Winter is here, which, for many, often means high heating bills. Experts have a number of suggestions to help keep heating costs down, as well as other ways to prepare your home for the cold months ahead.
Possibly the easiest way to save money on your heating bill is to simply lower the temperature on your thermostat. By resetting your programmable thermostat from 72 degrees to 65 for eight hours a day, you can cut your heating bill by up to 10 percent. Try sacrificing a few degrees on the thermostat and slip into a warm sweater instead.
Another suggested money- and energy-saving practice is to replace your furnace and air-conditioning filters regularly. Replacing the filter on schedule can save money by reducing the amount of electricity needed to run a blower motor. You can also avoid major expenses through preventative maintenance on your home appliances.
Of course, these money-saving efforts may be in vain if the warm air leaks out of your home and the cold air gets in. To prevent this from happening, check around doors and windows for drafts. If necessary, replace or add weather-stripping. Caulk around the interior of your home’s window trim and other openings where cold air can leak in. If you do not have a storm door, installing one would be a good, energy-saving idea. Storm doors can reduce heat loss by as much as 15 percent.
Other weatherization tips offered by OPPD include:
Check your thermostat to make sure it is working properly.
Make sure no heat-producing appliance is near the thermostat.
Investing in a heat pump for your home is economical and provides an even, comfortable temperature level. Heat pumps can also save you money by working as high-efficiency central air conditioners during the summer months.
Leave your blinds open when the sun can shine through the windows to help heat your home. Close them at night to reduce heat loss through your windows.
Close the damper when your fireplace is not being used to reduce heat loss up the chimney.
Check the insulation in your home, especially the attic insulation, or hire a professional Energy Rater to perform an energy audit to determine the insulation levels in your home.
For more energy-saving tips, visit oppd.com or call the OPPD Energy Advisor at 402-636-3850 in the Omaha metro or 1-800-648-2658.
OPPD 2011 Budget Features No General Rate Increase
December 16, 2010
Budget changes at the Omaha Public Power District in 2010 and 2011 have made it possible to avoid a general rate increase next year. Employees pared more than $52 million from the operation and maintenance and the capital budgets in 2010 by finding additional savings, or deferring projects. Another $19 million was eliminated in the same way from the 2011 budget before being presented to the OPPD Board of Directors for passage at its monthly meeting today.
The measure approved by the Board reflects a continued slow economy with business customers cutting back on plans to grow. The economic conditions also mean low wholesale prices for any excess energy OPPD could sell to customers off its system.
“We are pleased the efforts of employees made it possible to hold the line on rates,” said OPPD President Gary Gates. “This was a tough budget to develop, but we understand that these are difficult economic times for our customer owners.”
The 2011 Corporate Operating Plan calls for total operation and maintenance expenses of $758.1 million. The 2010 Capital Expenditure Plan totals $230.6 million.
One of the challenges facing OPPD and its customers is the rising cost of fuel. Foreign purchasers of coal have helped drive up its costs as other countries continue to build coal plants. The cost of transporting the coal is increasing as part of the contract and due to fuel price surcharges. As the price of diesel fuel increases, the railroad charges more to bring it to the plant.
Like many natural gas utilities, OPPD passes the volatile cost of fuel through to the customer. It estimates these fuel costs will increase the average residential customer’s bill by approximately $1.41 per month. These costs will be in the Fuel and Purchased Power Adjustment portion of the bill.
In other action, the Board:
authorized management to sell up to $150 million in revenue bonds as part of a debt refinancing. The Board previously authorized the sale of the bonds in 2010, but interest rates increased to the point where the sale would not save the District money.
authorized management to negotiate contracts for the engineering, procurement and installation of a power plant replacement pump.
authorized management to sell the North Bend office as surplus property to Terry Kitt for $53,999 following a bidding process.
approved a resolution to express the District’s intent concerning Corporate Operating Plan expenditure reimbursement from tax-exempt financing.
approved compensation adjustments for two corporate officers.
Results of CFL Project for OPPD Brighter Than Ever
December 2, 2010
The holiday appears to have come early for a number of customers of the Omaha Public Power District and some local retailers. To encourage the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), OPPD and participating retailers recently offered discount coupons to customers wishing to purchase the energy efficient bulbs which save customers money by saving energy. The results of that promotion are now in and the numbers are impressive.
The final tally shows that almost 59,000 discount coupons were redeemed at Hy-Vee, Bag ‘N Save, Menards and Home Depot as a result of the effort that began in October. The numbers for 2010 were 101 percent over the results for 2009. Each coupon redeemed entitled customers to $3 off a multi-pack of CFLs.
Some of the stores embraced the promotion by running print ads, placing coupons in their weekly circulars, putting up posters and creating in-store displays. One store manager said customers using the coupons made it clear they were looking for inexpensive ways to improve the efficiency of their homes.
The promotion was part of OPPD’s Aim Green Initiative. CFLs use up to 75 percent less electricity than comparable incandescent light bulbs and can last up to 10 times longer. By using energy more wisely in this way, OPPD customers are putting off the time when a new, expensive power plant will need to be built. More energy saving tips can be found by visiting www.aimgreenomaha.com.
As blockbuster movies fill the silver screens around the country, students in eastern Nebraska have come up with award-winning flicks of their own. The Omaha Public Power District has announced this year’s winners of its “Project Greenflick” contest, which called for students to write and produce videos dealing with energy efficiency and environmental awareness.
Almost 50 video entries from throughout the District’s service territory nearly tripled the number of videos that were entered last year. The contest called for students to submit creative and informative videos that could be either humorous or serious. This year’s productions ranged from animation to a silent movie format, stop-action filmmaking and the adventures of a recyclable bottle.
As part of OPPD’s effort to aim green, high school students were encouraged to participate by first visiting www.aimgreenomaha.com. This was the second year for the competition.
The rules of the competition required videos to be less than two minutes long. The entries were judged on their creativity, educational value and “aim green” relevancy.
The first-place team of students will receive $500, as will the winners’ school. The second-place winner and school each will be awarded $250, while the third-place winner and school will receive $125.
Those wishing to view this year’s winning video selections can do so by clicking onto the following video links at Vimeo:
The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors approved executing long-term agreements to buy wind energy from a new wind farm near Broken Bow, Nebraska, when it comes on line in 2012. OPPD will buy 18 megawatts (1 megawatt equals 1,000 kilowatts) of power from the wind farm. This will move the total amount of renewable energy that OPPD customers will be using to 160 MW.
In January 2009, OPPD announced it would deliver 10 percent of its electricity using renewable fuel by 2020. Today’s agreement will take the District forty percent of the way to that goal.
OPPD buys wind energy instead of generating its own because federal tax credits are applicable to private companies, but not customer-owned utilities. The federal tax credits bring the price of wind energy to a more competitive level. The state of Nebraska, unlike Iowa and Minnesota, does not provide state wind subsidies.
The Board also formally received the JD Power & Associate Award for Customer Satisfaction for 2010.
The Board also:
authorized management to enter into a contract with Cameco, Inc. of Canada for $34,062,000, to provide uranium fuel for Fort Calhoun Station.
authorized management to award a contract to Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy of Charlotte, North Carolina, in the amount of $24,022,878, to install several plant modifications during the 2012 refueling outage at Fort Calhoun Station.
authorized management to issue a contract to ABM Janitorial Services in the amount of $1,224,624 for janitorial services district-wide.
approved the 2011 Board of Directors meeting schedule.
The Omaha Public Power District has announced the successful completion of the sale of $120 million of taxable Electric System Revenue Bonds, 2010 Series A (Build America Bonds) on Thursday November 4. This marks the first issue by OPPD of taxable Build America Bonds.
Build America Bonds were established in 2009 as part of the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2010. The bonds entitle the issuer to receive an interest subsidy of 35 percent from the United States Treasury Department. The subsidy provides a lower net cost of borrowing than traditional tax-exempt financings. The OPPD Board of Directors authorized Senior Management last month to proceed with completing the sale in order to give the district access to a larger pool of investors than it usually taps with municipal bonds.
The 2010 Series A Bonds were sold with a final maturity of 2041 at an interest rate of 5.431 percent. The after subsidy net interest cost is 3.566 percent. The settlement date for the 2010 Series A Bonds is November 17, 2010. 2010 Series A Bond proceeds will be used to reimburse the district for previously incurred capital expenditures.
