be used to periodically clean the sediment basin, allowing full operation of the South Platte Supply Canal. Dredged material will be disposed of to not cause an environmental impact.

“In an over appropriated water-scarce area such as this, this project will be beneficial by providing improved ways to better manage the water resources,” said Citta.

6/1/2021
Construction underway at NPPD Ainsworth community solar site

Ainsworth, Neb. – If you live in and around Ainsworth, you might have noticed construction at the site of NPPD's newest SunWise℠ community solar facility located just north of the Cowboy Trail at the south end of East City Park. Construction officially began the second week of May.

When complete, the 500-kilowatt (KW) Ainsworth facility will generate enough electricity to serve the equivalent of approximately 75-100 homes in the community when the sun is shining. The solar project will join current projects, including those already operational in Venango, Scottsbluff, Kearney, and future projects planned for Norfolk, York, and Ogallala.

The project will be built and operated by GRNE Solar, a Lincoln, Neb., company.  Once completed, the facility will be known as Solar Bundle One, LLC.

Construction is scheduled for completion this fall, with solar shares becoming available to the community later this summer. Once all the shares are fully subscribed, a waiting list will be developed to be able to purchase shares as they become available in the future.  Only individuals who receive a bill from NPPD can purchase solar shares.

"Our other community solar projects have received positive feedback from customers, and we expect the community of Ainsworth will have a very positive experience as well," says NPPD General Manager Retail Services Pat Hanrahan. "The project is a partnership between NPPD, the City of Ainsworth and GRNE and is an example of public power meeting the needs of our customers."

The public is urged to use caution in the vicinity of the construction area.

5/21/2021
Stop the spread of invasive species; practice safety on NPPD waterways

Columbus, Neb. – Summer activities will soon be underway and with people getting back out to their favorite lake spots, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants boaters to remember safe boating practices and the importance of stopping the spread of invasive species.

Invasive species, such as zebra mussels, can very easily be spread from one pond or lake to another if boat owners don’t make sure all the water has been emptied out of their boat at each location it’s used. When zebra mussels get into a waterway, they stick to every surface available and begin multiplying at a rapid pace, many times clogging intake structures to facilities. These reasons are why boaters should always clean, drain and dry their watercraft whenever they’re done using it.

“As people begin to boat and enjoy summer activities, it’s vital that we prevent the spread of invasive species like zebra mussels in NPPD’s water resources, such as Lake Maloney or the Sutherland Reservoir,” says NPPD Director of Corporate Environmental and Water Resources Joe Citta. “If zebra mussels were to get into our water resources, they could damage or cause issues at any of the electric generating plants that use them.”

Lake Maloney, the Sutherland Reservoir, and a portion of Lake Ogallala are all part of the Sutherland Canal system, which provides cooling water for Gerald Gentleman Station and powers the North Platte Hydro. The canal system is fed from water out of Lake McConaughey and eventually ends up in the South Platte River.

Safety should also be front-of-mind when using NPPD’s water resources for recreational purposes, and the public should follow all regulations established and enforced by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Fishing along the Sutherland Canal is a popular activity, but the steep banks and fast-moving waters can be extremely dangerous if anyone were to fall in the canal. As a safety precaution when fishing along these areas, it is encouraged to bring another person along or let a family or friend know when and where you are going to be there, and always have a life jacket when near the water.

5/14/2021
Looking at solar energy – NPPD consultants can assist

Columbus, Neb. – Consumers today are showing more interest in becoming “green” and using solar energy to generate electricity for their home or business. Oftentimes, this can be a complex process that includes solar developers, electricians, and your local utility to pinpoint needs surrounding project financing and return on investment, construction, electric requirements, and electric, building and zoning codes.

How does one pull this information together with little knowledge of the industry, all while decoding considerations like net metering, inverters, rooftop versus ground units, and safety? Nebraska Public Power District’s renewable energy consultants can help solar enthusiasts through this maze to avoid any roadblocks and pitfalls along the way.  

“NPPD’s renewable energy consultants are available to discuss the details of a consumer’s solar project, including a rooftop assessment, proper project size, estimated costs and return on investment time frames, best practices for installation, and how to select a reliable solar developer,” said NPPD Renewable Energy Consultant Ron Rose. “We will also discuss the full financial impacts of the project, including homeowner’s insurance.”

