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Home > Nuclear

Newsroom

 
For more information, please contact:  
Paula Lukowski
Supervisor - Customer Communications
Phone: (402) 636-3759
E-mail: plukowski@oppd.com
 
Mike Jones
Senior Media Specialist
Phone: (402) 636-3749
E-mail: mrjones@oppd.com
 
Jodi Baker
Media Specialist
Phone: (402) 636-3592
E-mail: jmbaker@oppd.com
 
For nuclear related information, please contact:
Jeff Hanson
Nuclear Communications
Phone: (402) 636-3755 or
(402) 533-6432
E-mail: jhanson@oppd.com
Cris Averett
Nuclear Site Communicator
Phone: (402) 533-6426
E-mail: craverett@oppd.com

Archives


August 2014

Students Earn Scholarships through Swigart Golf Tournament - 8/18/2014
Board Highlights Effort that Promotes Continued System Reliability - 8/15/2014
Phony Billing Scam Continues to Target Utility Customers - 8/14/2014
Students Can Earn Green While Going Green with OPPD’s Project GreenFlick - 8/08/2014
 

July 2014

OPPD Board Sets August Night Meeting on UNO campus - 7/17/2014
 

June 2014

OPPD Well-Prepared and Continues to Monitor River Despite Lower River Forecast - 6/2014
OPPD Proactively Monitoring Missouri River Levels and Taking Precautions - 6/19/14
OPPD Approves Bold Changes to Future Generation Portfolio - 6/19/14
OPPD Board Approves Selling up to $360 Million in Bonds - 6/19/14
 

May 2014

OPPD Announces Tree Grant Awards for 2014 - 5/19/14
Midwest Transmission Project-Nebraska to move forward - 5/15/14
OPPD going back out to public to report findings - 5/1/14
 

April 2014

OPPD to reach out to customers again in May - 4/17/14
Tree Give-Away Promotes Energy Savings, Reliability - 4/16/14
OPPD Annual Report Shows How Utility is Gearing Up for Future - 4/11/14
OPPD In-Lieu-of Tax Payments Exceed $30.7 Million - 4/01/14
 

March 2014

Successful Air Conditioning Management Program Back for 2014 - 3/27/14
OPPD 2013 Sustainability Report Released - 3/20/14
Omaha Public Power District wants to know what’s on your mind - 3/13/14
Fort Calhoun Station Goes Off-line Temporarily - 3/18/14

February 2014

OPPD to sell generating plant property - 2/13/14

January 2014

Ice Puts Fort Calhoun Station Temporarily Offline - 1/9/14
A Marshmallow, Spaghetti, String, Tape & Some Ingenuity - 1/31/14
 

December 2013

OPPD Board Approves 2014 Utility Budget with No Rate Increase - 12/19/13
Fort Calhoun Station Starting Again - 12/17/13
Warning: OPPD Imposters Attempt to Enter Customer’s Home - 12/06/13
 

November 2013

No Rate Increase in OPPD’s Proposed 2014 Corporate Operating Plan - 11/14/13
Knowledgeable Business Owner Stuns Scammer - 11/7/13
 

October 2013

Newest Wind Power Purchase to be OPPD’s Largest to Date - 10/17/13
Public Power Week: Working for Our Customers - 10/07/13
One Week Left for Project Greenflick Submissions - 10/04/13
 

September 2013

Scammers at It Again, Claiming to Represent OPPD - 9/25/13
OPPD Board Approves Changes in Election Subdivisions - 9/19/13
5 Electric Safety Tips to Share with Family - 9/12/13
Speakers Series to Tackle Electricity 101 & Sustainable Energy - 9/10/13
 

August 2013

Fort Calhoun Station to Sound Siren System - 8/26/13
Project Greenflick Provides an Outlet for Aspiring Filmmakers - 8/22/13
OPPD Board Hears Midyear Status Report - 8/16/13
 

July 2013

Public Invited to Sustainability Summit - 7/19/13
Number 13 and counting for OPPD - 7/17/13
Nancy Wittwer Receives National Accounting Education Award - 7/15/13
Board Approves Cost-Saving Installation at Power Station - 7/11/13
 

June 2013

Beyond Weather-Related Outages - 6/28/13
OPPD Warns of Scammers Targeting Customers with Latino Surnames - 6/26/13
OPPD Board Approves Equipment for New Substation - 6/20/13
OPPD Hosting Open House Meetings to Discuss Stakeholder Involvement - 6/18/13
 

May 2013

Bond Outlook Changes - 5/31/13
New OPPD Substation to Accommodate Sarpy County Growth - 5/30/13
 

April 2013

Speakers Series: Tips & Tools for Saving Energy - 4/22/13
OPPD Joins Earth Day Celebration at Elmwood Park - 4/18/13
OPPD Continues its Commitment to Economic Development - 4/15/13
OPPD Board Approves Selling up to $60 Million in Bonds - 4/11/13
Going Once, Going Twice, Going Online - 4/10/13
OPPD Stronger Despite Challenges Says 2012 Annual Report - 4/8/13
OPPD Refrigerator Recycling Program Returns - 4/4/13
OPPD In-Lieu-of Tax Payments Exceed $29 Million - 4/1/13
 

March 2013

Successful Air Conditioning Management Program Back for 2013 - 03/28/13
Storms & Power Restoration Opens 2013 Speakers Series - 3/25/13
OPPD’s Pilot Energy-Saving Trees Program a Big Success - 03/21/13
OPPD Board Holds Its March Monthly Meeting - 03/21/13
Save Energy with Free Trees from OPPD - 03/15/13

February 2013

OPPD Warns Customers of Latest Phony Billing Scam - 02/26/13
OPPD Board Approves Next Step in New Offutt Stratcom Headquarters - 02/14/12

January 2013

OPPD Board Elects New Officers to lead in 2013 - 01/17/13
Southeast Nebraska Buildings Earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Certification - 01/11/13
 


Students Earn Scholarships through Swigart Golf Tournament

August 18, 2014

Students Earn ScholarshipsThree metro area college students will have some extra green to put toward their education, thanks to hundreds who took to the links recently in the Swigart Golf Tournament. Proceeds from the tournament, held August 13, are going to fund three separate scholarships valued at $2,000 each.

  • Ryan McChesney - Creighton University. Ryan has dual majors in Accounting and Business Intelligence Analytics. Ryan volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and would love to own his own business in the future.

  • Samuel Arwood - University of Nebraska at Omaha. Samuel is a Computer Engineering and Electronics Engineer major. Samuel plans to work in an engineering research lab after graduation.

  • Kevin Vergo - Bellevue University. Kevin is a graduate student in Management of Information Systems. He is looking forward to putting his skills to work in an ever-expanding field.

The annual Swigart Golf Tournament is named in memory of the late Warren R. Swigart, who conscientiously represented OPPD customers as a member of the OPPD Board of Directors. He was active in many civic and community organizations and he was an avid golfer.

This year’s event drew 254 golfers to Tiburon Golf Club. It was the largest group of participants in the tournament’s 27-year history. OPPD employees and business associated paid to play 18 holes, with proceeds going to scholarship funds.

OPPD President Gary Gates said, “These scholarships make a difference for the students who receive them. That’s what the tournament is all about.”

Last year’s scholarship recipients (for the 2013-2014 school year) included: Amy Wattenhofer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Abram Muyres, Creighton University and Tyler McCabe, Bellevue University.

PHOTOGRAPH NOTE:

Attached is a photograph from this year’s Swigart Golf Tournament Banquet for your use, showing, from left to right:

Ryan McChesney, scholarship recipient, Gary Gates, OPPD President, Samuel Arwood, scholarship recipient, and Kevin Vergo, scholarship recipient.

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Board Highlights Effort that Promotes Continued System Reliability

August 15, 2014

Affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive… that is what Omaha Public Power District customers say they want and expect when it comes to energy services. Those priorities are the same elements that drive OPPD’s mission statement when it comes to providing services. At the OPPD Board of Directors monthly meeting Thursday night, the focus fell squarely on one of those three priorities, that of reliability.

Directors heard a presentation and were able to ask questions about OPPD’s Transmission & Distribution Improvement Program for 2014. The program, which was initiated in 2008, forecasts the requirements necessary over 10 years to maintain reliability of the District’s energy delivery systems and components that provide electrical service to the utility’s 350,000 customers. The program seeks to manage remediating energy delivery assets through replacement, refurbishment or reinforcement of systems or components at the end of their reliable life.

The program is driven by reliability trends, condition assessment and criticality to the District’s service area, which includes 5,000 square miles in southeast Nebraska.

Meanwhile, the board considered a contract for procuring labor for construction of multiple transmission projects for this fall. The board voted to award a contract for $1,325,779.12 to Timberline Construction, Inc. of Rapid City, South Dakota. The work is scheduled to start next month.

In other action, the board also…

… received the president’s State of the Utility report

… received an update on the status and progress of Content Marketing, a new approach by OPPD to enhance external communications

… presented the winners of this year’s Swigart Scholarships.

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Phony Billing Scam Continues to Target Utility Customers

August 14, 2014

Scammers have been busy over the summer months, trying to con customers of Omaha Public Power District and other utilities. The over-the-phone ploys attempt to intimidate customers into thinking their power could be cut off, or worse, if they don’t pay hundreds of dollars.

OPPD stresses that none of these individuals demanding cash payments or financial information work for the District.

In June, OPPD received 37 reports of these phony bill collector calls. In July, calls slowed down a bit, with nine reports coming in. However, the numbers are climbing back up this month with 36 reports already as of August 14.

The callers pretending to represent the utility often claim their targets are overdue on their bills. In most cases, they try to convince the customer to give them credit card numbers over the phone in order to put their account in good standing. Sometimes, they tell customers to purchase a green dot card and call back with those numbers. In rare instances, callers have even attempted to get customers to meet them in-person to make such a payment.

A newer angle the scammers are using is to falsely tell customers that OPPD is changing out meters, and they have to pay a security deposit or they will experience service blackouts.

In the past, scammers have also asked customers to turn off home or business security systems, to “help the utility save energy,” falsely claiming it’s a good way for the customer to “reduce the energy bill.” With regards to these con attempts, OPPD advises:

  • Residential or business customers should never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited telephone call.
  • If such a person should appear unannounced at one’s door claiming to work for the utility, do not allow them entrance and always ask for identification or verification. OPPD employees always carry identification. Failure to produce identification should always be a tip-off to the customer that something is wrong.
  • They should also refuse to turn off their security systems if a stranger asks them to do so. They should call law enforcement immediately.

If a customer has any question about payment or their account, they should always call OPPD directly at 402-536-4131 within Omaha or 1-877-536-4131 from outside of Omaha.

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Students Can Earn Green While Going Green with OPPD’s Project GreenFlick

August 8, 2014

OPPD has a fun, creative outlet for students who are interested in going green. The Omaha Public Power District is looking for a fresh take on environmental education and is again hosting Project GreenFlick. Aspiring high school-aged student filmmakers within OPPD’s service territory can use their talents to produce a 30-second video about one of the following topics:

  • Vampire Power
  • Energy-Efficient Lighting (home or holiday lighting)
  • OPPD’s Roadmap to Energy Savings
  • Planting for Energy Savings
To submit their video, students should visit the OPPD Facebook page, click on the Project GreenFlick tab, and fill out the entry form. Submissions for Project GreenFlick will be accepted until October 27, and the winners will be notified in November.

Videos will be judged on creativity, educational value and relevance to the topic chosen by the student(s). The winner(s) of the contest will receive $500. Second place will be awarded $250. Third place will receive $125. Matching awards will go to the winner's schools.

