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.