In turn, NPPD has many tools consumers may use when first exploring a self-owned solar project. NPPD’s public powered solar calculator (https://publicpowered.wattplan.com/pv/) will assist consumers in finding an estimated energy savings forecast for their personal project, as well as in comparing options and making an overall informed decision.

When working with a solar developer, NPPD always urges consumers to obtain more than one project bid and ensure the developer is meeting all building codes and taking appropriate safety precautions. Consumers are advised to complete energy efficiency projects prior to installing solar, as these types of improvements can help to obtain additional, recurring energy savings. This includes sealing air leaks, ensuring proper ventilation and insulation, and upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, electronics, and appliances to ENERGY STAR-rated versions.

For those unable to participate in a self-owned project, NPPD suggests investing in a local SunWise℠ Community Solar project. To be eligible, the participant must be a resident of the community where a project is in operation, which currently includes Venango, Scottsbluff, and Kearney. Future projects are planned for Norfolk, Ainsworth, York, and Ogallala.

“NPPD fully supports the growth of solar in the state,” said Rose. “As a public power utility, we are focused solely on our customers. No matter what type of solar project is chosen, we want to ensure it is met with success and completed correctly and safely.”

Consumers interested in speaking to an NPPD renewable energy consultant may call NPPD’s Customer Care Center at 1-877-ASK-NPPD during normal business hours Monday through Friday.

Visit nppd.com/powering-nebraska/solar for a wide array of solar resources, including frequently asked questions, information on both consumer-owned and community solar, questions to ask a solar developer, and renewable rate plans, should consumers choose the self-owned approach.

5/12/2021
EPRI acknowledges innovative spirit of two NPPD employees

Columbus, Neb. - The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently held an awards ceremony where Nebraska Public Power District Director of Research Alan Dostal and Environmental Operations and Coordination Supervisor Jason Vanek were recognized for their invaluable contributions to two important projects in 2020.

Dostal and Vanek were two of 19 winners of EPRI’s 2020 Power Delivery and Utilization Technology Transfer Awards, for which more than 100 nominees were submitted across the nation.  An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety, and the environment.

Dostal was selected for his work in the field of electric vehicles. EPRI was able to access telematics from his Tesla to further develop their electric vehicle programs surrounding electrification and sustainable energy strategy. His work allows EPRI to better understand and create strategies that help its partners electrify the nation by accelerating adoption of electric vehicles and related infrastructure buildout.

Vanek was selected for his role in developing EPRI’s CO2 emission rates metric calculator, which is key to better understanding characteristics of CO2 emissions rates from coal plants and potential methodologies for establishing standards of performance under the Affordable Clean Energy Rule. Vanek was instrumental in helping the team implement statistical approaches and create a highly functional, usable tool using data from NPPD’s coal units.

“NPPD really appreciates that EPRI is looking at economy-wide solutions to decarbonization, grid modernization, electrification and how to increase the value of the products and services we provide at NPPD to better serve Nebraskans and improve their quality of life,” said NPPD President and CEO Tom Kent. “Alan is a leader in adopting new technologies, and he has been instrumental in NPPD’s work within the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, alongside his work to propel EV adoption forward. Meanwhile, as we continue to learn about emission rate calculations, and what the best way is to track, measure and talk to our customers about our emissions rates and where we’re heading, Jason’s our expert – he’s always a part of those conversations.”

“These awards recognize leaders and innovators in the country, and Jason and Alan were part of the overall collaborative to take these projects across the finish line,” said EPRI Senior Vice President of Energy Delivery and Customer Solutions Robert Chapman.

5/4/2021
NPPD urges: “Look up and around for power lines”

Columbus, Neb. – Spring is slowly creeping along, which means farmers and ranchers are  gearing up for planting season. On the flip side, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) urges caution in the fields when it comes to power lines and large farm equipment.

“We encourage the farming community to look up and around for powerlines,” said Scott Walz, NPPD Distribution and Transmission Maintenance Manager. “A year ago, we had a rash of contacts between equipment, primarily boom sprayers and power lines, during planting season. The contacts caused numerous power outages and fortunately no loss of life. Nevertheless, contact by with any equipment with a power line has the potential to damage the electronics in the unit.”