A People’s Choice award will also be given this year. The amount of votes a video receives on Facebook will determine who receives this award, and the $125 that comes with it. Again, the winning school will receive a matching award. The voting period will take place from October 28 until November.

For more information or to view last year’s winning videos, visit oppd.com/greenflick.

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OPPD Board Sets August Night Meeting on UNO campus

July 17, 2014

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors has approved moving the time and location of its monthly meeting in August. Directors say they hope the move will further engage the public and encourage some people to attend who normally do not have the opportunity to come or participate in monthly board meetings. Those meetings are usually held at OPPD’s corporate headquarters on the first Thursday after the 10th of each month at 10 a.m.

At its July meeting, the board voted to meet Thursday, Aug. 14, at 7 p.m. at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Community Engagement Center. The Center is located on the University campus near Criss Library and the University Clock Tower. In addition, the board also voted to change the date for its December meeting. That meeting will now be held on Thursday, Dec. 18, at its regularly scheduled time and place, 10 a.m. at Energy Plaza. The meeting had previously been scheduled for Dec. 11. The committee meetings for December have also been changed. They will be held on Dec. 16.

While the board typically tries to hold at least one board meeting at night per year, several members indicated they would like to explore increasing the number of such meetings. No decision on that was made.

In other action, the Board also received the monthly State of the Utility Report.

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OPPD Proactively Monitoring Missouri River Levels and Taking Precautions

June 19, 2014

Omaha Public Power District protected its more than $3 billion in assets and ensured that electricity continued to flow to its more than 346,000 customers during the 2011 flood. 2014 is no exception.

The District has been closely monitoring the Missouri River levels and making preparations at the three power plants that exist on the river. While the current levels do not put the plants in harm’s way, the District is taking a very conservative approach and has begun preparation. Current activities include inspection of the levee surrounding the Nebraska City Station plant. In addition, sandbags, sand and a sandloader on site should they need to mitigate water levels. They are also review the plans and lessons learned from the 2011 flood to ensure we are prepared in the event we see additional rainfall.

Fort Calhoun Station is taking a very conservative approach and will lower its power level and hold at reduced power as actual river levels and trends are being evaluated. Although the plant isn’t required to shut down until the river reaches the level of 1,004 feet above mean sea level (msl), plant leadership may take a more conservative approach after thoroughly evaluating the data. Around 1 p.m. today (June 19), the river level at the plant was 998 feet. Projections by the weather service would put the level near the 1,004-foot mark on Saturday.

If the river reaches 1004-foot level, Fort Calhoun Station’s procedures will have it declare a Notification of an Unusual Event, just as it did in 2011. A NOUE is the least-serious of four emergency classifications that are standard in the U.S. nuclear industry. Fort Calhoun Station will stay in this emergency classification until the river drops below the 1,004-foot level and it is confident the water will remain below that level.

Preparations for the possible flooding already have begun at the plant with workers using the lessons they learned while protecting the plant from historic Missouri River flooding that began three years ago this month.

Sand-filled temporary berms have been erected around critical equipment. Flood doors and mobile pumps have been staged to be used when needed.

OPPD is in regular contact with the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and numerous emergency management agencies to keep abreast of changing conditions. We will be proactively keeping the public aware of precautions the District is taking throughout this event.

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OPPD Board Approves Selling up to $360 Million in Bonds

June 19, 2014

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors has approved a measure designed to allow the District to take advantage of current market interest rates and to reduce the District’s interest expense.

At its regular monthly meeting for June, the Board authorized management to sell up to $360 million of authorized bonds to refund existing debt upon acceptable debt service savings and market conditions. Upon acceptable market conditions, Management may issue one or more new series of bonds to be known as the 2014 Series Electric System Subordinated Revenue Bonds, with such additional letter designations as deemed appropriate at the time of business. The Authorized Bonds will be traditional tax-exempt bonds. During discussions of the issue, the Board was told refinancing could possibly allow substantial savings for OPPD’s customer-owners.

The Board will receive quarterly updates on the status of Authorized Bonds. Final pricing of the bonds will be presented at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting immediately following the execution of a Bond Purchase Agreement.

In other action, the Board also:

… approved compensation adjustments for Vice Presidents Timothy J. Burke, Mohamad I. Doghman, Jon T. Hansen and Sherrye L. Hutcherson.

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OPPD Well-Prepared and Continues to Monitor River Despite Lower River Forecast

June 20, 2014

Lower forecast river levels have taken some of the pressure off the Omaha Public Power District but the District will continue to watch the levels and keep an eye on the skies for more rain. The District has taken a number of steps to protect its more than $3 billion in assets and ensure that electricity continues to flow to its more than 346,000 customers.

The District learned a lot during the 2011flooding and used that information in its preparations. Workers staged sandbags, sand and bagging equipment on site at the Nebraska City plant in case it would be needed and inspected the levee surrounding the plant.

Fort Calhoun Station is taking a very conservative approach. It lowered its power levels this morning and will hold at reduced power until after the crest passes and further river level increases are not foreseen. This provides more flexibility if conditions change. Workers are preparing for a crest of around 1,002 feet above mean sea level (msl). At that level, only some low-lying spots on the property, including parts of a parking lot, would experience any flooding.

Among other steps, workers already have built sand-filled temporary berms around critical equipment and placed flood doors and mobile pumps near locations where they would be needed.

OPPD remains in regular contact with the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and numerous emergency management agencies to keep abreast of changing conditions. We will be proactively keeping the public aware of precautions the District is taking throughout this event.

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OPPD Proactively Monitoring Missouri River Levels and Taking Precautions

June 19, 2014

Omaha Public Power District protected its more than $3 billion in assets and ensured that electricity continued to flow to its more than 346,000 customers during the 2011 flood. 2014 is no exception.

The District has been closely monitoring the Missouri River levels and making preparations at the three power plants that exist on the river. While the current levels do not put the plants in harm’s way, the District is taking a very conservative approach and has begun preparation. Current activities include inspection of the levee surrounding the Nebraska City Station plant. In addition, sandbags, sand and a sandloader on site should they need to mitigate water levels. They are also review the plans and lessons learned from the 2011 flood to ensure we are prepared in the event we see additional rainfall.

Fort Calhoun Station is taking a very conservative approach and will lower its power level and hold at reduced power as actual river levels and trends are being evaluated. Although the plant isn’t required to shut down until the river reaches the level of 1,004 feet above mean sea level (msl), plant leadership may take a more conservative approach after thoroughly evaluating the data. Around 1 p.m. today (June 19), the river level at the plant was 998 feet. Projections by the weather service would put the level near the 1,004-foot mark on Saturday.

If the river reaches 1004-foot level, Fort Calhoun Station’s procedures will have it declare a Notification of an Unusual Event, just as it did in 2011. A NOUE is the least-serious of four emergency classifications that are standard in the U.S. nuclear industry. Fort Calhoun Station will stay in this emergency classification until the river drops below the 1,004-foot level and it is confident the water will remain below that level.

Preparations for the possible flooding already have begun at the plant with workers using the lessons they learned while protecting the plant from historic Missouri River flooding that began three years ago this month.

Sand-filled temporary berms have been erected around critical equipment. Flood doors and mobile pumps have been staged to be used when needed.

OPPD is in regular contact with the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and numerous emergency management agencies to keep abreast of changing conditions. We will be proactively keeping the public aware of precautions the District is taking throughout this event.

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OPPD Board Approves Selling up to $360 Million in Bonds

June 19, 2014

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors has approved a measure designed to allow the District to take advantage of current market interest rates and to reduce the District’s interest expense.

At its regular monthly meeting for June, the Board authorized management to sell up to $360 million of authorized bonds to refund existing debt upon acceptable debt service savings and market conditions. Upon acceptable market conditions, Management may issue one or more new series of bonds to be known as the 2014 Series Electric System Subordinated Revenue Bonds, with such additional letter designations as deemed appropriate at the time of business. The Authorized Bonds will be traditional tax-exempt bonds. During discussions of the issue, the Board was told refinancing could possibly allow substantial savings for OPPD’s customer-owners.

The Board will receive quarterly updates on the status of Authorized Bonds. Final pricing of the bonds will be presented at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting immediately following the execution of a Bond Purchase Agreement.

In other action, the Board also:

… approved compensation adjustments for Vice Presidents Timothy J. Burke, Mohamad I. Doghman, Jon T. Hansen and Sherrye L. Hutcherson.

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OPPD Approves Bold Changes to Future Generation Portfolio

June 19, 2014

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors has approved a measure that will dramatically reshape OPPD’s future generation portfolio by retiring three of the oldest generating units at North Omaha Station. The measure will allow the utility to comply with government regulations to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions at its existing power plants while preserving the district’s ability to service customer demand for electricity in the future.

Just last month, the board asked senior management to develop a “best case” recommendation on future resource options after hearing results from OPPD’s recent Stakeholder Process. The process, conducted over several months, solicited input from customers across OPPD’s service territory on what they wanted OPPD’s future generation portfolio to look like. Five options eventually rose to the top by OPPD customers. Management took into consideration the feedback they received from the customers and prepared a final recommendation as requested by the board.

The option approved by the board calls for retiring the three units at North Omaha by 2016. The two remaining generating units would remain on coal but be retrofitted with additional emission controls. They would eventually be refueled to run on natural gas by 2023. Nebraska City Station Unit 1 would also be retrofitted in 2016.

"We listened to what the customers said and overlaid that with our comprehensive strategic plan and the extensive research and analysis the team did. We are confident it positions OPPD in the strongest and most flexible position for that future,” said OPPD President Gary Gates. “It maintains our commitment to affordability, reliability and environmental sensitivity, which is what our customers told us they wanted. It also continues to provide a diverse generation portfolio which customers also said was important to them."

The approved measure will allow OPPD to significantly reduce emissions and be compliant with the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards adopted by the EPA which will require changes to OPPD’s coal facilities. The plan also calls for the district to reduce its load by 300 megawatts (MW) through customer participation in Demand Side Management. OPPD has been a leader in its commitment to renewable energy and is on track for 33 percent of its retail generation load to come from renewable sources, 31 percent coal, 33 percent nuclear and 3 percent natural gas and oil by 2018.

During the Stakeholder Process, customers said they realized changes to comply with new environmental regulations could lead to higher energy costs but they were willing to pay a slight increase. They also said they were relying on OPPD’s expertise to make the right decision on resource issues. The measure approved by the board will have a minimal impact on customer rates, ranging somewhere between 0-2% over a 20 year period.

Gates concluded, "We are proud of the thorough work the District has done and we appreciate the valuable input the customers brought to us during the Stakeholder Process. It confirmed that OPPD is on the right track by providing our customers with affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services."

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OPPD Announces Tree Grant Awards for 2014

May 19, 2014

More than 20 community groups and civic organizations from throughout southeast Nebraska will be doing their part to beautify their neighborhoods in 2014, thanks in part to Omaha Public Power District’s Tree Promotion Program.

OPPD recently announced 23 winners selected from 41 applications for grants to plant trees and shrubs throughout the district’s service territory. The grants – selected at full and partial amounts – total just over $30,367.

OPPD’s Tree Promotion Program began in 1990. Since that time, it has resulted in well over 100,000 trees and shrubs being planted in southeast Nebraska.

"The Tree Promotion Program continues to benefit all of the district’s customers, not only by beautifying the landscape, but also by helping preserve the environment," said OPPD Vice President Mo Doghman. “Another key component is that it continues to help educate the public on the proper selection and placement of trees and other greenery.