Meanwhile, OPPD continues to monitor tax-exempt interest rates to identify potential refunding opportunities for outstanding revenue bonds.
The Omaha Public Power District is advising customers that the OPPD Board of Directors will hold its monthly board meeting for November at a different time than normally scheduled.
The Board’s monthly meeting will be held Thursday, November 18, at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of Energy Plaza, the district’s corporate headquarters. The headquarters are located at 444 South 16th Street Mall in downtown Omaha. OPPD Board meetings are normally held the first Thursday after the tenth of each month.
Committee meetings for the Board will be held on the preceding Tuesday, November 16, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The meetings will also be held at Energy Plaza.
Energy Conservation Kits Available to Area Schools
OPPD and Nebraska Energy Office Provide Energy Education
Program to Local Elementary School Students
October 25, 2010
Omaha, NE – A new energy education program has landed in many Nebraska schools, including the metro Omaha area. The energy program provides fifth grade students and their family practical knowledge on environmental issues and offers tools to increase energy and water efficiency at home, while decreasing monthly utility bills. Students are provided with an Energy Detective kit containing devices to install in their homes as part of the energy education program. The energy program is jointly funded by participating electric and natural gas utilities and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act administered by the Nebraska Energy Office.
The energy education program encourages students to work with their families on home retrofit and auditing projects, provides knowledge about the conservation of natural resources, and suggests new family habits, while generating immediate energy savings. As a part of the Energy program activities, energy and water use will be investigated and quantified. A variety of measurable energy and water savings practices are taught and will result in increased environmental awareness. The studies include renewable and non-renewable resources, energy generation history and energy saving practices.
Hands-on, at home projects to install high-efficiency devices and introduce resource-conscious behavior to students and their families are keys to the success of the program. In one activity, students replace a traditional incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent lamp. A compact fluorescent lamp can last up to ten times longer and use 75 percent less energy than a regular incandescent light bulb. This small change can equal big savings.
“The Omaha Public Power District believes strongly in the wise and efficient use of energy,” said OPPD President Gary Gates. “In 2009, we set a goal of reducing the energy demand on our system by 50 megawatts by the end of 2012. To achieve that goal, it is important that we educate and encourage all of our customers, both young and old, regarding the wise use of energy. OPPD already has set up dozens of programs in our strategic energy-efficiency plan. We see this effort to educate our youth as a good fit for reaching and teaching the next generation of consumers.”
Students become eligible for the no-cost energy education program by attending a school in the utility’s service area. The curriculum, which meets Nebraska’s State Education Standards for Science and Math, has been developed by Resource Action Programs, a national leader in providing energy education materials. Each student will receive an Energy Detective Kit full of valuable tools and products designed to be installed at home to decrease energy and water use, and lower utility bills.
Schools and utilities wanting to participate in the energy education program can contact Jerry Loos in the Energy Office at 402-471-3356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Hanson, OPPD
Jerry Loos, Nebraska Energy Office
The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors has authorized Senior Management to complete the sale of up to $120 million of 2010 Series A Electric System Revenue Bonds and up to $150 million of 2010 Series B Electric System Revenue Bonds. The move is expected to not only raise capital for the district’s operations, but allow it to save millions by refunding a previous bond issue.
According to the measure approved by the board, the district will issue taxable Build America Bonds as 2010 Series A Bonds upon acceptable market conditions. Those bonds include a lower cost to the District than traditional tax-exempt bonds because of a federal subsidy. That should result in an estimated savings to the District’s customer-owners of approximately $800,000 per year. Proceeds from the sale of those bonds will be used to reimburse previously-incurred OPPD capital expenditures in accordance with the district’s Corporate Operating Plan.
The 2010 Series B Bonds will be a traditional tax-exempt bond issue also upon acceptable market conditions. It will be used to advance refund the 2005 Series A Electric System Revenue Bonds. It is projected that refunding the 2005 Series A Bonds in the near future rather than later will result in a savings of approximately $10 million over the life of the bonds.
“This decision makes financial sense for us at this time, especially if we can save $10 million over the next 20 years,” said John Green, OPPD Board Chairman. “It will help us do the things we need to do to continue to operate a well-run utility for our customers, plus hold the line on costs. In turn, these types of decisions are what allow us to consider no general rate increase next year.”
In other action, the board:
authorized management to award a contract to Day & Zimmerman – Nuclear Power Services of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for $3,432,110 for power up-rate modification installation services at Fort Calhoun Station during the 2011 refueling outage.
authorized management to negotiate and award the necessary contract to GE Hitachi Nuclear of Wilmington, North Carolina, for primary disconnects to support the circuit breaker replacement and bus upgrade project at Fort Calhoun Station.
awarded a contract to CERAM Environmental Inc. of Overland Park, Kansas, in the amount of $1,270,000 for selective catalytic reduction modules and seals at Nebraska City Station Unit 2.
authorized management to award a contract to L.E. Myers
The Omaha Public Power District has reached a milestone when it comes to using environmentally-friendly fuel. This year, OPPD has used nearly 18,000 gallons of a soy diesel fuel to operate its trucks and other motor vehicles on and off the road. This year’s figures mean the utility has surpassed using half-a-million gallons of the more-environmentally-friendly fuel since 1999. That is when the district first began using soy diesel.
Soy diesel mixture is a clean-burning, non-toxic and renewable fuel made from blending soybean oil and diesel fuel. OPPD uses a blend called B-20, 20 percent specially-prepared soy oil and 80 percent diesel. The soy diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions, is biodegradable, is virtually-free of sulfur and aromatics, and can be used in any diesel engine. The mix helps OPPD meet its federal environmental responsibilities while providing a market for local soybean farmers and reducing dependence on foreign oil.
“We look at this as a win-win for OPPD and its customers,” said OPPD Board Chairman John Green. “We are not only buying renewable products from our customers, but we’re being easier on the environment as we work to continue providing reliable service to our customers.”
The District uses soy-based products in more than just fuel. The Transportation Department also uses a 100 percent soy-based solvent degreaser called Soyl-Away.
In addition, soy-based products are being used to replace petroleum-based hydraulic fluid. Such fluid is used in OPPD’s mounted equipment like aerial baskets. Aside from being a renewable product, the hydraulic fluid is certified biodegradable.
Recently, OPPD has also begun recycling its oil filters in addition to its used oil . A firm located in Sioux City takes the oil and refines it. It is then used for heating oil, waste oil heaters, and to make asphalt and asphalt products. The oil and metal components of the oil filters are recycled as well.
The District continues to be a large user of E85 and E10 fuel. E10, a mixture of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline, can be used in most modern vehicles. E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, is the standard fuel for flexible-fuel vehicles. Flex-fuel vehicles are vehicles designed to run on any combination of unleaded gasoline and ethanol up to 85% ethanol. Vehicles running on the gasoline and ethanol fuels can reduce carbon-monoxide emissions by 20 to 30 percent. The District also operates two converted plug-in hybrid vehicles.
“OPPD has long been a leader in Nebraska in recycling and environmental stewardship,” said Mr. Green. “We are committed to looking for more ways to continue that leadership.”
You can find more information about OPPD’s environmental efforts at www.aimgreenomaha.com and www.oppd.com.
The Omaha Public Power District is advising customers that the Board of Directors will hold its committee meetings for October 2010 at a different time than normally scheduled. Those meetings will be held Thursday, October 14, at 7:30 a.m. at OPPD’s downtown headquarters at 444 South 16th Street Mall. Committee meetings are held usually on Tuesday prior to the Board’s regular monthly meetings. The monthly meetings are routinely scheduled on Thursday after the tenth of each month.
The regular monthly Board meeting for October will take place after the committee meetings on October 14. The October board meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday in the auditorium of Energy Plaza.
The first award came in 2000. Ten years later, customers of the Omaha Public Power District say the utility is still among the best in the nation when it comes to providing top quality and reliable customer service.
For the tenth consecutive year, respondents to the J. D. Power & Associates annual Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Survey have ranked OPPD highest among midsize utility companies in the Midwest region. That’s a record that has OPPD talking to other utilities to explain how a focus on the customer is key to repeat performances at the top.
