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Home > About Us > Company > Board of Directors

September 2009 Board Meeting Minutes

 

                                                September 17, 2009

The regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Omaha Public Power District was held in the Board Room on the Atrium Level of Energy Plaza East, on September 17, 2009, at 10:00 a.m.

Present were Directors M. J. Cavanaugh, N. P. Dodge Jr., J. K. Green, G. C. Hall, A. L. McGuire, J. R. Thompson, F. J. Ulrich and D. D. Weber. Also present were W. G. Gates, President; M. C. Bodammer, Corporate Secretary; and S. M. Bruckner, General Counsel for the District. Mr. Ulrich, Board Chair, presided, and Mrs. Bodammer, Corporate Secretary, recorded the minutes. Other members of Management present were D. J. Bannister, T. J. Burke, E. E. Easterlin, A. J. Minks, D. F. Widoe, G. R. Williams, J. J. Hanson, M. R. Jones, C. L. Buettner and D. McGranaghan. Others present included Lynn Moorer (attorney from Lincoln); Chris Oberle, Senior Director – Energy Practice, from J. D. Power and Associates; and two additional customer-owners and employees of the District.

The Corporate Secretary read the following:

“Notice of the time and place of this meeting was publicized by notifying the area news media; by publicizing same in the Omaha World-Herald and Outlets; by displaying such notice on the Arcade Level of Energy Plaza since September 11, 2009; and by mailing such notice to each of the District’s Directors on that same date.

“A copy of the proposed agenda for this meeting has been maintained, on a current basis, and is readily available for public inspection in the office of the District’s Corporate Secretary.

“Additionally, a copy of the Open Meetings Law is available for inspection in the public meeting book located in this meeting room.”

It was moved and seconded that the Board reviewed the July 2009 Comprehensive Financial and Operating Report and that the minutes and the excused absence of Director McGuire for the last meeting be approved. The vote was recorded as follows: Cavanaugh – Yes; Dodge – Yes; Green – Yes; Hall – Yes; McGuire – Yes; Thompson – Yes; Weber – Yes; and Ulrich - Yes. The motion carried.

Thereafter, the Corporate Secretary read the following:

“Persons wishing to address the Board on a particular item are asked to approach the microphone as that agenda item is discussed. Comments will be heard following Board discussion of the item and prior to a vote by the Board.”

The following resolutions were then read, and upon motion duly seconded, were placed on roll call. The vote on each resolution is indicated following the description of that resolution.

RESOLUTION NO. 5796 authorizes the award of Request for Proposal No. 3106 – Line 34 Rebuild, Circuit 1533, Substation 1209 to Substation 1252 – to Probst Electric, Inc. in the amount of $1,020,285.98. Director Hall led the discussion stating that the 50-year-old wooden structures will be rebuilt with more advanced metal structures, designed to endure for 60 years, along the same line and on the existing right-of-way. Board Chair Ulrich called upon Vice President Widoe for a project completion time frame and asked whether the lines will be energized. Mr. Widoe replied the project will commence in October 2009 and is scheduled to be completed in January 2010. He noted that power lines will be de-energized during the entire construction period. Mr. Widoe stated this is typically a relatively low load period and the project will pose little risk at that time on the electric system. Following the discussion, the vote was recorded as follows: Cavanaugh – Yes; Dodge – Yes; Green – Yes; Hall – Yes; McGuire – Yes; Thompson – Yes; Weber – Yes; and Ulrich - Yes. The motion carried.

RESOLUTION NO. 5797 approves the Engineer’s Certification and authorizes Management to negotiate and enter into a contract with Siemens Energy, Inc. to upgrade the District’s Energy Management System (EMS). Director Hall led the discussion stating that, following purchase of the system, there is a rather long implementation process involved which may require a couple years. Vice President Widoe affirmed his comments and said software will be developed beginning the latter part of 2009 and continuing through 2010 and 2011, and those platforms will be tested before they are fully implemented in 2011. He said the entire system must be tested and proved functional before being placed in process use on the District’s system. Thereafter, Director McGuire commented the new system will be an improvement after it is implemented because it will meet the proposed NERC reliability standard stipulating that a backup EMS be on-line within two hours. She said with the current EMS, monitoring and control functions are nonoperational for nearly four hours until backup becomes operational. Director Hall reported that an acceptable contract decision will be reported to the Board at a later date. Following the discussion, the vote was recorded as follows: Cavanaugh – Yes; Dodge – Yes; Green – Yes; Hall – Yes; McGuire – Yes; Thompson – Yes; Weber – Yes; and Ulrich - Yes. The motion carried.