"Trees and power lines can co-exist," Doghman added. “However, that means knowing the types of trees and shrubs that work well near power lines and other electrical equipment, versus those that don’t. Trees that grow too tall can impact the reliability of electric service, and they may pose safety concerns to our employees and the public."

In addition to the Tree Promotion Program, OPPD maintains a 26-acre Arboretum at 108th & Blondo in Omaha to further its education efforts. It gives customers an up-close look at more than 1,000 trees and shrubs, featuring more than 200 different species. The arboretum includes two miles of trails, as well as an outdoor classroom. For more information, visit oppd.com/trees or call 1-866-444-9160.

The Tree Promotion Program is one reason OPPD was recently recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Line USA Utility. The foundation cited OPPD’s public education program, along with its tree-care practices. OPPD is the only public utility in Nebraska to receive that designation for 14 consecutive years.

The 2014 OPPD Tree Promotion Program Grant Recipients are:

  • Bellevue West High School, Bellevue Public Schools
  • Bryan Middle School, Omaha Public Schools
  • City of Omaha, Dodge Park area
  • Country Club Hills Neighborhood Association, near 72nd & Girard Street
  • Douglas County Health Center, Douglas County
  • Fire Ridge HOA, Inc.
  • Fourth Grade Foresters
  • GFWC Papillion Junior Women’s Club, Papillion
  • Highlander Neighborhood Association, Omaha
  • J. Sterling Morton Elementary School, Millard Public Schools
  • Joslyn Art Museum
  • Louisville Public Schools, Louisville
  • Mary Our Queen Church, Omaha
  • Presbyterian Church of the Cross, Omaha
  • Salem Baptist Church, Omaha
  • Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – West Midwest Community, Omaha
  • St. Matthew’s School & Parish, Bellevue
  • St. Robert’s School & Parish, Omaha
  • Sunset Hills Elementary School, Omaha
  • United Faith Community Church, Valley
  • VODEC, Omaha
  • West Fairacres Place, Omaha

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Midwest Transmission Project-Nebraska to move forward

May 15, 2014

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors has approved moving forward with construction of the Nebraska portion of the Midwest Transmission Project. The project is a new 180-mile high voltage transmission line that will eventually run from a substation at OPPD’s Nebraska City Station to a substation near Sibley, Missouri. OPPD is managing the Nebraska portion of the Midwest Transmission Project. Kansas City Power and Light is managing the Missouri portion of the project.

The measure approved by the board at its monthly meeting for May allows the district to negotiate with property owners beginning this summer to acquire easements voluntarily for the line. The easements are in Otoe, Nemaha and Richardson counties. As a last resort, after all reasonable efforts have been made through good-faith negotiation to acquire easements voluntarily, if the sides are unable to reach agreement, the District could use eminent domain.

Approximately 150 new easements will be needed to construct OPPD’s portion of the 345-kilovolt line in Nebraska. The Nebraska portion of the transmission line will be 45 miles in length and construction is set to begin summer 2015.

OPPD has already announced three public meetings with impacted property owners within the project area. During those meetings, representatives will answer questions about the project; provide a project status update; and provide information regarding the easement acquisition process. Property owners also will be able to make comments about the project.

Those meeting are scheduled as follows:

  • Monday, May 19, 2014, 6 – 8 p.m.
    Lied Lodge & Conference Center
    2700 Sylvan Road Nebraska City, NE

  • Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 6 – 8 p.m.
    Falls City Middle School Gymnasium
    1415 Morton Street Falls City, NE

  • Thursday, May 22, 2014, 6 – 8 p.m.
    Nemaha County Fairgrounds 4-H Building
    816 I Street (Hwy 75 and 9th Street) Auburn, NE

In other action, the board:

… reviewed final results from the district’s new stakeholder process, which gathered information from customers on their preferences for OPPD’s future resource options based on current and proposed environmental regulations. The top five options identified by the customers during the process were presented to the board. The options represented research and customer input which was gathered over several months. No final decisions on those options have been made. The board did direct senior management to develop a recommendation based on the collected material for future consideration. It also asked management to develop a recommendation that includes energy efficiency and demand side management for them to consider.

… approved the OPPD Health Plan – 2013 Report.

… authorized management to commence proceedings to acquire easements for the Thompson Creek Stabilization Project to allow the relocation of distribution facilities from 72nd Street to Edgewood Boulevard.

… authorized a contract to be awarded to Siemens Energy, Inc. of Alpharetta, Georgia, for $639,937 to replace start-up equipment in one of the units at Sarpy County Station.

… authorized a contract to be awarded to CG Power Systems USA, Inc. of Washington, Missouri, for $3,422,950 for six new power transformers.

… approved revisions to the Board of Director's standing committee charters.

… received the May State of the Utility Report.

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OPPD going back out to public to report findings

May 1, 2014

The Omaha Public Power District is ready to report the next phase of its new stakeholder engagement process. That phase includes a first for the utility in how it is gathering input from the public on how OPPD should meet its future resource needs.

As announced last month, the district will hold a moderated public forum on May 7 at the UNO Scott Conference Center, 6450 Pine Street, Omaha. For the first time, that forum will be streamed live to four satellite locations across OPPD’s service territory to accommodate those who wish to participate at a location more convenient for them.

The four satellite locations are:

  • Metropolitan Community College – Fort Omaha Campus, Building 21. Room 106, 5300 North 30th Street, Omaha
  • Metropolitan Community College – South Omaha Campus, Connector Building, Room 249, 2902 Edward Babe Gomez Avenue, Omaha
  • Metropolitan Community College – Elkhorn Campus, Room 308, 829 North 204th Street, Elkhorn
  • Lied Lodge and Conference Center – Terrace Room, 2700 Sylvan Road, Nebraska City

OPPD is inviting the public to the presentation that begins at 6:00 p.m. Doors are scheduled to open at 5:30 p.m.

"We have been out talking power generation and listening to the public over the last several months,” said Tim Burke, OPPD vice president of Customer Service and Public Affairs. “Our goal has always been to learn as much as possible about what is important to the public. Our listening tour included focus groups, public and employee open houses, online meetings and an online customer survey."

The Wednesday evening presentation will include a panel that will discuss the range and impact of different future resource options and share some of the findings from the initial meetings and extensive market research that was conducted. The forum will be facilitated by a moderator and questions can be submitted that evening to the moderator and addressed by the panel.

All of the data collected during the stakeholder process will be presented to the OPPD Board of Directors at its monthly meeting in May to provide input on future decisions the board may make.

"We have tried to provide customers throughout our service territory with ample opportunities to participate and provide input so we can assure them that all the voices of OPPD customers are being heard,” said Mr. Burke. He also stressed that OPPD remains committed to providing affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to its customers

OPPD is one of the largest customer-owned electric utilities in the United States, serving more than 359,000 customers in 13 counties in southeast Nebraska.

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OPPD to reach out to customers again in May

April 17, 2014

So what do customers think OPPD’s future generation should look like? After several weeks of open houses and meetings with customers across the utility’s service territory, the board of directors expects to find out next month. It is all a part of the district’s new Stakeholder Process.

The board received an update on that new process today at its regular April monthly meeting. During a presentation to directors, it was announced that the next step in the process will include a public forum and open house to be held on Wednesday, May 7. For the first time, the meeting with customers will be streamed live or broadcast in real time to a variety of satellite locations across the service territory. This will accommodate those who wish to participate at a location that will be convenient for them. Specific details (locations and time) for the May 7 event will be publicized soon.

The Stakeholder Process was initiated in response to requests from customers and various organizations to have more of a say in how OPPD engages with its customers and makes power- generation decisions for future needs. In addition to a series of open houses, the district developed a website, www.OPPDListens.com, to encourage customers to voice their opinions online at a time that is convenient for them.

The customer input and research gathered over the last few months will be presented to the board in May for consideration of future actions.

Meanwhile, the return of spring temperatures often means the return of stormy weather to the Heartland. The board received an update on contingencies to maintain service for customers in the face of such storms this year as it reviewed electric reliability and OPPD’s Storm Restoration Plan. OPPD’s customers have ranked the district among the best in the nation for service and reliability for the last 13 years in surveys conducted by J.D. Power and Associates.

In other news, the board also:

...approved a contract for $4,650,000 awarded to Lueder Construction to construct a new security access facility at Fort Calhoun Station. The new facility was one of the needed changes identified as a result of the 2011 flood.

...approved awarding a contract for $824,730 to Nielson Construction to assist the district’s efforts to install underground cable and equipment in OPPD’s metro service area.

...received the monthly State of the Utility report.

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Tree Give-Away Promotes Energy Savings, Reliability

April 16, 2014

Plant a tree now and shrink energy use in the future. That’s the goal behind Omaha Public Power District’s new Energy-Saving Trees program, a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. OPPD is giving away 2,000 trees this spring in its ongoing support of energy management.

The program also empowers customers with the technology to help ensure planting in the proper location, which helps OPPD ensure reliable electric service. Here’s how it works.

Starting Wednesday, April 16, customers can visit www.oppd.com/freetree to reserve a tree on a first-come, first-served basis. They enter a home or business address, pulling up an aerial property view. An online tool allows customers to mouse around and determine how the placement of a tree would improve upon that home’s energy efficiency. It calculates the anticipated monthly savings now and as the tree matures – providing windbreaks during the winter and shade during the summer. It also reminds customers of the importance of planting the tree the proper distance from overhead power lines. The tool is not a replacement for the Digger’s Hotline. Customers still must contact the hotline to have underground utilities located before planting. This can be done online at www.ne1call.com or by calling 1-800-331-5666 or 811.

“Last year’s launch was extremely successful,” said OPPD Vice President Tim Burke. “We gave away 2,000 trees in just four days’ time, and that’s why we knew we had to do this again. This program not only benefits the customer through landscaping and energy savings, but it also benefits us, their energy partner. We constantly educate customers on proper tree-planting practices so our power lines stay clear, which helps us to maintain reliable electric service. And, these trees also will help reduce the carbon footprint and storm water runoff, while improving air quality.”

Customers will be able to reserve one tree through May 23, or as long as they last. The types of trees offered include Shumard Oak, Persimmon, American Hornbeam and Eastern White Pine. After an order is placed, a tree measuring between two-feet and four-feet tall will be shipped to the customer at no charge.

The “Energy-Saving Trees” online tool was created by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Davey Institute, a division of Davey Tree Expert Co. It uses peer-reviewed scientific research from the USDA Forest Service’s i-Tree software to calculate estimated benefits from energy savings to environmental impacts.

In addition to the Energy-Saving Trees program, OPPD will also be giving away 100 larger trees Saturday, April 19, at Omaha’s Earth Day Celebration at Elmwood Park. Customers are encouraged to stop by OPPD’s booth, where the 1-gallon trees will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis.

OPPD's Mission:  Provide affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to our customers.

oppd.co
Twitter.com/OPPDCares
Facebook.com/OmahaPublicPowerDistrict

  About the Arbor Day Foundation:  The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization of one million members, with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information on the foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org.

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OPPD Annual Report Shows How Utility is Gearing Up for Future

April 11, 2014

"High Gear" is the theme of the 2013 Omaha Public Power District Annual Report, available at oppd.com. The report recaps a year of hard work to overcome challenges and ramp up for opportunities that lie ahead in an ever-changing industry.

Restoring Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station to service is among the 2013 highlights. Other accomplishments include work to continue to enhance reliability to our more than 356,000 customer-owners. In fact, we received a 99.98 percent reliability rating for delivering energy, as measured by the Average Service Availability Index. And, J.D. Power and Associates honored OPPD with its 13th consecutive top-in-class ranking in the Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM.