To mark ten in a row, Al Destribats, Vice President, Energy and Telecommunications Practice for J.D. Power & Associates hand-delivered this year’s award to OPPD on the day of the Board of Directors’ monthly meeting.
Destribats’ prepared remarks saluted the utility for sustained excellence, as well as maintaining excellent communications with its customers and a history of low rates and relatively few outages, critical benefits for customers.
“OPPD continues to perform at an elite level in satisfying customers,” said Destribats.
“We are very proud to receive this accolade from our customers for 10 consecutive years,” said OPPD President and CEO W. Gary Gates. “However, we will not rest on our past successes. We plan to continue working hard to raise the bar on the service we provide to our customers who have come to expect safe, reliable and affordable power.”
Results of the J.D. Power survey represent more than 85,000 customer responses gathered online nationwide between July 2009 and May 2010. The survey included residential customers of the 121 largest electric utility brands across the United States.
In other action at its monthly meeting, the Board:
approved a credit facility in the amount of $250 In other action at its monthly meeting, the Board:million to support the district’s Commercial Paper program and to provide funding for other general expenditures.
authorized management to negotiate and award necessary contracts for replacement of 480-volt circuit breakers at Fort Calhoun Station.
Area High Schools Could Earn Some "Green" with Video Contest
September 13, 2010
High school students and their schools can win green for their green videos. OPPD’s Project GreenFlick competition is seeking creative and informative videos (humorous or serious) about energy efficiency or environmental awareness. Students must write and produce the videos, which can be up to two minutes in length, then upload the videos at aimgreenomaha.com between now and Sunday, October 31.
The winning student or team of students will receive $500, as will the winner’s school. The second-place winner and school each will be awarded $250, with $125 each going to the third-place winner and school.
The competition is open to any high school student or group of students, 13 years of age or older, in OPPD’s service territory. Before submitting videos, review complete contest rules at aimgreenomaha.com.
Last year’s first and third place winners were students from Omaha North High School. The winning video, Bad Energy Karma, is the story of a girl who doesn’t see the consequences of her wasteful actions.
To post your entry for this year’s Project GreenFlick, visit aimgreenomaha.com where you can also view last year’s winning video. You can also view last year’s winning entry by linking directly to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeTGF81Len8
A complete list of direct links for OPPD’s Project GreenFlick…
Link to site:
Link to contest entry/rules page:
Link to last year’s winning video:
The Omaha Public Power District will test the siren alert system around the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station on Wednesday, August 25, 2010. The tests include all radio-controlled sirens located within a 10-mile radius of Fort Calhoun Station. The sirens will sound for a full three minutes sometime between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Fort Calhoun Station is located about 19 miles north of Omaha and just outside of Blair, Nebraska. Because this is only a test, no action by the public is required.
The siren system is designed to alert those who live or work within 10 miles of Fort Calhoun Station in the unlikely event of a serious accident at the station. The test is conducted once a year to ensure the system is working properly. If an event were to occur, the sirens would sound to signal people to tune to radio station KFAB, 1110 on the AM dial for official information and instructions. KFAB serves as the primary source of information from Nebraska and Iowa authorities in this area.
Anyone noticing a siren malfunction during the test on Wednesday, August 25, is asked to call (402) 636-3747 or contact the Consumer Relations Department, Omaha Public Power District, 444 S. 16th St. Mall, Omaha, NE 68102-2247.
The Omaha Public Power District could turn to the national, and maybe the international, bond markets to finance a portion of the district’s construction needs over the next two years. Those construction projects are intended to keep the utility’s systems operating safely and reliably for OPPD’s more than 340,000 customers.
At its regular monthly meeting, held in Syracuse, Nebraska, OPPD the Board of Directors authorized the District’s management to proceed with preparations to issue and sell up to $300 million of series 2010 Electric System Revenue Bonds on a negotiated basis. Depending upon the rates at the time of the sale, the District may take advantage of the federal government’s Build America bond program.
Build America Bonds are taxable bonds that will give OPPD access to a larger pool of investors than it usually taps with municipal bonds. While the interest rate OPPD would pay on a taxable bond is higher, under this program the federal government would pay 35 percent of the interest cost in a subsidy to OPPD. That subsidy can bring the interest cost to OPPD below that of a municipal bond. Since interest rates vary, the District would wait until the time of the issuance to determine whether it would issue tax-free bonds, taxable bonds, or a mix of the two.
All bonds would be sold through a group of local and national investment bankers. OPPD will use the proceeds of the 2010 Revenue Bonds to reimburse previously incurred capital expenditures, finance future capital improvements and potentially redeem all or a portion of the district’s Commercial Paper Program.
The Board’s meetings are usually held at OPPD’s corporate headquarters. However, the meeting for August was held at OPPD’s Syracuse Center because directors periodically schedule evening meetings in a different location in an effort to strengthen communications with customer-owners and make it more convenient for customers to meet with the Board.
New Date and Time for OPPD Board Meeting in August
July 28, 2010
The Omaha Public Power District is advising customers that the OPPD Board of Directors will hold its August board meeting at a different time and in a different location than normally scheduled.
The board’s monthly meeting will be held Thursday, August 12 at 7 p.m. at the OPPD Syracuse Center in Syracuse, Nebraska. OPPD board meetings are normally held the first Thursday after the tenth of each month at 10 a.m. in the district’s corporate headquarters in downtown Omaha. Directors periodically schedule evening meetings in an effort to strengthen communications with customer-owners and make it more convenient for customers to meet with the board.
The August committee meetings for the board will be held on the preceding Tuesday, August 10, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Energy Plaza.
The Omaha Public Power District has announced the appointment of Steven T. Schmitz as Division Manager of Information Technology effective July 25.
Mr. Schmitz began his career at OPPD in 1989. Since that time he has served in several managerial and supervisory positions. That includes his most recent position of Manager of Business Applications Delivery to which he was appointed in 2007.
Mr. Schmitz graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Studies. He has earned an Executive Master of Business Administration degree, also from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Mr. Schmitz has been an Operations Director (Pro Am’s and Charity Auctions) for the Cox Classic for eight years and is currently on several University of Nebraska at Omaha Alumni committees. He has served in numerous capacities on local charity, SID and Homeowners Association boards.
Mr. Schmitz and his wife, Micki, have three children, Logan, Casey and Alaena.
Editor's note: Attached is a photograph of Steven T. Schmitz
OPPD Crews to Assist MidAmerican Restore Its System
July 19, 2010
Eighteen Omaha Public Power District workers are in Des Moines, Iowa, today to assist MidAmerican Energy in bringing power to customers who were left in the dark this weekend after high winds and lightning swept through the area. Five three-person crews, two mechanics and a supervisor are there for what is expected to be one day’s work.
Utility companies assisting each other in times of disaster is a common practice. Workers from Nebraska Public Power District and Lincoln Electric System helped OPPD workers last week in a two day restoration effort after a wind storm knocked 32,000 customers off line.
The storms that moved through Iowa also have several rivers at or above flood stage, according to the Des Moines Register. The newspaper also reports most of those still out of power are in the Des Moines area.
The Omaha Public Power District is in the process of increasing the amount of carbon-free power it generates from its Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station. At its meeting today, the OPPD Board of Directors authorized management to buy eight high-voltage circuit breakers, one of which is needed to help carry the increased amount of electricity coming from the plant when improvements are completed in 2012. The other breakers are needed for a project involving increased customer load and for the replacement of breakers that have reached the end of their service life.
The circuit breakers will handle 161,000 volts of power and will be installed in three substations, two in Douglas County and one in Washington County. The contract will go to Siemens Energy Inc. of Richland, Mississippi, for $631,480.
In other action, the board:
approved the Engineer’s Certification and authorized management to negotiate and award a contract for valve maintenance services during the 2011 and 2012 refueling outages at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.
authorized management to offer for sale the former North Bend Office.
approved the 2010 labor contracts with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I.B.E.W.) Local Union No. 763 and No. 1483 and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (I.A.M. & A.W.) Lodge No. 31.
Omaha Public Power District customers made it ten in a row for their electric utility, according to the latest news release from J.D. Power & Associates. In the latest survey of residential customer satisfaction, OPPD topped all competitors in the mid-size Midwestern utility category, making it the tenth consecutive year that OPPD has won the award for highest residential customer satisfaction in its class.
