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Public Power’s Value In Nebraska

Public Power’s Value In Nebraska
October 26, 2021

To any outsider looking in, Nebraska might be mistaken as little more than a flyover state. Pass through on the Interstate and one is easily under the impression it’s flat as a pancake with only cornfields as far as the eye can see. Spend a little time here, though, and they start to experience what true Nebraskans have always known – that this place can warm your heart to its core – even when it’s 30 below out! That’s because there’s a huge amount of pride, work ethic and community here – from panhandle to plains. There’s the index-fingered wave when you meet someone on the highway, the Friday night football burger bashes, the early morning coffee meetups, and of course, Runza sandwiches and Kool-Aid.

Neighbors help neighbors here, whether it’s pitching in to finish harvest for a local farmer suffering through injury, or scooping snow off an elderly neighbor’s sidewalk. It’s just what we do.

So, it makes sense why Nebraska is the only state in the nation where every local enjoys publicly owned electricity and has the chance to be heard when decisions are made that may affect how their power is generated or delivered. Pulling together to establish consumer-owned utilities that bring electricity to the entire state has shaped our history, our communities, and our quality of life for the better.

We also know the value of a hard-earned dollar. Public power is not-for-profit – there’s no profit margin built into our rates, which means we’re providing you electricity based on the cost alone to generate and deliver it. And, we’re proud our rates are consistently lower than privately-owned utilities. We care greatly about this, because as members of the community, we’re also spending our hard-earned salaries at our favorite hangouts.

Though we are actively engaged in economic development opportunities to retain, grow, and recruit, and though we do provide in-lieu-of-tax payments and other payments totaling more than $85 million each year, we don’t just power our economy. We power our customers’ lives. Sure – we do this most obviously by providing electricity that helps you cook that Sunday night family dinner, safely get that knee replacement, or enjoy the latest community play.

But, this thought can also be more abstract. As I mentioned in my previous blog, we power our communities by being active participants in them, whether volunteering our time or by being contributing members of boards, committees, or organizations that make a positive difference. With nearly 2,000 NPPD teammates and thousands more working at other public power utilities throughout the state, this can have a multiplying effect statewide.

We invest and reinvest our time and talents while on the job, too, because at the heart of all this, we know how important it is to provide value to our customers. We do that through our mission to serve our customers and to listen to their needs and expectations.

A college student from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln visited NPPD’s Board of Directors meeting this month to voice her belief in the importance of a future decarbonization goal. It took courage to stand at that podium and deliver her message to our 11-member board, yet she did it unfalteringly. It was such an opportunity to listen directly to a community member, and it’s something we don’t take lightly. We also listen to other citizens who are imploring us to balance sustainability with reliability and affordability. So then, it becomes our responsibility to balance diverse customer needs and expectations with our own obligations to serve Nebraskans through prudent business decisions.

At the end of the day, our mission is to provide our friends, families and neighbors with low-cost, reliable, and sustainable energy. We do that now, and we will continue to do so in the future.

Tom Kent signature