Walz recommends that after moving large equipment into the field, operators should review where the power lines are in relationship to their equipment. “After determining where the overhead lines are and making any adjustments to the equipment, in the case of boom sprayer, you can start to unrack the unit,” Walz pointed out. When operators complete their work, they should double-check the lines before re-racking the equipment.

“We want to keep the lights on,” Walz added, “but most importantly, we want farmers and their crews to go home safe every day.”

Contact with a powerline or even being within a few feet of the line with a piece of equipment can result in a dangerous, potentially fatal, situation. The first thing to do after making contact, or if a line falls on the equipment, 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 who will safely remove the lines and stabilize the situation.

In the event an individual is forced to leave the vehicle, jump as far away as possible from the equipment, making sure no body part touches the equipment and the ground at the same time. It is crucial to land standing 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.

For more information, see the safety tips below:

  • 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 a safe  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 public power utility to repair them.

4/30/2021
NPPD celebrates Arbor Day with tree planting at Chadron State Park

Chadron, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) got a jump start on celebrating Arbor Day (April 30) by planting several trees at Chadron State Park on Tuesday, April 27.

Throughout the past 16 years NPPD has worked with various retail communities it serves, to hold an annual Arbor Day tree planting event, with the past three events being held in Dakota City, Norfolk, and Ogallala respectively. “We look forward to celebrating Arbor Day each year with one of our retail communities,” NPPD Community Outreach Supervisor Heidi Elliott stated. “Chadron State Park seemed like an ideal choice to hold this year’s tree planting as both the park and the Nebraska State Park system celebrate their 100th anniversary this summer.”

“Our Park is thrilled to receive nine new trees, and it comes at the perfect time as we prepare for the Park’s anniversary and helps us recognize Earth Day and Arbor Day. The trees will add beauty and shade to several areas of the Park which have recently been updated or seen new construction,” noted Chadron State Park Superintendent Gregg Galbraith

NPPD was recently acknowledged by Tree Line USA for the 16th consecutive year, for meeting the organization’s standards of training employees in quality tree care and educating the public on tree planting for energy conservation and appropriate planting near power lines.

The Tree Line USA program recognizes electric utilities that demonstrate practices which protect and enhance America’s rural and urban trees. NPPD’s membership in the Tree Line USA program, sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation, provides an avenue to help promote the safety and reliability of power lines through public education programs about the proper planting of trees and vegetation.

4/23/2021
NPPD inspecting wood poles throughout the state

Columbus, Neb. -  Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has contracted with Osmose Utilities Service to inspect wood poles used in its distribution, sub transmission and transmission operations throughout the District’s service territory.  Crews from the contractors are beginning inspections this month and will be completing the work by July 1.

This process involves ground line excavation, inspection and rehabilitation treatment. Crews will be dressed in high visibility vests, hard hats and will be traveling in Osmose marked pickup trucks with beacon lights.

The inspection program is a proactive approach to finding poles with decay before it’s too late and the poles fail.  NPPD will have nearly 11,000 poles inspected this year. The work will include determining what poles may need to be replaced.

Anyone who has questions relating to this activity, please call 1-877-ASK-NPPD (275-6773). A customer service representative will then contact the necessary NPPD personnel to address any issues.

3/25/2021
NPPD ranks first among peer utilities in safety

Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has earned the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Safety Award of Excellence for safe operating practices during 2020, ranking first among similar sized utilities.

NPPD was recognized with the award during the APPA’s annual Engineering & Operations Virtual Conference on Wednesday, March 24.

“Utilities that receive an APPA Safety Award have demonstrated that they have made the health and safety of their employees a core value,” said APPA Safety Committee Chair Brandon Wylie. “Designing and maintaining a top-notch utility safety program takes a lot of hard work and commitment. These utilities and their communities should be very proud.”

“It’s always nice to be recognized for your efforts, but this really just shows how committed our team is to work safely, while making sure we provide reliable electricity,” adds NPPD Corporate Safety Manager Brad Palu. “We all recognize the importance of going home to our families each day and keeping an eye out for the safety of our colleagues and neighbors.”