“This award means a great deal to us, especially since it represents the voices of our customers. We work hard to ensure our service exceeds expectations and we’re very proud to receive this accolade from our customers for 10 years in a row,” said OPPD President and CEO W. Gary Gates. “At the same time, though, we won’t rest on our successes. We will continue to find ways to meet the rising expectations of our customers for reliable, affordable electric service.”
The District expects to receive more details from J.D. Power on the survey later this year.
The 2010 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 85,000 online interviews conducted from July 2009 through May 2010. The survey included residential customers of the 121 largest electric utility brands across the United States, which collectively represent more than 93 million households. OPPD is the only electric utility in Nebraska with enough retail customers to qualify for the survey
The Omaha Public Power District is joining hands with Douglas, Washington and Sarpy counties in Nebraska and Pottawattamie County in Iowa on a new agreement. The new inter-local proposal ultimately will mean greater public safety by maintaining the ability of counties, public safety agencies, and others in the region to share information.
The agreement, approved by the OPPD Board of Directors at its monthly meeting, calls for the District to provide maintenance services for a new wide area network microwave system. The system was built by Douglas County through a grant from the federal government.
OPPD and the four other entities involved will share communication infrastructure in addition to maintenance services. In exchange for providing maintenance, OPPD will see replacement of obsolete equipment at four of its tower sites. It also will receive high-priority bandwidth now and additional bandwidth in the future.
The Douglas County Technology Commission (DOTComm) will oversee implementation of the agreement. Sharing communications infrastructure and maintenance services is expected to reduce overall costs for all of the participants.
Microwave systems typically are known to save on the costs of telecommunication services and to increase the amount of bandwidth public agencies and utility departments need to respond to the demands of those in their service territories.
In other action, the board:
authorized management to negotiate the necessary contracts to install modifications for the 2011 and 2012 refueling outages at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.
recognized the actions of employees at Fort Calhoun Station that saved the life of a co-worker who became ill.
presented the 2010 J.M. Harding Award to the Bellevue Public Schools (separate news release follows) and two scholarships to college students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University.
Bellevue Schools Earn OPPD Energy-Efficiency Award
June 17, 2010
Tight budgets mean school districts must be creative in finding ways to save money in operations so they will have more to spend on teaching students. The Bellevue Public School District has done just that, showing its history of excellence in the classroom extends to innovation and creativity when it comes to energy efficiency and effective use of resources. That wise use of energy prompted the Omaha Public Power District to name the Bellevue Public Schools the winner of the 2010 J.M. Harding Award of Excellence.
The school district becomes only the second recipient to repeat as the Harding Award winner in 27 years. The district also received recognition in 1997.
Named after OPPD’s first president, J.M. Harding, the award of excellence is presented annually to one of OPPD’s commercial or industrial customers on the basis of several energy-related factors, including energy consumption, efficiency and innovation. The award was presented during the board’s monthly meeting for June.
Named after OPPD’s first president, J.M. Harding, the award of excellence is presented annually to one of OPPD’s commercial or industrial customers on the basis of several energy-related factors, including energy consumption, efficiency and innovation. The award was presented during the board’s monthly meeting for June.
In announcing the selection, OPPD President Gary Gates said that the school district has enjoyed a very positive partnership with OPPD over the years. He said the school district has worked actively to use modern technology to improve energy efficiency in its facilities while creating an environment conducive to learning.
With an enrollment of 9,800 students, Bellevue’s facilities include 15 elementary schools, 3 middle schools and two high schools, as well as its Lifelong Learning Center Campus. Those facilities contain over 2,000,000 square feet of space.
Bellevue worked closely with OPPD to evaluate the energy systems in its facilities and to develop a long-term strategy to improve energy usage. It is estimated that once that strategy is fully implemented, the school district’s energy costs could be reduced by 20 percent or more.
Among the projects implemented by the school district to improve efficiency was the implementation of ECO 24/7 projects at Mission Middle School and Lewis and Clark Middle School. ECO 24/7 is a patented technology that integrates and optimizes HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning) and other energy-related systems to improve occupant comfort and minimize energy use. The process typically reduces energy consumption by 25 percent. The school district also installed Ground Loop Heat Exchange (GLHE) systems in four buildings, including the district’s newest school, Bellevue Elementary. GLHE systems provide heating and/or cooling by pumping heat to or from the ground. The Department of Energy has listed GLHE as the most energy-efficient heating and cooling system available.
Other projects completed in recent years include retrofits of higher energy-efficient lighting and installation of automatic light sensors in all classrooms and areas throughout the district which saves approximately $72,000 annually; installation of energy-efficient boilers and windows; computerized classroom temperature controls; improved insulation; and implementation of a number of cost-cutting measures to reduce the impact of rising fuel prices and to improve operating efficiency in Bellevue’s transportation department.
Mutual of Omaha is the only other repeat Harding Award winner.
OPPD also announced the newest Harding scholarship award winners. Selected for 2010 were Shane Hanson of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Song Zheng of Creighton University, who also received a scholarship last year.
Hanson is a junior majoring in Civil Engineering who holds a 3.94 grade point average. Shane is a graduate of Mount Michael Benedictine High School in Elkhorn.
Zheng is a junior studying international business. Originally from China, Zheng attended Bryan High School. At Creighton, he has earned a spot on the dean’s list each semester, with a 3.68 grade point average.
The Omaha Public Power District has announced three recent appointments to positions as division managers within the company.
OPPD announced that Dean C. Mueller has been appointed to the position of division manager of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Stewardship effective May 30. Mr. Mueller will be responsible for overseeing the district’s efforts to increase its emphasis on renewable energy, energy efficiency and concern for the environment. He previously served as manager of Consumer Sales and Services, a position he had held since 2002.
Mr. Mueller began his career with OPPD in 1975 as an engineer in the Engineering Division. He briefly left the company in 1981 but returned two years later. He has served the district in a wide variety of positions including manager of Scheduling and Budgets, manager of Land and Facilities Management, director of Operations Analysis and executive assistant to the president.
Mr. Mueller holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha as well as a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Nebraska.
OPPD announced the appointment of Ronald A. Johansen to the position of division manager of Facilities Management effective May 2. In his new position, Mr. Johansen is responsible for planning, organizing and directing the management of the district’s physical properties. This includes engineering, design, construction, modification, maintenance and security of these properties as well as providing support services to all of the district’s business units.
Mr. Johansen previously served as manager of Maintenance for Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station. He was appointed to that position in 2007 having previously held several managerial and supervisory positions at Fort Calhoun Station where he began his career with OPPD as a senior test engineer in Plant Engineering in 1982.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He is also a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
OPPD has also announced the appointment of Timothy J. Nissen to the position of division manager of Transmission and Distribution Engineering effective May 30.
Mr. Nissen started with OPPD in 1984 as an electrical design engineer in Generating Station Engineering. Following that he served in several other positions in Substation and System Protection including protection engineer, lead protection engineer and supervisor of Protection Engineering. He later served as supervisor of Distribution Planning in T&D Planning and manager of Systems Operations in T&D Operations before accepting his recent appointment.
Mr. Nissen holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of Nebraska. He is also a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, holds a North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) reliability coordinator certification, and has served in a number of industry organizations.
Editor: Attached are photos of Dean Mueller, Ron Johansen and Tim Nissen. We do not have a color photo of Mr. Johansen.
The Nuclear Energy Institute has announced the re-election of Omaha Public Power District President and CEO W. Gary Gates to a second term as chairman of its board of directors. Mr. Gates was first elected as chairman last year.
The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is the policy organization of the nuclear energy and technologies industry and participates in both the national and global policy-making process. Its objective is to ensure the formation of policies that promote the beneficial uses of nuclear energy and technologies in the United States and around the world.
Executives from all companies that hold licenses to operate nuclear power plants and selected representatives of other companies involved in commercial nuclear technologies are members of the NEI board of directors. Members of the board and its executive committee typically serve three-year terms, and officers are elected annually
In addition to his activities as chairman of NEI, Mr. Gates also serves on the board of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) based in Atlanta, Georgia. INPO was established in 1979 by the nuclear utility industry and is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to promote the highest level of safety and reliability, and to promote excellence in the operation of nuclear generating plants.