"These are indeed great accomplishments," said OPPD President and CEO Gary Gates. "But all of our work and effort is always focused on what is best for our customer-owners. They are the driving force."

Additionally, "We added substations and improved our transmission and distribution systems to serve growing demand," wrote Gates and Chairman of the Board Michael Cavanaugh in their report message. "We took deep looks into our generation mix to determine how we can best meet future regulatory challenges and customer preferences. Our efforts are paying off."

As evidence of that, 2013 wind energy purchase agreements have positioned OPPD to provide 30 percent of retail electricity coming from renewable sources by 2017.

A separate section of the annual report contains the financial results for 2013, including the financial statements, independent auditors’ report and management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A) of activities.

The report shows OPPD residential customers continue to pay electricity rates well below the national average. The district has held rates steady, with no increases, for 2014.

"OPPD remains in a strong financial position," wrote Gates and Cavanaugh. Operating revenues in 2013 were $1.09 billion, with operations and maintenance expenses of $796 million. The district maintains high bond ratings, with AA from Standard & Poor’s and Aa2 from Moody’s Investors Service placing us in the top 15 percent of public power utilities rated by Moody’s.

At oppd.com, find the document under the Investors & Finance tab. Or, click the link: http://www.oppd.com/InvestorsFinance/FinancialInformation/22_001331.

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OPPD In-Lieu-of Tax Payments Exceed $30.7 Million

April 01, 2014

The Omaha Public Power District contributed significantly to the treasuries of the counties that it serves throughout southeast Nebraska today, distributing more than $30.7 million in 2013 in-lieu-of-tax payments. The payments to 11 counties represent a new record, surpassing last year’s amount of $29 million by more than $1.7 million.

The payments are based on 5 percent of OPPD’s gross revenues from retail sales of electricity in incorporated cities and towns during the previous year.

The payments take the place of property taxes, as well as some other taxes. In addition to the in-lieu-of-tax payments, the District pays general sales taxes, gasoline taxes, wheel taxes, motor vehicle license fees and permit fees like any other business.

"OPPD took additional steps in 2013 to maintain its reliable operations, plan for the future and keep rates below the national average," said OPPD Board Chairman Michael J. Cavanaugh. "Employees also conducted stakeholder meetings across the service areas to listen to customer concerns in Omaha and our rural areas to let our customer-owners know they are an important piece of the public power model.

"As such, the OPPD in-lieu-of-tax payments illustrate that commitment to the communities we serve. These payments will benefit local communities, as the monies contributed to the various local treasuries will help them fund needed services and make improvements," Chairman Cavanaugh said.

The payments to each county follows:

 

Douglas:                   

$24,922,183

Sarpy:                   

$4,452,473

Washington:                   

$642,999

Saunders:                       

$288,850

Cass:                             

$251,120

Dodge:                          

$132,493

Nemaha:                         

$39,849

Johnson:                         

$15,106

Richardson:                    

$14,128

Colfax:                             

$5,527

Otoe:                               

$4,435

 

 

Total:                      

$30,769,163



County treasurers distribute the funds to school districts, cities and other entities.

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Successful Air Conditioning Management Program Back for 2014

March 27, 2014

More than 22,000 Omaha Public Power District customers currently participate in the Air Conditioning Management Program. That’s one reason we were able to hold rates steady this year. The program reduces our peak demand, helping to delay the need for a new power plant and the cost of building it.

OPPD is hoping to enlist another 10,000 customers for AC management by year’s end. If we meet our goal, we will see 47 megawatts of peak demand reduction. To put that in perspective, a hospital uses about 7.5 megawatts of electricity. An industrial plant uses about 15 megawatts. So the savings is huge, with very little, if any, disruption for customers. And, we’ll even pay them to sign up.

Here’s how it works:

  • When customers sign up for AC management, they receive a $30 one-time credit once installation is complete. They get an additional $20 credit in September and each year thereafter, for their participation.
  • An OPPD electrical contractor installs a free outdoor device to the customer’s home on the siding or brick nearest to the AC or heat pump (requiring the use of hardware, such as screws). No appointments are necessary, and nobody goes into the home.
  • On hot summer days, when demand for electricity is at its highest, the device will manage the AC or heat pump in approximately 15-minute intervals (on for 15, off for 15) for two and a half hours between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. It’s important to note, this does not cause increased wear-and-tear to the cooling system. Management events are limited to 12 days a year at most.

      The majority of customers surveyed since having the device installed report they never even realized when a management event was happening.

      To sign up for the program or to learn more, visit oppd.com/acmgmt or call OPPD at 402-536-4131 or 1-877-536-4131 outside of the Omaha metro area.
 

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OPPD 2013 Sustainability Report Released

March 20, 2014

The Omaha Public Power District remains committed to being a leader in cost-effective renewable wind energy in 2014. That is the message of the District’s annual Sustainability Report which was officially presented to OPPD’s Board of Directors at its monthly meeting for March.

The report details OPPD’s efforts to enhance its renewable energy and sustainability program. OPPD’s demand side management programs exceeded their goals in 2013 by 25 percent. The new report includes last October’s announcement to purchase up to 400 megawatts (MW) of wind generation from Grand Prairie Wind Farm when it comes online. The additional wind power will mean by 2017 approximately 30 percent of OPPD’s retail generation portfolio will come from renewable sources, making the District one of the nation’s leaders in the use of renewable energy.

The 2013 Sustainability report is available online on OPPD’s website.

The board also received an update on the District’s new Stakeholder Process. The process began with the first of a series of open houses this week to hear from customer-owners about what they think OPPD’s future generation portfolio should look like. The District plans to hold 10 open houses across the service territory over the next few weeks as well as a number of online meetings. OPPD has also developed a special website, OPPDListens.com, to take comments.

Directors also heard a special presentation on OPPD’s Energy Assistance Program. The EAP program was established in 1988 to help disadvantaged families pay energy-related bills, purchase emergency equipment or make repairs. The program is transitioning to a new process called the "Common Fund" and is modeled after a similar, successful program in Kansas City, MO. The new process is a collaborative effort with multiple other local agencies to develop a "one-stop” help approach for those in need and to help keep families in their homes. The process allows individuals to go to only one agency for access to the help they need rather than having to go to multiple agencies.

Since it was established in 1988, EAP has consistently helped well over 1,000 households per year. The Common Fund is expected to give funders the ability to leverage their dollars with other community funding sources and to measure the impact.

           In other action, the board:

          … authorized Reserve Adjustments for Uncollectible Accounts – Off-system and Rate Stabilization.

          … approved changes to the OPPD Open Access Transmission Tariff.

          … authorized management to award a contract for $789,798 to Mechanical Dynamics & Analysis, Ltd., of St. Louis, Missouri, to repair and rewind the generator rotor for one of the units at North Omaha Station.

         … also honored employee Don Bonwell who became the newest recipient of the OPPD President’s Award. Bonwell received the award for pulling a victim from a burning truck after an accident last July.

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Fort Calhoun Station Goes Off-line Temporarily

Plant Responded as Expected

March 18, 2014

Fort Calhoun Station automatically shut down at 12:02 pm yesterday after the turbine took itself offline during routine maintenance on a part of the turbine-generator system in the non-nuclear side of the plant. All systems operated as designed, safely and without incident. The plant is designed to shut down automatically as a safety precaution in the event of conditions such as this one.

Fort Calhoun Station operators are investigating the cause of the shutdown and are working to resolve the problem and restore the unit to service.

There is no risk to the public and there are no injuries associated with the shutdown. This temporary shutdown is not expected to impact electrical service to homes and businesses in the region.

OPPD is one of the largest customer-owned electric utilities in the United States, serving more than 352,000 customers in 13 counties in southeast Nebraska.

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Omaha Public Power District wants to know what’s on your mind

March 13, 2014

Electricity plays an integral role in our everyday lives. While you may not think about Omaha Public Power District each time you flip on your light switch, we think about you - our customer-owners and how to best continue delivering reliable service.

The energy industry is changing rapidly. Regulations surrounding power generation are especially changing. However, the District’s mission remains unchanged and that is to provide affordable, reliable and environmentally-sensitive energy services. How do you feel we can best accomplish that? We’re listening.

This month, OPPD kicks off a stakeholder initiative. As Vice President Tim Burke explains, “Our goal is to listen to our customer-owners and develop the most effective generation plan to continue to successfully serve them in the future. We are depending on them to let us know what they think about existing generation plants and how our generation portfolio should look in the future.”

The District is announcing 10 open house meetings across the service territory as well as a number of online meetings. The intent is to educate and engage the public, working with them to shape the utility’s collective energy future. OPPD has also developed a special website, OPPDListens.com, to take comments.

Additionally, OPPD has enlisted an independent firm to conduct a series of focus groups and surveys with randomly selected participants, representative of our customer base. The participants will be asked about various generation options and possible changes to OPPD’s portfolio. This will be followed by another round of public meetings to give customers the opportunity to weigh in on what best meets their needs.

All information gathered will be presented to the OPPD Board of Directors in May. This will assist the board as it attempts to make informed decisions about the utility’s future based on the recent expressed desires of constituents.

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OPPD to sell generating plant property

February 2, 2014

The Omaha Public Power District has decided the time has come to part with a small piece of its history. OPPD’s Board of Directors has voted to sell a portion of its property in downtown Omaha which includes the District’s original generating facility, the Jones Street Station.

Located just south of the Old Market, on 16 acres along 5th and Marcy Streets, the property has been marketed for sale since August 2013. OPPD’s oldest generating facility, Jones Street Station, was once capable of producing more than 100 megawatts. However, buildings on the property have gone unused for approximately 25 years as the plant was decommissioned in the mid-1980s. Despite the decommissioning, the District has continued to incur extensive expenses for the property including security and maintenance. In February 2013, approximately 10 acres of the property was declared “excess” and no longer needed to support OPPD operations.

The new owner of the property will be NuStyle Development Corporation of Woodbine, Iowa, which submitted a bid of $100,000 for the property. NuStyle has purchased and successfully renovated a number of other projects in the Omaha area in recent years.

The vote to authorize selling the old Jones Street Station was taken during the Board’s regular monthly meeting in February.
In other action at its monthly meeting, the board:
… authorized awarding a contract for $1,370,329 to Ward Electric Company, Inc., of Longmont, Colorado, to provide labor on various transmission projects for OPPD.
… authorized awarding a contract for $962,312 to Irwin Industries, Inc., of Denver, Colorado, to provide labor for boiler equipment in Unit 1 at Nebraska City Station.
… authorized management to negotiate and enter into a contract or contracts with Siemens Energy, Inc., to provide material and services for units at Sarpy County and Cass County Stations.
… approved standing committee assignments for the Board for 2014.

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A Marshmallow, Spaghetti, String, Tape & Some Ingenuity

OPPD Contest Tests 5th Graders’ Skills for National Engineers Week

The Omaha Public Power District is putting out a challenge to all 5th grade students in our service territory. We’re asking them to channel their inner engineer and build the tallest structure they can within 20 minutes, using some unconventional materials. The project, coinciding with National Engineers Week, encourages teamwork, innovation and creativity. The tallest three structures will win prizes for their classroom and teacher.