There were 329 utilities from across the country entered into the annual APPA Safety Awards, and each were grouped and ranked against similar sized utilities. NPPD specifically was grouped with and ranked against 11 other utilities.

The APPA Safety Awards have been held annually for the last 65 years.

3/16/2021
Downed powerlines a danger during severe weather season

Columbus, Neb. - As a part of Severe Weather Awareness Week March 22-28, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) wants to emphasize the danger of broken or downed powerlines.

Severe weather conditions, such as high winds and lighting, can cause a structure or powerline to be damaged or break. This can leave a live powerline either floating in the air or laying on the ground, creating a dangerous situation.

“When a powerline is lying on the ground or over a roadway, it can charge the ground around it with electricity, and if anyone were to get too close to that line it could result in a potentially fatal situation,” says NPPD Vice-President of Energy Delivery Art Wiese. “If someone comes across a downed powerline, they should avoid the area and call their local power utility or 911, so trained professionals can deenergize the line and make sure it’s repaired safely.”

If a situation occurred where a powerline fell on a vehicle, it’s important the driver and passengers remain inside the vehicle until help can arrive. The powerline could electrically charge the vehicle and exiting could cause serious or fatal injury.

“When someone is in this type of situation, we ask them to remain in the vehicle and call 911 for help,” notes Wiese. “If something like a fire, forces you to exit the vehicle, you should make sure you get to the edge of your vehicle and jump away landing on two feet, never touching the ground and vehicle at the same time. Then shuffle away from the vehicle until you’re at a safe distance.”

When severe weather conditions are anticipated, NPPD crews from around the state prepare for an emergency response. “We have to first determine the extent of damage, bring in the necessary crews, and then begin the work of restoration,” Wiese added.

Tips on safety precautions during a power outage are available at Electrical Safety.

3/15/2021
NPPD construction creates traffic restrictions near Overton

Columbus, Neb. - Nebraska Public Power District irrigation crews will be replacing a culvert along the Dawson County Canal beginning Monday, March 15, that will cause some restrictions on certain types of traffic.

Work will be done approximately two miles north and two miles east of Overton at the intersection of Road 755 and Road 446. The work is expected to run through March 26, weather permitting.

There will be a shoefly constructed to allow access through the construction site, but large farm equipment or semis will not be able to be accommodated during the period of construction.  NPPD is contacting nearby residents about the construction work.

2/22/2021
NPPD: Electrical bills will be affected by usage

Columbus, Neb. – The recent sub-zero weather conditions in Nebraska and throughout the Midwest are expected to impact consumer electric bills, but Nebraska Public Power District does not foresee the same magnitude some in Texas may face.

Electric demand on NPPD’s system was up during the five days of record cold temperatures but there is no overall rate increase for NPPD’s 2021 electric rates. The NPPD Board of Directors set rates each year and the most recent rates approved, which went into effect on February 1, have remained the same  for the past eight years.

But electric bills are expected to be higher than normal when bills arrive in early March.

“If a customer used more electricity than they normally do, their bill will likely go up for the month,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Pat Hanrahan. “Bills will be  dependent on how much electricity each customer used, but the overall rate for electricity did not change. Customers who took conservation measures, like lowering their thermostats, may not see much of an increase. Customers who did not take conservative measures should expect to see a  higher than normal electric bill.”  A typical Nebraska residence uses about 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, but some preliminary review appears to be running about 30 percent higher.

Having no overall rate increases for eight years is part of NPPD’s efforts as a public power organization to keep costs low for the consumers, doing so while still providing reliable electric service.

Customers who need to make payment arrangements or get energy assistance from local agencies are encouraged to contact NPPD at 1-877-ASK-NPPD. NPPD’s retail customers can also download NPPD’s mobile app (NPPD on the Go!). The mobile app can be used to set up notification preferences for bill ready and/or high usage alerts, e-billing, usage patterns, and more at their  fingertips.

2/18/2021
NPPD says beware of uptick in scam activity

Columbus, Neb. - Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is asking power customers around the state to be wary of scammers trying to take advantage of the recent winter weather and power outages.