The Omaha Public Power District owns and operates Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station, located about twenty miles north of Omaha. There are currently 104 nuclear power plants licensed to operate in the United States which generate about 20% of our nation's electrical energy.
NEI also has announced that William D. Johnson, chairman, president and CEO of Progress Energy Inc., has been re-elected vice chairman of the board. The announcements were made during the Nuclear Energy Assembly, the annual conference for the nuclear energy industry which is being held this year in San Francisco, California.
NEI also has elected two new members to its board of directors and re-elected two others. Two new members were elected to the board’s executive committee joining six members who were re-elected. The executive committee sets broad policy for the industry
OPPD Prepares for Additional Carbon-Free Generation
May 13, 2010
The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors took another step today on a journey to provide more carbon-free generation to OPPD customers. That generation will be coming from improvements designed to get more power from Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station.
The Board authorized management to negotiate and award contracts to upgrade the plant’s condensate pumps. The pump upgrade is necessary as the plant starts producing an extra 75 to 80 megawatts of electricity. The contracts include the engineering, procurement and installation of the upgraded equipment necessary to ensure the safe, reliable operation of the plant at power uprate conditions. The total value of the contracts associated with the work is estimated at around $4.1 million.
The uprate currently is scheduled for fall 2012.
In other action the Board:
approved a resolution honoring M. Catharine Bodammer upon her retirement as Corporate Secretary after 38 years of service with OPPD.
heard a special presentation from the Nebraska Energy Office.
All-Electric Vehicles Shine at Power Drive Championships
May 11, 2010
When electric cars start rolling off major assembly lines later this year, a large number of Nebraska and Iowa students will have a head start on the technology. They spent much of their school year designing and building their own electric vehicles. Students from 29 high schools and one community college put 50 such vehicles on the track last weekend to compete in the Championship competition of the Nebraska Power Drive. The competition took place at the Mid America Motorplex outside of Pacific Junction, Iowa, and is the last of six rallies this year. (Two additional rallies were rained out.)
The final competition tests students’ skills in designing the vehicle for braking, maneuverability and driving for endurance. Being able to document their work plays a major role in the overall championship.
Students from Bancroft-Rosalie High School took home the overall championships for Advanced and Standard Class vehicles, using high scores in documentation, design and maneuverability to move them ahead of cars that were just a bit faster on the track.
The swiftest vehicle belonged to Mid-Plains Community College competing in the Exhibition Class, which is reserved for college students. The Mid-Plains vehicle completed 23 laps of the 1.4 mile-long Road Course to lead its class. Wayne (Nebraska) High School’s vehicle A-107 had the second largest number of laps at 22 to lead the Advanced Class in Endurance. Friend (Nebraska) High School vehicle S-13 lapped the track 21 times to lead the Standard Class in Endurance.
Chevrolet and Nissan plan to begin rolling all-electric cars off the assembly line in November and December. This is the eleventh year that Nebraska and Iowa high school students have been designing, building and rallying electric vehicles. Power Drive was developed as a way to interest students in energy- and automotive-related industries. It brings the lessons students learn in math, physics, and construction into a competitive and fun team environment. The Omaha Public Power District pioneered the program with the Nebraska Public Power District, Nebraska Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Program joining after the first year as Power Drive went statewide in Nebraska. Iowa and South Dakota schools discovered the program and have represented their states since then.
A complete list of vehicles and their finishes follows.
Cedar Rapids Prairie
Cedar Rapids Prairie
Cedar Rapids Kennedy, IA
Omaha North HS
Johnson County Central
Omaha Home for Boys
Columbus Lakeview HS
Columbus Lakeview HS
Columbus Lakeview HS
DC West HS
Mid Plains CC
North Platte HS
Cedar Rapids Kennedy, IA
Cedar Rapids Prairie
Cedar Rapids Kennedy, IA
Omaha North HS
* Note: Exhibition Class does not compete in Overall
OPPD Urges Public to Observe Electric Safety in May
May 7, 2010
Better weather means more people are out working in their yards and on their homes. That also means more people need to be aware of precautions to take around electricity, according to the Omaha Public Power District. OPPD is taking advantage of National Electric Safety Month to emphasize one of its top priorities, safety.
Often, one of the main problems in recognizing hazardous situations is that many electrical dangers do not have physical warning signs. Some safety officials estimate that among the number of unintentional electrocutions this year, as many as 22 will happen because of someone using a ladder outside a home near power lines or a utility pole. As many as 17 electrocutions may be related to miscellaneous and seemingly innocent activities such as flying a kite.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), this year more than 450 people will die as a result of electrical fires in an estimated 53,000 homes. At the same time, another 1,400 individuals will be injured. The price tag of the resulting property damage will exceed $1.4 billion.
The workplace statistics are similarly alarming -- the NFPA estimates electrical hazards will cause nearly 4,000 non-fatal injuries on the job. In all situations, one fact is critical – many of those electrical mishaps could have been prevented.
This year, the Omaha Public Power District is joining with the Electrical Safety Foundation International and others across the country in a month-long public awareness campaign promoting electric safety.
This year’s safety campaign will focus on one key electrical safety issue during each week of May. The themes include educating your children on safety, and safety issues around home and work. More information about the this month’s campaign and year-round safety tips can be found on the OPPD website, at www.oppd.com.
Combining education, beauty and community service means a triple play for twenty community groups and organizations in the Omaha Public Power District’s territory. The District has awarded them tree planting sponsorships for their applications to OPPD’s Tree Promotion Program. This year’s winners were formally announced during Arbor Day ceremonies at Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens.
The District has operated the program for nearly twenty years to show how trees and power lines can co-exist. The projects also must promote energy efficiency and/or beautification, must be located on public property or that owned by a non-profit organization, and cannot exceed $2,500. The program allows for the planting of shrubs as well as trees.
OPPD’s Tree Promotion Program is one reason the National Arbor Day Foundation recently recognized OPPD as a Tree Line USA utility for the tenth consecutive year. That program promotes efforts to combine reliable electric service with healthy trees in our cities and villages.
At today’s Arbor Day ceremony in Omaha, OPPD representatives handed recipients certificates noting the award of their grants.
The following received 2010 Tree Promotion Program grants:
To reduce the chances of problems on its high voltage transmission lines, the Omaha Public Power District is inspecting its rural lines from the air over the next week. Losing a high voltage power line can ruin an electric utility’s day. OPPD’s transmission system is like a major interstate highway system—if part of the system is down, the flow of electricity (or traffic) is disrupted. Such outages can severely affect the ability to move power on the grid. In extreme cases, if the timing is wrong, the loss of a line can result in outages across a wide area. Just such a thing happened in 2003 when the loss of one line led to a power outage from Massachusetts to Michigan, putting an estimated 50 million people in the dark.
Experts will inspect much of OPPD’s 1,275 miles of transmission lines, looking for anything that could mean trouble when summer’s heat means more of us will be drawing power through those lines.
Traveling by helicopter not only gives the best view of potential problems, say OPPD officials, it is also the quickest, lowest cost way to scour the lines. Rural transmission lines are usually in farm fields and out-of-the-way locations. To provide a similar inspection from the ground would cost about 85 percent more and take six times longer to do.
With good weather, the helicopter inspections will be done by May. Repairs could be scheduled for any potential problem areas before the heat of summer begins.
The Omaha Public Power District has announced the appointment of Gregory A. Krieser as Division Manager of Production Operations effective April 18. In his new position, Mr. Krieser will have overall responsibility for the operation and maintenance of all OPPD fossil-fueled generating units.
Mr. Krieser began his career at OPPD in 1985 serving as an engineer at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generating Station. He later served as Supervisor of Corporate Quality Assurance for the station. In 1990, he moved to the Production Operations Division to support in-service inspections of station equipment at OPPD’s Nebraska City and North Omaha Generating Stations. He joined the North Omaha Station staff in 1999 as Maintenance Engineer and later served as Operations Supervisor. In 2006, he was appointed Manager of the North Omaha Station, a position he held until his current appointment to Division Manager of Production Operations.
Mr. Krieser is currently chair of the Powder River Basin Coal Users’ Group. Additionally, he is actively involved with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and he is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers.
Mr. Krieser holds a master’s degree in Business Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is also a professional engineer licensed in the State of Nebraska.
Editors, please note: A photograph of Mr. Krieser is attached. If you need a larger resolution, please contact us.