Copies of the foregoing resolutions are filed in the District’s Corporate Records file.

The next order of business was the opportunity for public comment on other items of District business. Chairman Ulrich recognized Ms. Lynn Moorer (404 South 27th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska), an attorney representing certain OPPD customers. Ms. Moorer said her comments concerned the process that OPPD uses to arrive at and announce significant decisions and actions. She referred to a recent decision concerning the postponement of a capital expansion project and a newspaper story reporting the District’s decision. She described her recollection that nothing was publically reported to the Board during scheduled Committee or Board meetings regarding postponement of the construction project, nor did the Board publically consider or take any public action approving this decision. Ms. Moorer also referred to previous media releases made in January 2009 when the District announced its intent to set a renewable energy target of 10 percent by 2020 and also declared its plans to reduce consumer use by 50 MW by the end of 2012 through energy efficiency programs. Ms. Moorer noted there was no mention made of these decisions nor was there any Board consideration of these matters or opportunity for public comment regarding the Board’s consideration the actions. She suggested there needs to be adequate opportunity for meaningful public involvement to comment on all proposed significant actions before they are taken by the utility so that potential enhancements to proposed plans suggested by the public may be considered. Ms. Moorer requested two things for the Board to consider: (1) annual reevaluation of both the 10 percent renewable energy target by 2020 as well as the energy conservation efficiency reduction goal of 50 MW by the end of 2012 (she suggested these evaluations should include the opportunity for public comment and consideration by the Board) and (2) the Board should consider or reconsider the process that it allows to be used regarding significant actions taken in the name of OPPD and work to ensure there is adequate opportunity for meaningful participation in a public forum before significant decisions are made. She closed by thanking the Board for the opportunity to comment. Board Chair Ulrich thanked Ms. Moorer and commented that the Board is dedicated to making sure public power operates appropriately and in the public’s best interests. He invited President Gates to comment. Mr. Gates said OPPD continually performs formal reevaluations of its entire power supply and that this includes the assessment of its renewable energy goals as well as its energy conservation efficiency goals that Ms. Moorer mentioned. He said the senior management team works hard to keep the Board informed on all matters concerning the prudent operation of the utility. He also said he will work with the Board and the Board Chair to reevaluate the process. Mr. Gates offered to improve communication by meeting personally with the people Ms. Moorer represents in order to have some meaningful dialog and address their concerns. Ms. Moorer replied that could be beneficial, but in addition it would be helpful to them to have information available to study ahead of time to help prepare them to engage in meaningful discussion with the Board prior to any major decision making.

Thereafter, Board Chair Ulrich invited Chris Oberle, Senior Director – Energy Practice, from J. D. Power and Associates to give a presentation on the results of the “J. D. Power 2009 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study.” A copy of the PowerPoint presentation is appended to these proceedings. Mr. Oberle stated his purpose for attending the Board meeting was to present OPPD with its ninth consecutive J. D. Power and Associates Award for residential customer satisfaction in its category. He also wished to provide the Board with a description of the process and the documented research which demonstrates the high level of service the District is providing to its residential customers.

Mr. Oberle said the rankings are based on an independent survey of customers served by the nation’s 121 largest utilities. He reviewed the residential electric customer satisfaction model and explained the six weighted components and detailed ratings of the model including: power quality and reliability (27%), price (22%), billing and payment (19%), corporate citizenship (13%), communications (13%) and customer service (6%). OPPD scored No. 1 in the “Midwest Midsize Segment” overall customer satisfaction index which is a very competitive category. This segment includes utilities serving between 125,000 and 499,999 residential customers. He also commented that OPPD’s customer service representatives (CSR’s) are among the highest rated in the country. Mr. Oberle congratulated the Board of Directors and Management on maintaining the high level of customer service and presented the award to Chairman Ulrich and President Gates. Thereafter, photographs were taken and Chairman Ulrich concluded with comments of appreciation on the strengths and efforts of the District’s employees and Management.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:39 a.m.


A. J. Minks                                          M. C. Bodammer
Assistant Secretary                             Corporate Secretary

 

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