The Marshmallow Challenge contest has already begun. We are accepting electronic entries, with uploaded photos, via Facebook/OmahaPublicPowerDistrict, until 5 p.m., Feb. 19. Teams of three to four students currently enrolled in 5th grade or the equivalent are invited to participate. Those teams are to be given the following materials:

  • 20 full pieces of spaghetti (standard-sized, not fettuccini or angel hair)
  • One standard-sized marshmallow (no mini or jumbo marshmallows)
  • One yard (36”) of standard masking tape
  • One yard (36”) of string

Teams will use those materials to construct the tallest free-standing structure they can in 20 minutes or less, but it has to be able to support the marshmallow on top. The structure must be built on a table or desk top, and it must remain free-standing until it is measured. That means it uses only the provided materials to remain upright, is not leaning against anything other than the desktop or table on which it is constructed, and is not supported from above. No human contact is allowed for support.

Materials may be manipulated as necessary. Spaghetti may be broken, and tape and string may be cut. The marshmallow may be pierced by the spaghetti, but it must maintain its shape and general integrity. It cannot be cut into smaller pieces or reduced in size. No materials may be replaced once the contest has begun. Students are allowed to use supplies such as scissors, rulers, paper and pencils during the construction process; however, these items may not be incorporated into the structure itself.

Height will be determined as the perpendicular distance from the table top to the top of the marshmallow, measured to the nearest quarter inch. This height will be specified by photo caption during the submission process. The tallest three structures will win.

All students within the winning classrooms will receive an OPPD Society of Engineers goody bag. The classroom teacher or facilitator will also receive a portable cell phone battery charger. OPPD will also provide a speaker for winning classrooms, to talk about a career in engineering. Winners will be announced Feb. 20.

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Ice Puts Fort Calhoun Station Temporarily Offline

January 9, 2014

The severe winter cold in the heartland had another impact today. The sub-freezing temperatures caused an ice build-up on one of six sluice gates in the plant’s Missouri River water-intake structure. The ice build-up was enough to keep the gate from fully closing. All of the gates must be able to close in case of flooding, so this meant the plant had to shut down, even though no flooding is predicted. At no time was the public in any danger.

Workers checking the plant first noticed the ice buildup last night. Operators then began analyzing the situation and at 3:15 notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the non-emergency condition that would require the plant to shut down. That is the kind of conservative step required in nuclear power operations. The process of safely taking the plant offline began about two hours later. The plant went off line at 9:00 a.m. The shutdown took place with no complications.

Workers have cleared the ice, and are taking steps to manually lower the affected sluice gate. Once the gate is closed, the intake structure can operate safely and effectively with only five sluice gates open. The river water that comes through the intake structure is used to cool and condense steam that has gone through the power turbine. The river water never comes near the water that flows through the reactor.

When the intake structure is operable, workers plan to safely return the plant to service. Some repairs will be made to the sluice gate before it can operate. OPPD will issue another notification when plant start-up begins. As always, safety will be the top concern during repairs and in bringing the plant back online.

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OPPD Board Approves 2014 Utility Budget with No Rate Increase

December 19, 2013

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors today approved the utility’s 2014 Corporate Operating Plan which calls for no rate increase for OPPD customers. The approved budget for 2014 is nearly $1.15 billion and was first presented to the board last month

“We know how important electricity is to our customers’ everyday lives and that keeping it affordable and reliable is paramount,” said OPPD President and CEO Gary Gates. “We remain committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to provide affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to our customers.”

With the new budget, OPPD’s rates will be approximately 6.7 percent below the regional average and 19.4 percent below the national average.

The new budget will go into effect January 1, 2014.

Meanwhile, the board also approved various changes to miscellaneous rate schedules. The Fuel and Purchased Power Adjustment rate schedule was revised to include consumable costs but the FPPA rate will remain unchanged for 2014

In other action, the board:

… approved a housekeeping measure declaring Anticipated 2014 Capital Expenditures Reimbursement. This allows the District to maintain the option to issue tax-exempt debt obligations to reimburse 2014 capital expenditures.

… authorized awarding a contract to PIC Group, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia, in the amount of $898,799.09 to remove and replace sections of tubing in one of the unit boilers at North Omaha Station.

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Fort Calhoun Station Starting Again

December 17, 2013

Omaha Public Power District’s Fort Calhoun Station is starting the process of creating electricity with nuclear energy. Reenergizing the station has been a long journey for OPPD and its customer-owners since the power plant shut down for normal refueling in early April 2011. Missouri River flooding prevented the station from restarting that summer and longstanding technical issues that needed to be addressed kept it offline until now.

"The last several years have been challenging for OPPD and our customers as we worked to bring this plant back online," said OPPD President and CEO Gary Gates, "I’m extremely proud of the extensive effort that went into the successful and safe restart of this plant. All of the employees at OPPD have sacrificed much to get to today. Our employees have worked incredibly long hours over many months to see repairs and improvements through to fruition. I thank them, their families and all OPPD employees for pulling together and making this happen."

During the course of the recovery, employees spent over 8 million person-hours, completing over 69,000 work tasks that were required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The reenergizing of Fort Calhoun Station restores 478 megawatts of clean, carbon-free power to OPPD’s diverse portfolio of fuels. Fort Calhoun Station will provide reliable, carbon-free electricity day or night, in windy or calm situations.

Gates points out that the money invested in the plant to bring it online means better protection from flooding, better protection from debris blown by tornadoes and other high winds, stronger steam and high pressure lines, enhanced barriers to radiation inside the plant and numerous other upgrades to operating and safety systems.

"We now have a power plant with significant major upgrades to numerous vital systems," said Mr. Gates. "This sets us up well to run through the term of our operating license."

Major changes to the plant’s equipment and processes and procedures were overseen by the country’s top nuclear operator, Exelon Generation. OPPD hired Exelon Generation in 2012 to run the plant with the experience it has garnered running the nation’s largest commercial nuclear fleet.

"Our people have learned new and better ways of doing things," said Mr. Gates. "Their experience in operating the plant for approximately 38 years was a great asset in making these improvements. We appreciate the patience and support of our customers as we improved our plant and our processes. With these changes, the public and our employees can be assured Fort Calhoun Station is now safer than ever."

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission increased its oversight of the plant in 2011 and has verified the changes at the plant with thousands of hours of inspections over the months. It gave OPPD permission to restart December 17, 2013.

Even though Fort Calhoun Station is back online, it will remain under increased NRC oversight under the Inspection Manual Chapter 0350 process for an undetermined length of time, with public reporting sessions held periodically, as has been done in the past.

OPPD began the process of starting the reactor in midafternoon December 17. Once the reactor is started, operators will slowly increase reactor power and check equipment until all systems are ready to put electricity on the grid. After that, the reactor power will increase with a number of stops along the way for further checks. This is normal for a nuclear power plant that is restarting. Like most nuclear power plants, Fort Calhoun Station is designed to operate for approximately 18 months before it needs to shut down again to replace fuel that has spent its energy in creating electricity.

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Warning: OPPD Imposters Attempt to Enter Customer’s Home

December 6, 2013

An Omaha man thinks a couple of burglars were trying to case his place when they knocked on his door recently, claiming to represent the Omaha Public Power District. It happened Tuesday in a neighborhood near 80th and Center St.

The men, who showed up in an unmarked blue van, said they were tree trimmers. However, they had no identification, as all OPPD employees are required to carry. That was the customer’s first tip-off something was wrong. But he grew increasingly concerned when the men asked to enter his home and check his fuse box. This would never be necessary in order to trim trees near power lines.

The imposters also tried to convince the customer he was getting a $50 credit. They asked if he could break a $100 bill, again, trying to get inside to do so. This is not how OPPD operates. Fortunately, this customer knew better and sent the impersonators away.

This is a new direction in the ongoing targeting of utility customers, which the District has been trying to warn customers about for months. Scammers have also been calling customers, demanding what they claim are either overdue payments or payments for equipment. They try to get customers’ credit card numbers or other financial or personal information. Please be advised that this crime is escalating, and we anticipate the thieves’ calls will increase more in this holiday season.

OPPD stresses that none of these individuals demanding cash payments or financial information work for the District. It also advises:

  • Residential or business customers should never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited telephone call.
  • If someone appears unannounced at your door, claiming to work for the utility, do not allow them entrance. Always ask for identification or verification. OPPD employees always carry identification. Failure to produce identification should always be a tip-off to the customer that something is wrong.
  • If it is necessary to trim a customer’s trees for safety and reliability purposes, that customer would receive notice ahead of time.

OPPD has notified the Omaha Police Department of the reports we’ve received from customers who have been targeted.

If a customer has a particular question about their account or other services, that customer is advised to call OPPD, 402-536-4131 within Omaha or 1-877-536-4131 outside of Omaha.

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No Rate Increase in OPPD’s Proposed 2014 Corporate Operating Plan

Preliminary Plan Presented for Consideration by the Board of Directors

November 14, 2013

Omaha Public Power District’s senior management presented its preliminary 2014 Corporate Operating Plan to its board of directors today. The plan outlines how the utility successfully managed challenges this year, including the extended outage of Fort Calhoun Station.

Through it all, OPPD has been able to hold the line on operating expenses. As a result, OPPD does not anticipate increasing customer rates in the coming year.

Not only was the District able to keep operating costs flat, it was able to find substantial savings through coal contracts negotiated earlier this year.

Another factor in the decision to keep rates steady is the way in which our customer-owners will pay for additional power purchased this past year. The cost, incurred by customers who will benefit, will be spread over three years' time.

The board will consider and vote on the proposed Corporate Operating Plan at its meeting next month on December 19.

In other action, the board approved:

….the use of regulatory accounting for major planned production outages. This allows the District to defer incremental outage costs and amortization over the next production cycle. It will help ensure current and future customers share in the costs and benefits of continued and enhanced station operations.

….a contract to supply labor and materials for the replacement of heating elements for Nebraska City Station Unit No. 1 primary and secondary air preheaters. The contract was awarded to Irwin Industries, Inc., in the amount of $3,581,344.

….the 2014 Board of Directors’ meeting schedule. OPPD is one of the largest customer-owned electric utilities in the United States, serving more than 352,000 customers in 13 counties in southeast Nebraska.

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Knowledgeable Business Owner Stuns Scammer

November 7, 2013

The phone calls aren’t letting up. Scammers, who’ve already targeted elderly and non-English speaking customers of the Omaha Public Power District, now seem to be setting their sights on businesses. Over the last month, more than 60 local customers have notified the District of calls they received from phony bill collectors. More than half of these recent reports come from local businesses ranging from dry cleaners to real estate companies and restaurants.

Jim Hall, who owns Orsi’s Bakery and Pizzeria in Omaha, has actually heard from scammers twice now – once this week, and once back in July. Both times, they tried to convince Hall that he was late on his OPPD bill payment. Hall, who used to work for OPPD, knows this is not how the District operates, so he didn’t fall for the ploy. When he mentioned his affiliation with the company, the caller hung up.

For months, callers have been posing as OPPD representatives, telling customers they’re overdue on their bills, and unless they pay up immediately, their power will be shut-off. In some instances, they falsely claim customers need to pay for the installation of new equipment. They’ve even threatened customers’ homes could burn down. The thieves typically demand a credit card number, or they instruct customers to purchase pre-paid debit cards and call them back with the numbers.

The scammers’ calls are filtered through a variety of fake phone numbers so they can’t be traced. Similar scams involving other utilities have been reported in our region and across the country. Hall wants to help OPPD spread the word to keep people from falling prey to the scammers. The District advises:

  • Residential or business customers should never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited telephone call.
  • If such a person should appear unannounced at one’s door claiming to work for the utility, do not allow them entrance. Ask for identification, which OPPD employees always carry. If that person cannot produce ID, that’s a red flag.