The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors is taking steps to strengthen the reliability of the utility’s electricity delivery system. Today, the board approved moving ahead on a construction project designed to upgrade electric equipment and improve reliability in the West Dodge corridor. This is one of the busiest commercial sections in Omaha.
In order to begin the construction project, the board authorized management to initiate eminent domain proceedings to acquire necessary permanent easements following unsuccessful negotiations with representatives of the property owner. Negotiations have continued for several years with very limited response from that property owner. The District hopes to start the construction project in early June to replace electric switches considered obsolete and which need to be upgraded.
In other action, the board:
approved a proposal from Deloitte & Touche LLP for financial auditing services.
approved utilizing regulatory accounting for the District’s fuel and purchased power adjustment and debt service repayments from participants for Nebraska City Station Unit 2 Separate Electric System Revenue Bonds.
approved a resolution honoring Vice President Dale F. Widoe upon his retirement.
OPPD Back to Basics in 2009, Annual Report Now Online
April 12, 2010
Last year was a challenging year for the Omaha Public Power District as symbolized by the cover photo on the District’s 2009 Annual Report. That photo shows one of the utility’s troubleshooters trudging through the knee-deep snow that seemed to plague the Heartland often this past winter and hamper efforts to keep electric service flowing to customers.
One thing that should be much less challenging in 2010 is the opportunity for OPPD customers to see how their money was spent last year. That’s because the latest annual report is now available online.
The document, titled “Your Energy Partner,” recounts highlights of the last year and offers a detailed financial report. Offering it in an online format to most audiences is expected to save the District money and resources, while increasing access and convenience for those wishing to review it.
The 2009 Annual Report includes a message from President/CEO Gary Gates and Chairman of the Board John Green that explains how the utility got back to basics last year as the economy continued in a slump and posed challenges for the District, as well as many of its customers.
“While going through the process of reducing operating costs and improving efficiency, we were reminded of our core strengths – an experienced workforce with bright ideas, strong infrastructure and equipment, and a solid business plan that looks well into the future,” they wrote.
“We had our work cut out for us last year, and we took strong steps to face our challenges head-on. We thank our employees, management and our board of directors for all of their efforts.”
Those wishing to review to the information will also find a page full of statistics that go back 10 years, as well as the highlights of the year and the financial report.
To view the report online, go to OPPD’s website at www.oppd.com, where the document is under the Investors & Finance tab. Or, click the link: http://www.oppd.com/InvestorsFinance/FinancialInformation/22_001331.
Midland residents looking for ways to save energy can find a recognized source of information in a local utility, the Omaha Public Power District. For the second time in a month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded OPPD for its efforts to protect the environment by promoting energy efficiency.
The most recent award is the 2010 ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award. OPPD earned the award by sponsoring an ENERGY STAR for New Homes program in its 13-county service territory. Since OPPD began sponsoring its program in 2007, the EPA has awarded it with an Award for Excellence in 2008 and the Leadership in Housing Award in 2009. Just last month, the EPA recognized OPPD’s efforts in helping its business customers become more energy efficient by giving it a special ENERGY STAR award.
To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the EPA. These homes must be at least 15 percent more energy efficient than homes built to local code and may include additional energy-savings features that make them 20 to 30 percent more efficient than standard homes.
“Helping our customers use energy efficiently is one our top priorities at OPPD,” said OPPD President and CEO Gary Gates. “We try to encourage new home builders to incorporate efficiency into their plans so homebuyers can control their energy costs right from the start. It’s equally important, however, that all of our customers understand that being energy efficient can be beneficial to all of us. By managing your energy use, you can keep your bills down and we can delay construction of costly new generating plants.”
OPPD currently partners with approximately 40 builders on building ENERGY STAR homes. About 1,500 such homes have been built in OPPD’s territory under the program. The EPA estimates that families living in ENERGY STAR qualified homes around the nation will save more than $270 million (nationwide) this year on their utility bills.
Not content with past efforts, OPPD will host its second annual ENERGY STAR for New Homes seminar on April 29th at Champions Run in Omaha. National Director of the ENERGY STAR for Homes Sam Rashkin will be among those presenting. Along with him will be building science experts to teach the latest procedures and practices.
More information on the awards and tips that make homes more energy efficient are available at www.oppd.com. Builders interested in the seminar can find out more information and register at: http://www.oppd.com/AimGreen/22_005815.
The Omaha Public Power District continues to make significant contributions to the treasuries of the communities it serves. The District’s (in-lieu-of) tax bill jumped by more than $2.5 million in 2009, as OPPD today issued checks totaling a record of almost $24 million to counties in its service territory. That compares to last year’s amount of almost $21.3 million.
The in-lieu-of-tax payments are based on the amount of retail sales of electricity within incorporated cities and villages in OPPD’s territory. The payments take the place of property taxes and some other taxes. The District does pay general sales taxes, gasoline taxes, wheel taxes, motor vehicle license fees, and permit fees, like any other business.
The in-lieu-of-tax payments will be distributed to school districts, cities and other entities.
“This has been a difficult year for the nation’s economy as a whole, and that has posed a number of challenges for the District,” said OPPD Board Chairman John Green.
“To meet those challenges, we have considerably cut operating costs and will continue to do so,” said Chairman Green.
“This substantial amount of money represents an increase over last year’s payments to the local treasuries. These funds will help our communities remain economically healthy and continue to be the type of places where people want to live and work.”
The eleven counties that received payments today and the amounts received are as follows:
When a storm hits and power lines go down, utility lineworkers head into the weather to restore service. On Saturday, March 27, around 500 of the best utility lineworkers in the nation will compete in Omaha to see who is the best of the best. Area residents will have the chance to witness firsthand what it takes to answer such challenges and be a first class lineworker.
The Omaha Public Power District is hosting the tenth annual Public Power Lineworkers’ Rodeo, which is sponsored by the American Public Power Association. Participants will include journeyman and apprentice lineworkers. They will go head-to-head as they perform line work-related activities such as pole-top rescues, installing lighting arrestors and hooking up transformers, all while atop utility poles some 30 feet above ground. In addition to competing for professional recognition against a thrilling backdrop, the rodeo allows lineworkers to practice essential skills in a safe environment and to learn from other professionals. It also provides them an opportunity to attend training courses.
The rodeo is scheduled be held at Levi Carter Park, just west of Eppley Airfield from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Actual competition is expected to begin around 8 a.m. The public is invited to watch the rodeo free of charge. Food will be available and there will be activities for children.
The Public Power Lineworkers’ Rodeo is considered the foremost showcase of power public lineworker skill and knowledge. The rodeo is being held in Omaha in conjunction with the 54th Annual APPA Engineering and Operations Technical Conference also in Omaha. The national conference will run from March 28 - 31 at the Hilton Hotel and focus on the engineering and operational needs of the public power industry.
Besides the 500 competitors from public utilities across the nation, another 250 public power experts will take part in APPA’s Engineering and Operations Technical Conference in downtown Omaha.
More information on this year’s Lineworkers’ Rodeo is available at the OPPD website at www.oppd.com
The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors got a preview of a new look for OPPD’s bills at their meeting today. OPPD is revising the bill to update its look and make it easier for customers to use. The design changes come about after getting opinions from customers. As a result, the important information they look for in a bill will be emphasized.
The final design is not yet firm, but one change looks to be a larger chart for customers to compare their electric usage to the same month in the previous year. The chart will be moved to a more visible location in the center of the bill.
One main change customers will see is that the portion of the bill to send in with payment will come from the bottom of the new design, instead of the top, as is currently the case. Deciding what part of a bill to send in won’t affect a growing number of customers who are signing up to save paper and receive their bills electronically. Currently, around 10,000 residential customers are receiving their bills electronically and 65,000 are paying online, saving postage and paper. Customers can request their bills be available electronically through oppd.com, the utility’s web site.
The new bill format should start appearing in late spring or early summer.
In other action today, the Board reviewed and approved the District’s 2009 Health Plan and Annual Report.
Midland area residents have the chance to see what is considered the foremost showcase of utility lineworker skill and knowledge as the Public Power Lineworkers’ Rodeo comes to Omaha Saturday, March 27, from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Spectators will witness firsthand just what it takes to be a first class lineworker and some of the many challenges faced by those who restore power to customers when storms ravage power lines. That includes activities such as pole top rescues, installing lighting arrestors and hooking up transformers while working up to 30 feet above ground.