These predatory individuals will call and state the customer’s bill must be paid immediately or the power will be shut off and will recommend several methods of payment. They may also indicate that immediate payment will keep someone from being included in emergent rotating outages. Sometimes the scammer’s caller-identification is falsified so it appears to originate from the utility company, a practice known as ‘spoofing’.

“Scammers have gotten very crafty in recent years and will often strike during severe events. Scammers can be very convincing and will do their best to get someone worried, or confused enough, they make a mistake and give away their money,” says NPPD Retail General Manager Pat Hanrahan. “This past week has been difficult for many people, and it’s important to remember these scammers are always looking for an opportunity to take advantage of someone.”

One NPPD customer reported Thursday, a scammer called them posing as Publisher’s Clearing House and said because they paid their electric bill every month, they were entered into a drawing and won a large chunk of money. The scammer asked for the customer’s banking information so they could deliver the money, but the customer refused and reported the call.

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.

2/14/2021
NPPD asking customers to voluntarily conserve energy

Columbus, Neb. - Wholesale and retail customers of Nebraska Public Power District are being asked to take steps to conserve energy use due to current and future low temperatures that are affecting the state and midwestern portion of the country.

Customers are asked to reduce any electrical usage effective immediately and through midnight, Feb. 15, and the following 48 hours to mitigate the risk of potential widespread and longer-lasting outages. The effects of widespread and extreme cold weather have led to increasingly tightening conditions in Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) service territory which NPPD is a member.

NPPD is currently operating all available generating resources to meet demand but request voluntary conservation by electric consumers.

Electric consumers can do the following to assist without putting safety at risk:

  • Turn down thermostats to 68 degrees and lower at night.
  • Close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Turn off and un-plug non-essential lights and appliances, computers and printers.
  • Close the fireplace damper when not in use to avoid losing heat through the chimney.
  • Avoid using large appliances (i.e., ovens, washing machines, etc.).
  • Business should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
  • Do not connect a generator to your home's electrical system. Consult a licensed electrician.
  • Do not use any grilling equipment for heat indoors. Charcoal and gas grills produce large amounts of carbon monoxide and even small amounts has potentially fatal results.

To view SPP current grid conditions, click the following link - https://spp.org/markets-operations/current-grid-conditions/

POWER INTERRUPTIONS POSSIBLE DUE TO COLD WEATHER

UPDATE (2/18): During the late evening hours, the Southwest Power Pool moved and currently remains at an Energy Emergency Alert Level 1, indicating they have enough power to meet load requirements. We are cautiously optimistic that we are through the worst of this emergency event as the storm moves further east. However, the situation remains fluid and levels may change quickly during heavier energy consumption times of before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m.

UPDATE (2/17): At 6:20 p.m. (CST) the Southwest Power Pool moved to an Energy Emergency Alert Level 2 urging all homes and businesses to conserve electricity, but are not directing any interruptions of service at this time. We will keep you informed if things change.

UPDATE (2/17): The Southwest Power Pool recently moved to an Energy Emergency Alert Level 1, indicating they have enough power to meet load requirements. Should the region lose a large generation resource, they could still move back to an EEA Level 2 or higher. We appreciate your continued efforts in conserving energy. We will keep you informed if things change.

UPDATE (2/17): We have been able to avoid service interruptions this morning, but things may change quickly. SPP is currently at a level 2. The next couple of hours are critical and we will keep you informed if things change. We appreciate our customers’ efforts to continue conserving energy.

UPDATE (2/17): WE HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED THAT SPP WILL BE MOVING TO AN ENERGY EMERGENCY ALERT LEVEL 3 AT 9 A.M (CST). This may affect service to our customers. We will have very little, if any, notice of where these interruptions may take place. Please prepare for outages lasting 45 minutes or longer.

System constraints are managed by SPP reliability coordinators and its member utilities. Energy Emergency Alerts include three levels.
Level 1 indicates all available generation resources are in use.
Level 2 indicates load management procedures are in effect.
Level 3 indicates firm load interruptions are imminent or in progress.