OPPD has notified the Omaha Police Department of this scam and is working with police to help protect our customers. Meanwhile, if a customer has a particular question about account payment, that customer should call OPPD directly at 402-536-4131 within Omaha or 1-877-536-4131 outside of Omaha.

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Newest Wind Power Purchase to be OPPD’s Largest to Date

October 17, 2013

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors voted at its regular monthly meeting this morning to approve a long-term power purchase agreement to buy up to 400 megawatts (MW) of wind generated electricity from Grande Prairie Wind Farm.

That vote allows OPPD to strategically plan for the future and further its mission to provide affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to its customers.

The wind farm is to be located northeast of O’Neill, Nebraska. The agreement has a term of 20 years. It becomes the largest wind power purchase to date for OPPD.

During discussions the board heard that prices for wind energy are the lowest the District has seen and represent a good deal for OPPD customers. Also, that acting now would allow the developer to take advantage of federal production tax credits. The agreement is contingent on the extension of those federal tax credits and on the project winning approval from the Nebraska Power Review Board.

The proposal will increase OPPD’s renewable energy generation capacity to 817 MW of capacity, nearly doubling current amounts, and increasing to 30 percent the amount of retail generation that comes from renewable energy sources. The percentage surpasses all of the District’s previous announced corporate goals. It will also help position OPPD as one of the top utilities in the region for percentage of retail sales.

The additional wind energy will supply enough electricity to serve more than 118,000 OPPD residential customers. The new wind farm is expected to be operational in the second half of 2015.

In addition to the new purchase agreement approved by the board, OPPD already has existing contracts with several other wind farms, all located within the state of Nebraska. This includes wind farms near Ainsworth, Bloomfield, Broken Bow, Crofton, Humboldt , Elgin and Petersburg.

In other action, the board also:

… approved amendments to the District’s Retirement Plan and Supplemental Retirement Savings Plans to incorporate provisions agreed to through collective bargaining.

… received the president’s monthly State of the Utility Report

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Public power Week: Working for Our Customers

October 7, 2013

Some 2,000 public utilities across the country, including OPPD, are celebrating the benefits of being customer-owned during Public Power Week, October 6-12. Public Power serves more than 47 million customers, 14 percent of the electric consumers in the United States.

Public power utilities are directly accountable to the people they serve through locally elected or appointed officials. Since we are customer-owned, it helps ensure:

  • Not-for-profit status where customers benefit rather than shareholders
  • Local control where customers can access their Board of Directors and company representatives
  • Lower prices
  • Top-notch customer service
  • Quick outage response - resources are local and mutual aid assistance is in place with other utilities

Founded in 1946, OPPD is the 12th-largest public power utility in the U.S., serving more than 352,000 customers in southeast Nebraska. Our prices for all customer classes are 20-27 percent below the national average.

And, for the 13th year in a row, OPPD has been recognized by J.D. Power and Associates for outstanding customer satisfaction. Most of our employees are customers, too, and have just as much of stake in the utility as anyone else in our service territory.

OPPD is one of the largest customer-owned electric utilities in the United States, serving more than 352,000 customers in 13 counties in southeast Nebraska.

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One Week Left for Project Greenflick Submissions

Deadline: October 11

October 4, 2013

There’s just a week left for area high school students to submit short films for consideration in Omaha Public Power District’s Project Greenflick. The video contest is designed to promote efficient, environmentally-sensitive energy.

Any high school student or group of students, aged 13 and older, within the OPPD service territory may participate. They just need to produce and submit a short, creative film about energy efficient and/or management. Winners will receive cash prizes for their teams and their schools.

Videos should be no longer than 60-seconds. They must be shot in high definition, at least 1280 x720 mega pixels (many cell phones have this capability) or Blu-Ray. They will be judged based on creativity and overall educational quality.

Students should visit the “Omaha Public Power District” Facebook page and click on the Project Greenflick tab to enter. The window to enter began September 1, and it will continue through October 11. In addition to uploading their video, contestants must fill out an entry form.

The individual or team with the winning film will receive $500. The second place winner(s) will be awarded $250. The Third place winner(s) receive $100. The winning students’ schools will receive matching awards.

This year, we will also have a People’s Choice winner. That entry, as selected by the largest number of Facebook votes, will also receive $100 for the student or students behind the film, as well as their school. Students are encouraged to share the voting link on their Facebook walls to garner as many votes as they can.

The voting period will begin October 14 at 12:01 a.m., and it will end October 27 at 11:59 p.m. Winners will be notified in November.

Visit OPPD.com/greenflick for more information and to view past video submissions.

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Scammers at It Again, Claiming to Represent OPPD

Callers seem to be increasingly targeting Latino customers

September 25, 2013

We warned our customers back in June about a billing scam that seemed to be targeting residential and business customers with Latino surnames. Scam calls are picking up steam once again. And the callers are working those phone lines with some new tricks in their arsenal, feeding on customers’ fear in order to steal their money.

Over the past month, nearly 80 customers have reported receiving calls from people falsely claiming to represent OPPD. Most of those reporting the scam lately speak Spanish as their first language. And most of them report the caller spoke Spanish, as well. It’s just one tactic the thieves have used to bilk our customers out of money.

In the past, most of the calls centered around bills. Callers claimed customers owed the utility money and that their services would be cut off if they didn’t pay, over the phone, immediately.

But recent calls have also alleged customers’ meters or transformers were not working properly, and that customers needed to pay to replace the equipment. One customer even reports the caller threatened that his house would burn down due to faulty equipment if he didn’t pay for repairs right away.

Scammers have instructed customers to pay with a credit card in some cases. In many more, they were instructed to purchase Visa gift cards worth hundreds of dollars, and call the phony reps back with the numbers. In one particularly disturbing case, a customer was told a rep would come to her house to collect the gift card. She did not fall for the scam, instead notifying OPPD and the Omaha Police Department.

Sadly, a handful of customers admit they did fall prey to the con artists. OPPD stresses that none of these individuals demanding cash payments or financial information work for the District. It also advises:

  • Residential or business customers should never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited telephone call.
  • If such a person should appear unannounced at one’s door claiming to work for the utility, do not allow them entrance and always ask for identification or verification. OPPD employees always carry identification. Failure to produce identification should always be a tip-off to the customer that something is wrong.

If a customer has a particular question about payment or their account, that customer is advised to always call OPPD directly at 402-536-4131 within Omaha or 1-877-536-4131 outside of Omaha.

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OPPD Board Approves Changes in Election Subdivisions

September 19, 2013

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors today approved an amendment to the District’s charter changing election subdivision boundaries for members of the board. The amendment meets the requirements of a bill passed by the Nebraska State Legislature during its most recent session. The charter amendment must now go to the Nebraska Power Review Board for review and final approval.

Under the new election subdivision plan, the OPPD Board of Directors will have eight subdivisions of substantially equal population in the OPPD service territory. Presently, OPPD has four election subdivisions for its service territory: North, South, Suburban and Metropolitan. Five directors represent the Metropolitan Subdivision, which generally comprises the corporate boundaries of the City of Omaha. The other three directors represent the North, South, and Suburban Subdivisions.

Upon filing of the petition to approve the charter amendment, the Power Review Board will publish notice of the amendment for three weeks. The proposed amendment will become effective upon approval of the Power Review Board.

The proposed new election subdivisions may be viewed by going to OPPD’s website at Proposed Board of Directors Redistricting.

Also during its September meeting, the OPPD Board of Directors approved a new process to make it easier for members of the public to have input on matters of importance to the board and OPPD Senior Management. The OPPD Stakeholder Process was developed following months of research and meetings with stakeholders across the District’s 13-county service territory. The effort included benchmarking, workshops, surveys and extensive interviews. The new process is expected to establish a tool to provide input from customers for a wide variety of projects and help the board and Senior Management make future decisions that are fair and equitable for all customers.

In other action, the board also:

...approved the purchase of two new power transformers to serve as spares for the District. The contract was awarded to Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hyundai Corporation USA in the amount of $1,934,000.

...approved a compensation adjustment for Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Edward E. Easterlin.

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5 Electric Safety Tips to Share with Family

September 12, 2013

When working or playing outdoors this fall, take a minute to look up and see what's overhead. If power lines are nearby, keep your distance. Be especially careful when painting, using ladders, trimming trees and working around water.

  1. Stay away from downed power lines. Treat all fallen lines as if they are energized and dangerous. Call OPPD at 1-800-554-6773 or 911 to report the situation, and keep people and pets away.
  2. Observe all warning signs. Teach children not to play near electric equipment or enter areas marked “Danger,” “High Voltage” or “Keep Out.”
  3. Look up, look around and look out. If you're working with a ladder, watch where the ladder's top end goes. Position and move the ladder carefully.
  4. Take special care with trees near power lines. Don't climb a tree that has power lines in or near it. Consider leaving tree trimming to professionals, who know how to prune trees near power lines. Long-armed, tree-trimming equipment is especially dangerous near power lines. Call OPPD at 402-536-4131 or 1-800-648-2658 to report tree limbs that are in power lines.
  5. Remember that electricity and water don’t mix. Make sure electric appliances and power tools are not placed where they might get wet.

For more information, visit oppd.com/safety or call the OPPD Energy Advisor at 402-636-3850 in Omaha or 1-800-648-2658.

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Speakers Series to Tackle Electricity 101 & Sustainable Energy

Learn from the experts at two upcoming public sessions

September 10, 2013

Ever wonder just how electricity is actually made? What is a kilowatt, anyway? And, how many do our household appliances use? Experts with the Omaha Public Power District will answer those questions, and share more helpful information at the third Speakers Series event of the year.

Electricity 101 comes to the Florence Branch Library, 2920 Bondesson St., Tuesday, September 17, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Customers are invited to learn how OPPD generates electricity and delivers it to nearly 780,500 people every day. This session is a great preview for teachers interested in classroom presentations. The first 50 attendees will receive free weatherization kits.

Next month, in the final Speakers Series event of the year, Sustainable Energy & Environmental Stewardship, OPPD representatives will share the utility’s efforts in these areas. The event takes place Wednesday, October 16, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St. The experts will share more on the steps being taken to ensure OPPD meets its goal of having 15-percent of energy sales come from renewable resources by 2014.

They will also talk about some innovative approaches OPPD is taking in regards to electric vehicles, demand-side management and energy efficiency programs. The first 50 attendees at this session also will receive free weatherization kits.

Interpreters for the hearing-impaired will be available at both of the upcoming Speakers Series sessions.

OPPD created the Speakers Series in collaboration with Omaha Public Library to share expertise on a number of energy-related topics. All events are free and open to the public.

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Fort Calhoun Station to Sound Siren System

August 26, 2013

The Omaha Public Power District will conduct its annual test of the siren alert system around the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Station on Tuesday morning, August 27, 2013. The tests involve all radio-controlled sirens located within a 10-mile radius of Fort Calhoun Station. The sirens will sound for a full four minutes sometime between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 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 plant. 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 the public that they should tune into local broadcast media and follow Emergency Alert System (EAS) guidance.

Anyone noticing a siren malfunction during the test on Tuesday, August 27, is asked to call the Omaha Public Power District as (402) 636-2000 or contact Corporate Marketing and Communications Division, Omaha Public Power District, 444 S. 16th St. Mall, 3E/EP1, Omaha, NE 68102-2247.

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Project Greenflick Provides an Outlet for Aspiring Filmmakers

Videos may be submitted September 1 - October 11

August 22, 2013

The next Alexander Payne may be sitting in a Nebraska classroom right now. The Omaha Public Power District wants to nurture aspiring filmmakers’ talent, while promoting efficient, environmentally-sensitive energy use. That’s where Project Greenflick comes in.