The Omaha Public Power District is serving as host and inviting the public to attend the Tenth Annual Public Power Lineworkers’ Rodeo to be held in Omaha on at Levi Carter Park just west of Eppley Airfield. This is the first time the national event has been held in Omaha.
There is no charge to the public. Food and activities for children will be available.
Sponsored by the American Public Power Association, this year’s Public Power Lineworkers’ Rodeo is expected to attract 250 to 300 competitors from public utilities across the nation. For lineworkers, in addition to competing for professional recognition, the rodeo will allow them to practice essential skills in a safe environment, to learn from other professionals and provide an opportunity to attend training courses.
More information on the rodeo is available on the OPPD website at www.oppd.com.
The Omaha Public Power District has been tapped to receive a special award during the national ENERGY STAR awards ceremony on Thursday, March 18, 2010, in Washington DC. The ceremony is held to honor organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. OPPD will receive special recognition for its efforts to promote the ENERGY STAR program to its commercial customers.
Those promotional efforts began with OPPD being among those taking the ENERGY STAR Challenge. The ENERGY STAR Challenge seeks to improve the energy efficiency of America’s commercial and industrial buildings by at least 10 percent.
Last year, OPPD undertook a number of efforts to further promote the Commercial ENERGY STAR Challenge. It:
Hosted quarterly educational roundtables for dozens of larger customers who have committed to the challenge.
Collaborated with the Building Owners and Managers Association of Omaha and the University of Nebraska at Omaha to infuse training related to the challenge and energy efficiency into a real estate class offered at UNO.
Worked with Metropolitan Community College in Omaha and others to develop an ENERGY STAR-based course to be offered at MCC next semester.
This could be just the beginning for OPPD, which is now “Leader” status through the ENERGY STAR Partner program. It intends to become the first utility the first utility in the nation to achieve this status.
OPPD continues to actively promote ENERGY STAR via its website, personal contacts, targeted emails and at trade shows. Those efforts have generated excellent results. Over the past year the number of ENERGY STAR buildings in the state has nearly doubled. During the same period 19 organizations have taken the ENERGY STAR Challenge.
The ENERGY STAR Award ceremony will take place Thursday evening, March 18 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in the nation’s capitol.
OPPD, MCC, and EPA Partner to Bring First of Its Kind Energy Efficiency Class to Omaha
February 15, 2010
Businesses looking to save on their energy budget have a new opportunity in Omaha. The Omaha Public Power District has partnered with Metropolitan Community College and EPA’s ENERGY STAR program to offer a unique course to individuals hoping to learn more about boosting energy efficiency for commercial buildings. The class offered for college credit, and the first of its kind, will offer students hands-on learning opportunities such as measuring the energy use of actual buildings and identifying places to save energy. The class will begin March 11 at Metropolitan Community College.
Entitled “Energy Star for Commercial Buildings,” this unique course aims to introduce students to the benefits of and barriers to energy efficiency by taking an in-depth look into the ENERGY STAR program. Topics will include, but are not limited to, trends in commercial building energy efficiency, best energy efficiency practices, engaging employees in energy conservation, and tracking energy savings and greenhouse reductions over time. Additional topics include transforming the market with ENERGY STAR and ENERGY STAR guidelines for Energy Management.
The class will be held in the evenings on Thursdays from March 11 to May 20. It is open to anyone who signs up and pays for the course by the deadline date of March 8. To register, individuals can call Registration at Metropolitan Community College at 457-2451 and ask to register for INCT 2900 8A.
Those interested can also register online for this ENERGY STAR course by going to www.mccneb.edu/schedule/classselect.asp?sterm=09/SP and searching for Industrial and Commercial Trades (INCT) course 2900 8A.
Those with particular questions regarding this class are asked to contact:
Daniel J. Lawse
Coordinator of Sustainable Practices
Metropolitan Community College (MCC)
P.O. Box 3777
Omaha, NE 68103
The Omaha Public Power District has announced the appointment of Jon T. Hansen as Vice President of Energy Production and Marketing. In his new position, Mr. Hansen will have overall responsibility for the district’s fossil generation, fuels and marketing activities. Among the areas he will oversee are Production Operations, Production Engineering and Technical Support, Projects and Construction, Energy Marketing and Trading and Fuels.
Mr. Hansen has been with OPPD since 1983. During that time he has served in several managerial and supervisory positions and has performed engineering duties at Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station in addition to OPPD’s fossil stations. He began his career with OPPD as an engineer. In April 1995, he was named Supervisor of Peaking Plant Operations and Supervisor of North Omaha Station Operations in October of 1996. Six years later, in October 2002, he was appointed Manager of North Omaha Station. In June 2006, he was appointed Division Manager of Production Operations, a position he held until his promotion to Vice President.
Mr. Hansen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an Executive Master’s degree of Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The Omaha Public Power District has documented the results of its commitment to the environment and renewable energy. In a report to the OPPD Board of Directors this week, President and CEO Gary Gates outlined some of the changes the utility has made in order “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
Advancements came in areas of renewable energy, environmental stewardship and energy efficiency.
In renewable energy, OPPD now has contracts that will take it more than one third of the way toward its goal of having ten percent of its total generation coming from renewable sources by 2020. That includes new contracts signed to purchase wind-driven energy from generating sites near Humboldt, Bloomfield and Petersburg, Nebraska. The utility also is incorporating wind and solar energy in the design of its newest service center, now under construction near Omaha’s Eppley Airfield.
In environmental stewardship, OPPD increased its recycling efforts, increasing its paper recycling alone by almost 60 percent in 2009 from the year earlier. The utility is also looking to save paper by encouraging its customers to convert to paperless billing and receive their bills through email (http://ow.ly/13p5V).
Energy efficiency efforts include helping customers save energy through programs such as the one that helps pay to audit irrigation pump conversions from costly diesel fuel to electricity or for making efficiency changes to grain-drying equipment (http://www.oppd.com/AboutUs/22_005525).
The complete 2009 Sustainability Report can be found online at (http://www.oppd.com/prodconsump10g/groups/web/documents/webcontent/22_005750.pdf).
New Equipment to Mean Increased Safety and Reliability for OPPD
February 11, 2010
Reliability issues led the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors today to approve replacing equipment parts for some of the motors used in of one of North Omaha Generating Station’s five units.
The parts are used in the unit’s induced draft fans, which control and maintain air flow and gases within the unit. In recent years, that unit experienced several motor failures in those fans.
OPPD will replace the magnetic drives currently in use with variable frequency drives. The newer technology is expected to help maintain the unit’s reliability, improve safety for plant personnel, decrease maintenance costs and reduce auxiliary power usage.
The board authorized management to award a contract to Malloy Electric Industrial Services of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, in the amount of $593,478 for two of the new drives. The proposal was one of nine received from various vendors who responded to a request for proposals in December. The new equipment will be installed during the maintenance outage for North Omaha Station Unit 5 currently scheduled for January 2011.
The Board also heard a report on OPPD’s sustainability efforts, including impacts in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.
In other action, the board approved:
2010 Standing Committee assignments for the Board of Directors.
Commercial customers of the Omaha Public Power District will be saving more than 7 million kilowatt-hours and about $400,000 each year, thanks to a program the utility rolled out last February. The project gives monetary incentives to commercial and industrial customers to revamp their lighting with more energy-efficient systems.
As of December 31, 2009, the utility had approved incentive payments for lighting projects that resulted in a reduction of electrical demand of more than a megawatt as part of the 2009 Lighting Incentive Program. That is the equivalent of permanently turning off 10,000 100-watt light bulbs. OPPD reimburses up to 20 percent of the cost of the lighting upgrades, up to $20,000. So far, customers have spent more than $1 million on their projects.
The Lighting Incentive Program is part of OPPD’s ongoing Aim Green initiative. Increased energy efficiency helps all OPPD customers by delaying the need to build expensive new power plants.
Lighting is an important area for energy savings as it can account for as much as 40 percent of a building’s energy consumption.