UPDATE (2/16): We want to acknowledge those who have been impacted by interruptions in their electric service over the past 48 hours due to this emergency event. Our own families and friends have gone without power. The person writing this post had his power interrupted this morning. By doing these planned, controlled service interruptions, we are taking the necessary steps to prevent system conditions to worsen and cause uncontrolled outages, which could impact a larger number of customers and have longer-lasting effects. We thank everyone for your patience and willingness to conserve energy during these frigid times.

This emergency event is very fluid, and as energy usage increases this evening and into tomorrow morning, we may need to take quick action, again. We will work hard to minimize outages frequencies and lengths while protecting the stability of the power grid. We ask that you continue to conserve electricity and make plans in case your power is interrupted over the next 24-48 hours.

UPDATE  (2/16) : Tom Kent, President & CEO, held a media conference this morning to address the current power interruption event impacting customers due to the cold weather. Tom addresses why this has happened, what NPPD is doing to keep the power and furnaces on for its customers and for Nebraskans, and what to expect in the next 48 hours. Please take a listen and we will work to keep you updated in the upcoming hours. https://vimeo.com/513070359

UPDATE  (2/16) : At this time, SPP has notified our system operators that we can stop the rolling 45-minute service interruptions to our customers. Our teammates are working diligently to restore power to all those impacted. Again, due to the cold weather, there might be issues with some equipment. Our lineworkers will address them on site. If you are still without power, please call 877-ASK-NPPD if you are an NPPD customer, or contact your local public power provider.

PLEASE NOTE, we are likely to see outages again tonight and possibly into tomorrow. So please plan for possible outages lasting 45 minutes. Please continue to take all reasonable steps to conserve energy use. We will continue to provide updates as conditions evolve.

UPDATE  (2/16) : ROLLING 45-MINUTE OUTAGES: Our operators continue to manage the rolling service interruptions that are impacting communities. Please expect these service interruptions to now last around 45 minutes. These outages are planned and controlled by our operators at a centralized location to keep the electric grid stable and keep the power on for as many Nebraskans as possible. Sometimes, when our operators restore power, there might be a mechanical failure due to the extreme cold. Our lineworkers are out in the field and are on standby to manually close the breakers to get the power on as soon as possible. If you are impacted, and service isn’t restored after 45 minutes, please call 877-ASK-NPPD.

TUESDAY (2/16) AM UPDATE: To maintain system reliability, we have just been informed by SPP that we need to do emergency coordinated interruptions of service. These 30-minute interruptions of service occur in real-time, so we have very little, if any, notice as to where these interruptions will take place. This is done to prevent longer, uncontrolled outages. If you experience a controlled outage,  it should only last approximately 30 minutes.

UPDATE TO TODAY’S (2/15) EVENT: NPPD is a member of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which is a regional transmission organization that ensures reliable supplies of electricity across its 14-state footprint.

SPP’s service area unexpectedly lost some generating units earlier today, which caused them to declare an energy emergency. SPP directed power utilities in 14 states to share in an effort to shed load (interrupt service to customers) due to lack of electricity to meet demand because of the cold temperatures.

NPPD’s first priority is to keep the electricity flowing for our customers and ensure the integrity and reliability of the region’s electric grid. We coordinated rolling, 30-minute outages impacting a few communities to keep the event from cascading and affecting more communities and customers. Our operators plan and prepare for events like this. However, we get very little notice. We take immediate action to keep the lights and furnaces on for as many Nebraskans as we can.

What we can tell you is this. Things are OK now. But as temps drop later tonight and as people start their day in the morning, there is still the potential for service interruptions. You can help your family, friends, and neighbors by conserving electricity these next few days and staying prepared. And if power is interrupted, trust we will get power restored as quickly as possible for YOU, our friends, families, and neighbors.

Stay warm. Stay safe. And thanks for your patience.

MONDAY (2/15) UPDATE: The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) declared an Energy Emergency Alert Level 3 which means we were directed to do emergency coordinated interruptions of service which resulted in rolling, 30-minute outages across parts of our service territory to maintain system reliability.

For the time being, SPP has paused these outages, but may need to enforce again. Due to these interruptions occurring in real-time, we receive very little, if any, notice as to when these interruptions will take place over the next few days. Please continue to conserve energy and charge your cell phones, electric devices, and home medical devices.

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