OPPD is, once again, sponsoring this video contest in which high school students produce short, creative films about energy efficiency and/or management. Project Greenflick is open to any individual high school student or group of students, aged 13 and older, within the OPPD service territory.

Videos should be no longer than 60-seconds. They must be shot in high definition, at least 1280 x720 mega pixels (many cell phones have this capability) or Blu-Ray. They will be judged based on creativity and overall educational quality.

Students should visit the Omaha Public Power District Facebook page and click on the Project Greenflick tab to enter between September 1 and October 11. In addition to uploading their video, contestants must fill out an entry form.

The individual or team with the winning film will receive $500. The second place winner(s) will be awarded $250. The Third place winner(s) receive $100. The winning students’ schools will receive matching awards.

This year, we will also have a People’s Choice winner. That entry, as selected by the largest number of Facebook votes, will also receive $100 for the student or students behind the film, as well as their school. Students are encouraged to share the voting link on their Facebook walls to garner as many votes as they can.

The voting period will begin October 14 at 12:01 a.m., and it will end October 27 at 11:59 p.m. Winners will be notified in November.

Visit OPPD.com/greenflick for more information and to view past video submissions.

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OPPD Board Hears Midyear Status Report

August 16, 2013

The first six months of 2013 have been challenging ones, but productive for the Omaha Public Power District. That is the assessment of OPPD President & CEO Gary Gates, who Thursday night presented the District’s Midyear Status Report during the Board of Directors monthly meeting.

Mr. Gates said the report reflected upon accomplishments so far this year, as well as OPPD’s goals going forward and the work that still lies ahead. Guiding the District’s activities has been the utility’s new revised Strategic Plan, which was adopted following a complete review last year of how OPPD does business in light of changes in the utility industry.

Highlights in the Midyear Report included the District’s expectation to have 15 percent of its retail energy sales come from renewable energy by 2014, surpassing its corporate goal of 10 percent by 2020. The report also noted the success of various programs, such as the Air Conditioning Management Program (ACMP), which allows OPPD to control air conditioner use by some residents during peak times. On track to have 21,500 participants by the end of the year, ACMP is expected to allow more than 32 megawatts (MW) to be trimmed from OPPD’s peak summer load.

Also highlighted in the report was the District support of growth in its service territory. This included completion of new substations in Sarpy and Richardson Counties, work on the new headquarters for Stratcom and ongoing development of the 180-mile Midwest Transmission Project, a new transmission line between Nebraska City and Sibley, Missouri aimed at improving service reliability in our region.

Among the challenges mentioned in the report was the ongoing effort to restart Fort Calhoun Station. Progress toward a successful restart continues although no final restart date has been set. To offset some of the expenses associated with restart and minimize the impact on ratepayers, the District has already cut $11 million from its operation and maintenance budgets, while saving another $11 million through employee benefit reductions.

One achievement during the first part of 2013 drew special attention at Thursday’s board meeting. The board was presented the J.D. Power Award for finishing in first place in its class in residential customer satisfaction. The award is based on an annual survey of residential customers across the nation. This is the 13th consecutive year OPPD has earned the award.

In other action, board members also:

… authorized management to negotiate a contract for site welding services needed at Fort Calhoun Station.

… awarded a contract in the amount of $926, 372 to Midwest Underground, Inc., of Lincoln, Nebraska, for labor and material to install foundations and ductline for the new substation at Offutt Air Force Base.

… voted to move September’s monthly board meeting from Sept. 12 to Sept. 19.

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Public Invited to Sustainability Summit

Thursday, July 25, at UNO’s Scott Conference Center

July 19, 2013

Those looking at a career in or who simply want to learn more about sustainability, energy technologies, building science practices, energy codes, and standards, should make plans now for a unique event next week. The First Annual Sustainability Summit is hosted by Omaha Public Power District, along with the Peter Kiewit Institute and the University of Nebraska.

The summit wraps up the three-day Academy of Sustainable Environments and Renewable Energy. The academy attracts 20 of the region’s most gifted high school seniors. This final event, however, is open to a broader audience, at no charge. It takes place Thursday, July 25, from 9 a.m. to Noon at the Scott Conference Center, 6450 Pine Street, Omaha and is open to the public.

It features presentations by OPPD, Re-Energize Omaha, Omaha by Design, and American Energy Advisors. In addition, exhibits by local organizations will help foster a better understanding of renewable energy and sustainability.

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Number 13 and Counting for OPPD

July 17, 2013

Omaha Public Power District residential customers have once again voted their electric utility the best in its class from various utilities across the Midwest region, according to an announcement Wednesday, July 17, from marketing services firm J.D. Power & Associates. This marks the 13th consecutive year that OPPD has topped all competitors in the annual survey of midsize utilities for residential customer satisfaction.

"We are very pleased to win the J.D. Power Award once again. As I have said previously, any time you can win an award like this for a number of consecutive years, it indicates excellent, consistent performance," said OPPD President and CEO Gary Gates, who again thanked the utility’s customers for the honor. "Consistency is extremely important for a quality, high-performing organization, which is what we continually strive to be. This award says we continue to be on the right path."

Mr. Gates said the award shows that fundamentals like basic customer service, meeting customer demand and reliability are still important and still there for OPPD.

Finishing on top of the 2013 survey follows a year when the district has had to continue focusing efforts on restarting Fort Calhoun Station, the impact of various storms and meeting record electricity demands. This year, the district has also launched development of a new Stakeholder Engagement Process that will provide a framework for effective and comprehensive engagement with stakeholders for decision-making initiatives company-wide.

"I cannot express enough how much I respect the efforts of every member of our team to meet the needs of our stakeholders. In many respects, this has once again been a challenging year but our people have risen to the challenge. Congratulations and thank you for a job well done."

The 2013 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study SM is based on responses from more than 102,000 online interviews, conducted from July 2012 through May 2013 among residential customers of the 126 largest electric utility brands across the United States.

J.D. Power & Associates, which is based in California, defines midsize utilities as those serving between 125,000 and 499,000 residential customers. OPPD serves nearly 310,000 residential customers.

The overall customer satisfaction experience of residential customers is measured using attributes within six factors. The six are Power Quality and Reliability; Price; Billing and Payment; Corporate Citizenship; Communications; and Customer Service. According to this year’s study, overall customer satisfaction among residential customers increased substantially in 2013. Satisfaction in price and customer service recorded its highest level in four years.

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Nancy Wittwer Receives National Accounting Education Award

OPPD’s managerial accountant generates excitement in her field

July 15, 2013

Nancy Wittwer - jpgNancy Wittwer, a managerial accountant for Omaha Public Power District payroll services, loves working with numbers and people. She vows to “never stop learning.” And that passion has proven contagious. The member and chapter Education Chair of the Greater Metro Area Association of Government Accountants (AGA) has helped to dramatically increase interest and attendance at meetings. And for her efforts, AGA is honoring Nancy with a national award for accounting education.

The AGA, a global organization with more than 15,000 members, serves to foster learning, certification, leadership and collaboration for professionals and stakeholders committed to advancing government accountability. Nancy is among six members who will receive a Chapter Education Award Tuesday, July 16, at the AGA’s 62nd Annual PDC Conference in Dallas. The conference runs four days, July 14-17.

During Nancy’s 10-year tenure with the organization, she’s generated a lot of buzz and even more respect. Her chapter’s events have been so highly regarded that some have had standing-room only crowds. Nancy has also been instrumental in recruiting four co-workers to serve on AGA’s board.

"I was quite surprised when I learned I’d won the award," said Nancy, "and I am extremely honored. AGA is a terrific organization which has helped to better our industry in so many ways – from accuracy to ethics. I am proud to be a part of that effort. And I am grateful that my employer is a strong supporter of AGA, as well."

Nancy, a native of Humboldt, Nebraska, holds a B.S.B.A. in accounting from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, as well as a C.P.A. certificate. She has been with OPPD, one of the largest customer-owned electric utilities in the United States, for 12 years. The company employs nearly 2,300 employees who serve more than 352,000 customers in 13 counties in southeast Nebraska.

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Board Approves Cost-Saving Installation at Power Station

July 11, 2013

Having the ability to use natural gas to start up Nebraska City Station Unit 1 will provide significant cost savings to Omaha Public Power District and its customer-owners.

At the regular July monthly meeting, OPPD Board members allowed OPPD to negotiate with Grunwald Mechanical Contractors & Engineers to amend its existing contract that was created to install gas piping on Nebraska City Unit 2 to also include the natural gas piping for Nebraska City Station Unit 1. Completed in 1979 and 2009 respectively, Nebraska City Station Unit 1 and 2 are currently designed to use only fuel oil during start up.

Over time, the cost of the various fuels varies, but natural gas currently is about four to five times cheaper than fuel oil. "Natural gas is a cleaner, less expensive fuel than fuel oil, but up to this point, it was not available at the power station," said Jon Hansen, OPPD Vice President of Energy Production & Marketing. "However, a pipeline to deliver the natural gas to the station was completed earlier this year, and it is ready for operation."

The firm currently is performing similar work on Nebraska City Station Unit 2. That project is 50 percent complete. The Unit 1 work is scheduled to be completed in spring 2014.

Board members also approved management to enter into a contract for an estimated $713,000 for the engineering, procurement and shipping of Spent Fuel Pool Level Instrumentation required for Fort Calhoun Station. The upgrade to the instrumentation -- required per an order from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that applies to all domestic nuclear plants -- will provide two independent Spent Fuel Pool Level Instrument systems for redundancy and safety. The upgrade will address concerns that arose at all nuclear plants worldwide following the 2011 Fukushima earthquake.

In other action, members received the monthly State of the Utility report.

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Beyond Weather-Related Outages

Believe it or not, animals are among the top trouble sources

June 28, 2013

'Tis the season for thunderstorms, as we know all too well around here. This week’s surprise storm knocked out power to 52,000 Omahans. Mother Nature’s fury impacted customers to the north, south, east and west. OPPD crews worked around the clock for two and a half days until the final customer was back online following damage by wind, falling trees and limbs.

Father’s Day weekend, around 3,600 customers lost power in our service territory as a result of thunderstorms. And this time last year, outages also impacted the weekend devoted to dads. All told, weather was behind 22-percent of Omaha Public Power District outages in 2012, but it’s certainly not the only cause.

Creatures Causing Trouble

Did you know 18-percent of last year’s electric trouble was caused by small animals? Squirrels, raccoons, birds, rabbits, bats, snakes and other creatures were behind 1,083 out of 5,970 power outages. Believe it or not, a fish was actually behind one outage. An OPPD employee discovered the culprit on a capacitor at 94th & F streets. Apparently, a bird had dropped its catch-of-the-day there, leading to temporary problems for nearby industrial customers.

The number of these critter-related outages has dropped in recent years, thanks largely to animal guard devices installed on OPPD’s equipment. "We try to get ahead of the problem," said Rick Kalina, Manager of System Operations. "There are a lot of causes, but we can take measures to minimize similar problems in the future."

Other Causes

In addition to weather and critters, other causes included equipment failure (19-percent), trees (10-percent), human error, such as improper digging (3-percent), and vehicle crashes (1-percent). In the remaining 27-percent, the root causes were anomalies.

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OPPD Warns of Scammers Targeting Customers with Latino Surnames

June 26, 2013

Con artists are trying to bilk Omaha Public Power District customers out of money by falsely claiming to represent the District’s billing department. A number of customers have reported receiving fraudulent calls over the past few days, a resurgence of a scam we saw this past January.