OPPD officials are pleased with the success of the program and have renewed it for 2010. The incentives will be available on a first-come basis to commercial customers. Information about the program including incentive amounts is available at: http://www.oppd.com/BusinessCustomers/ProductsServices/22_003643
The Board of Directors of the Omaha Public Power District has selected its officers for 2010. The Board unanimously elected John K. Green as Chairman of the Board, N.P. Dodge Jr. as Vice Chairman, John R. Thompson as Treasurer and Michael J. Cavanaugh as Board Secretary. The elections were held during January’s regular business meeting.
Mr. John K. Green, who represents the Metropolitan Subdivision, was first elected to the Board in 1986. Mr. Green has previously served as Chairman of the Board, Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary.
Mr. Green holds bachelor's and law degrees from Creighton University. He once also served as an administrative assistant to Congressman John Cavanaugh. He is currently an attorney at law with Pickens, Daubman & Green, LLP. Mr. Green is a member of the Omaha, Nebraska, and American Bar Associations and the Nebraska and American Trial Lawyers Associations.
N.P. Dodge Jr. was first elected to the board in 1994. He has also previously served as Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. Mr. Dodge represents customers in the Metropolitan Subdivision.
Mr. Dodge is President and Chairman of the Board of the N.P. Dodge Company. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and serves on the boards of directors of American States Water Company and Bridges Investment Council. He was the 1997 chairman of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and past chairman of the Chamber’s Advisory Council Committee. Currently, he is a member of the Physicians Clinic Board of Trustees, Omaha Community Playhouse Foundation Board of Trustees and Omaha Police Foundation Board.
He is a past member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council – University of Nebraska Medical Center, the Nebraska Economic Development Commission, the Nebraska Power Review Board and Mayor’s Crime Commission. He is past director of the Girls Club of Omaha and of the Firstar Bank in Council Bluffs; and past president of the Omaha chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Managers.
Mr. John R. Thompson represents the Suburban Subdivision. He was first elected to the board in 2004.
Mr. Thompson is a Land Developer. He is past owner of Putt-Putt Golf of Bellevue and several businesses in Nebraska and Iowa. He is also the developer of Twin Creek Center in Bellevue. Mr. Thompson is a past member of the Bellevue City Council, chairman of several sanitary improvement districts, a 37-year member of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and has served on various land planning boards. He is co-chair of the Parent Television Counci
Other organizations where he has served include the Memorial Ridge of the Midlands Foundation as Vice President, the Nebraska Veterans Cemetery Advisory Board, the Sarpy County Economic Development Committee (1996 to 2002) and the United States Navy (1969 to 1971) , a Vietnam veteran, ComCruDesFlot 9, Seventh Fleet, from which he was honorably discharged.
Mr. Thompson and his wife of 38 years, Monie (Hokanson) Thompson, have two sons, E. Grant and Adam R.
Mr. Michael J. Cavanaugh was first elected to the board in1994. He represents the Metropolitan Subdivision.
Mr. Cavanaugh is a retired Police Lieutenant for the City of Omaha who holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is also a real estate investor – manager and a former licensed Nebraska realtor, involved in residential property management.
A lifetime resident of Omaha, Mr. Cavanaugh is a former Rotary member and former member of the Omaha Jaycees. He has served as a member of various City of Omaha committees dealing with job training for underprivileged teens and with enforcing housing code violations within the city.
The Omaha Public Power District has announced the appointment of Mohamad Doghman as Vice President of Transmission and Distribution Engineering and Operations. In his new position, Mr. Doghman will have overall responsibility for the power lines, substations and other equipment that make up OPPD’s electrical grid.
Mr. Doghman began his career with OPPD in 1989 as a senior engineer. Since that time he has gained extensive experience in operations, engineering, maintenance optimization and automation. He has served in many leadership roles during his career and has been instrumental in initiating and implementing new technologies and process improvement programs at OPPD. His most recent position with OPPD was Division Manager of Engineering.
Prior to joining OPPD, Mr. Doghman worked as an electrical engineer with 3M and as a project engineer with the engineering and construction company Black & Veatch. Mr. Doghman graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree, from the University of Missouri at Columbia with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering degree and from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with an Executive Masters in Business Administration degree. He is a licensed professional engineer and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
OPPD Approves Purchase Agreement for Additional Wind Energy
January 14, 2010
The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors has approved a power purchase agreement expected to substantially increase the district’s renewable energy portfolio. Under the agreement the utility plans to purchase up to 40.5 megawatts (MW) of wind energy for twenty years from a wind farm to be built in Boone County near Petersburg, Nebraska. The facility is expected to be in service by the third quarter of 2011.
The developer of the wind farm is Third Planet Windpower, LLC, headquartered in Incline Village, Nevada, and also with an office in Petersburg, Nebraska. The project is a Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) project, the first one for OPPD under a law passed by the Nebraska Legislature in 2007 to promote the development of wind energy projects in the state. The power purchase agreement approved by the board is with TPW Petersburg, LLC.
As a C-BED project, 33 percent of the revenue payments from the wind farm will go to qualified Nebraska residents or organizations that have invested in the project. The farm will consist of 27 General Electric turbines that will each generate 1.5 MW when the wind is blowing at optimum. Once completed, the project is expected to produce enough electricity to provide the annual needs of about 12,000 residential customers.
The addition of the 40.5 MW project will bring OPPD’s renewable energy generation capacity to a total of 141.5 MW. The district has announced a goal of 400 MW or 10 percent of its total generation being derived from renewable energy sources by 2020.
The new purchase agreement follows a request for proposals that OPPD issued in August of 2008. The district received 12 different proposals as a result. Each was carefully evaluated.
In addition to the Petersburg wind farm, OPPD has already been purchasing 10 MW of energy from Nebraska Public Power District’s Ainsworth Wind Farm since 2005 and 25 MW from NPPD’s Elkhorn Ridge Wind Farm since last year. OPPD also has a current contract to take delivery of 60 MW of wind energy from the Flat Water Wind Farm in Richardson County, Nebraska, before the end of this year and owns a wind turbine in Valley, Nebraska, that produces .66 MW of wind energy.
In other action, the board also:
authorized management to pursue a possible change in OPPD’s membership status with the Southwest Power Pool.
authorized management to negotiate and award the necessary contracts for new main feedwater pumps at Fort Calhoun Station.
approved the pledged securities covering the district’s account balances held at financial institutions.
approved the Corporate Officer appointment of Mohamad Doghman as Vice President of Transmission and Distribution Engineering and Operations.
The winter weather has a number of area residents purchasing roof rakes to clear snow from their roofs. Many of the tools have long, metal handles and, with the rake on the end, are top-heavy. Combine that with a bit of wind and it would be easy for a roof rake to get out of control and, perhaps, hit a nearby power line.
OPPD cautions residents using any kind of long tools or ladders to look up and make certain there are no power lines near where they are working.
Ever wonder about the best ways to reduce the energy you use to heat and cool your home without sacrificing personal comfort? Maybe you have noticed that your house seems to be getting a little draftier due to air leakage and you are looking for the best ways to improve the situation by sealing some of those air leaks. Maybe you are in the market for some new windows and doors and you want to make sure whatever you buy will not end up costing you more money in the long run.
These are just a few of the subjects tackled in the Omaha Public Power District’s new online Energy Efficiency Video Library. The new video library is now available on the District’s internet website.
Other topics and videos include the Top 10 List of Energy Efficiency Tips, How to Reduce Home Lighting Costs, Preventing Phantom Energy Use by Home Electronics and Appliances, Energy Efficiency for the Home Water Heater and the Benefits of Heat Pumps.
The videos are part of the District’s ongoing efforts to educate customers about the advantages of energy efficiency. The information was formerly offered to the public by OPPD in classroom settings. The advantage of video is that the same basic information will be available to customers in a shorter, easier to digest form that interested individuals can view in the convenience of home whenever they wish. Customers with specific questions or questions that require more in-depth discussion will still be able to contact OPPD’s Energy Advisor and subject experts.
In addition to the video library, OPPD will continue to offer its Professional Series of classes. Those classes are open to real estate professionals, engineers and architects and are approved for CE (continuing education) credits.
Consumers can access OPPD’s Energy Efficiency Video Library by visiting the District’s website at www.oppd.com or by going to www.aimgreenomaha.com. Videos can also be accessed on You Tube by going to www.youtube.com/aimgreen.