This time, however, the targeted customers seem to have one thing in common – Latino surnames. The scammers may be trying to take advantage of customers for whom they suspect language barriers exist.

The callers are telling customers their payment is overdue and that in order to avoid having their power shut off, they must pay up. In some instances, they claim they need payment for installation of new equipment like meters. They demand money, a credit card number or other financial or personal information. Similar scams involving other utilities have been reported in various parts of the country.

Scammers have even used a phone number similar to the District’s Call Center number in an attempt to appear legitimate. In the past, some have even instructed their targets to bring money to Wal-Mart, Walgreens or CVS to make a payment, or to purchase a gift card to use as payment in a follow-up phone call. Others have instructed people to turn off home or business security systems, to "help the utility save energy," falsely claiming it’s a good way for the customer to "reduce the energy bill."

OPPD stresses that none of these individuals demanding cash payments or financial information work for the District. It also advises:

  • Residential or business customers should never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited telephone call.
  • If such a person should appear unannounced at one’s door claiming to work for the utility, do not allow them entrance and always ask for identification or verification. OPPD employees always carry identification. Failure to produce identification should always be a tip-off to the customer that something is wrong.
  • They should also refuse to turn off their security systems simply because a stranger asks them to do so. Any customer who receives such a call is advised to call local law enforcement.

OPPD has notified the Omaha Police Department of the latest scam and is working with police to help protect our customers. Meanwhile, if a customer has a particular question about payment or their account, that customer is advised to always call OPPD, 402-536-4131 within Omaha or 1-877-536-4131 outside of Omaha, if they have any questions.

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OPPD Board Approves Equipment for New Substation

June 20, 2013

The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors once again has its eyes on new utility work at Offutt Air Force Base.

Board members at their regular June monthly meeting approved awarding a contract for $749,000 to Harold Scholz Company of Ralston for the purchase of switchgear to be used in a new substation that will help provide electric service to Offutt and the new U.S. Strategic Command headquarters currently under construction in Bellevue.

OPPD is in the early stages of a multi-year program to serve the new Stratcom headquarters. The program includes building a new substation and updating other infrastructure. The new Stratcom facility is designed to meet military security and communications needs for the next 50 years.

The switchgear contract is the latest of several that have come before the board in recent months in connection with the Stratcom Project. In February, the board approved a contract for ductline installation for two substations at the base. Last month, the board approved the purchase of three transformers that will be used.

Construction on Stratcom’s new headquarters began last October and is expected to take four years to complete. It will eventually replace the current headquarters, which opened in the late 1950s. Meanwhile, the board also voted to award a contract to CG Power Systems USA, Inc., of Washington, Mo., for two transformers to be used at two other planned substations, on 184th and Blondo and near Highway 50 and Capehart Road. The contract is for $1,231,200.

In other action, members also reviewed and approved the 2012 annual report on the District’s Health Plan for its employees and received the monthly President’s report.

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OPPD Hosting Open House Meetings to Discuss Stakeholder Involvement

June 18, 2013

OMAHA- Omaha Public Power District is inviting the public to participate in the development of their Stakeholder Engagement Process. This process will provide a framework for effective and comprehensive stakeholder involvement for decision-making initiatives company wide.

"This process is very important to us," said Fred Ulrich, OPPD Chairman of the Board. "Our goal is to listen to our customer-owners and develop the most effective process for engaging with them on all of our future projects. We are depending on them to let us know what they need."

Interested in the needs and concerns of all customers, OPPD is looking for the public’s perspective on their relationship with the community, the current stakeholder engagement process, and most importantly, what can be improved so that future projects and initiatives are appropriately communicated to the public.

OPPD is inviting the public to attend any of the 11 open house meetings scheduled across its service territory. These open house meetings will provide an opportunity for customers and stakeholders to give their feedback on the new Stakeholder Engagement Process.

The Stakeholder Meeting Schedule:
Stakeholders meeting Schedule - jpg

Those who are unable to attend an in-person meeting can participate in an online open house that can be found at www.OPPDListens.com. The online forum will be available from June 19 through July 3. Additionally, OPPD is seeking input through a Stakeholder Communications Survey. Mr. Ulrich encourages anyone interested to take the survey at www.OPPDListens.com.

OPPD is one of the largest customer-owned electric utilities in the United States, serving more than 352,000 customers in 13 counties in southeast Nebraska.

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Bond Outlook Changes

May 31, 2013

News stories appeared this week after bond rating company Moody’s changed its outlook on OPPD’s bonds from "Negative outlook" to "Review for possible downgrade." Moody’s cited the fact that Fort Calhoun Station’s restart will most likely be delayed beyond the second quarter.

All of the physical work to get ready for restart is known with workers preparing for a final push. The NRC has inspections scheduled in June on issues remaining.

It is important to remember that OPPD’s bonds are rated AA by Standard & Poor’s and Aa1 by Moody’s. OPPD is one of only three public power utilities with bonds rated this high. The change in outlook doesn’t affect the rating, but indicates it could change.

If the ratings are downgraded, OPPD’s bonds will remain highly rated. OPPD is confident that Fort Calhoun Station will restart and that will improve the financial outlook for OPPD.

Any ratings change will not affect the interest payments of current bond holders.

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New OPPD Substation to Accommodate Sarpy County Growth

May 30, 2013

The Omaha Public Power District has completed energizing its newest substation in Sarpy County. The action comes nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.

The Southeast Sarpy County Growth and Reliability Project involved three and a half years of planning, engineering and construction. OPPD initiated the project in response to continuing growth in the southeast Sarpy County area. As a result of that growth, the area has also seen a continuing increase in customer demand for electricity.

OPPD is extremely pleased that the project has been completed ahead of schedule and is ready to provide additional service to the District’s customers.

"The new substation will help OPPD maintain a high level of electric reliability to customers in the area and support future growth," said Mo Doghman, OPPD Vice President of Energy Delivery & Chief Compliance Officer. "As the demand grows, we’re staying ahead of the curve to continue to provide the excellent service our customers expect."

The new substation is located on the northwest corner of 27th and Platteview Road in Bellevue. The location was selected after an extensive public input and development process involving nearby residents, elected officials and other stakeholders. To connect the new substation to the electric grid delivery system, 4.5 miles of high-voltage transmission lines had to be built.

OPPD is one of the largest customer-owned electric utilities in the United States, serving more than 352,000 customers in 13 counties in southeast Nebraska.

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Speakers Series: Tips & Tools for Saving Energy

Thursday Event Will Share Low- and No-Cost Solutions

April 22, 2013

Taking measures like sealing cracks around the home or adjusting the thermostat are just a couple of small steps that can make a big impact on energy usage. Omaha Public Power District wants to help customers find other simple ways to save. That’s the topic of the second Speakers Series event for 2013.

OPPD experts will present Tips & Tools for Saving Energy on Thursday, April 25, at Abrahams Branch Library, 5111 N. 90th St. The free event, open to the public, goes from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

OPPD created the speakers series in collaboration with Omaha Public Library to share expertise on a number of energy-related topics.

Thursday’s session will discuss energy efficiency and the many low-cost solutions to help customers save money on their utility bills. The first 50 attendees will receive free weatherization kits.

The next event, Electricity 101, takes place Sept. 17, at the Florence Branch, 2920 Bondesson St.

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OPPD Joins Earth Day Celebration at Elmwood Park

Providing environmentally conscious energy strategies for customers

April 18, 2013

Earth Day is celebrated worldwide April 22 to raise awareness of the earth’s precious resources and the importance of protecting them. It’s an effort in which Omaha Public Power District proudly participates.

OPPD is joining in the 23rd Annual Earth Day Omaha Celebration which takes place Saturday, April 20, at Elmwood Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The park is located at 808 So. 60th St. The utility will be among more than a hundred businesses and organizations with booths, demonstrations and activities designed to promote a sustainable lifestyle.

At its booth, OPPD will show environmentally friendly products and services such as the Air Conditioning Management Program, Refrigerator Recycling and Green Power. Company representatives also will take to the main stage during the day to provide more information about the programs.

Earth Day Omaha is the city’s largest ecological showcase and celebration, and it is the largest ecologically focused event in Nebraska.

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OPPD Continues its Commitment to Economic Development

Tim O'Brien joins OPPD

April 15, 2013

Omaha Public Power District’s latest hire supports its mission to provide affordable, reliable, environmentally sensitive services to customers. The District has announced the appointment of Timothy O’Brien to the position of Manager of Economic Development, beginning April 15.

Mr. O’Brien comes to OPPD from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development where he spent the last 10 years in numerous positions including infrastructure support analyst, business consultant and in business development. Most recently, he served as the department’s business recruitment manager. In that capacity, he provided oversight for programs and staff, working closely with economic development partners to bring new business and industry to Nebraska. He also helped create communications, research and marketing strategies, and financial packaging for new projects with state interests in mind.

In addition, Mr. O’Brien has worked as an adjunct professor for Doane College, teaching Electronic Commerce Strategies in the Masters of Arts in Management program. He holds a master’s degree in Management, with an emphasis in Leadership, from Doane College and a bachelor’s in Business Administration and Management Information Systems from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“OPPD has always been a strong advocate in promoting and supporting economic development in our state,” said Tim Burke, vice president of Customer Service and Public Affairs. “Tim will lead the dedicated and talented economic development team at OPPD and will help continue the strong tradition of ensuring we have affordable and reliable electricity for our current customers and prospects thinking about locating in Nebraska.

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OPPD Board Approves Selling up to $60 Million in Bonds

April 11, 2013

Many financial advisors say current interest rates are as low as they have ever been. That has prompted the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors to approve a measure to take advantage of current market interest rates and to reduce the District’s debt service.

At its regular monthly meeting, the Board authorized management to sell up to $60 million of authorized bonds to refund existing debt upon acceptable debt service savings and market conditions. The new bonds to be known as the 2013 Series AA Subordinated Electric System Revenue Bonds (Authorized Bonds) will be traditional tax-exempt bonds. Due to the size of the refinancing and the limited maturity structure, the District intends to pursue a competitively bid bond issue which will provide an opportunity for local and regional underwriters to bid on the bond issue along with the larger, national underwriters. In discussing the issue, the Board was told refinancing could allow substantial savings for OPPD’s customer-owners.

The Board will receive quarterly updates on the status of Authorized Bonds. Final pricing of the bonds will be presented at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting immediately following acceptance of the competitive bids for the Authorized Bonds.

In other action, the Board also:

… authorized a contract to be awarded to Grunwald Mechanical Contractors & Engineers of Omaha for $750,779 for installation of new natural gas piping and equipment to Nebraska City Station Unit 2.

… received the monthly President’s Report for April from OPPD President/CEO Gary Gates.

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Going Once, Going Twice, Going Online

April 10, 2013

The auctioneer’s familiar, rapid-fire calling of numbers and words isn’t ready to fade into history, but the auction process itself is increasingly going online. Reflecting the trend, OPPD has one online auction scheduled, with several potential online auctions in 2013, replacing the on-site auctions it has conducted since 1989 as a part of its investment recovery process.

"We are changing the process with the intent of gaining a more rapid return on assets," said Sherrye Hutcherson, OPPD Vice President of Corporate Services & Chief Administrative Officer.

The first auction is scheduled Wednesday, April 24, when construction equipment will be up for bids on the Big Iron auction site. Go to keywords at the top of the page, type OPPD and click Go. Items for sale can be viewed online prior to bidding. Interested bidders also can view equipment on-site Tuesday, April 23, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Elkhorn Service Center, 1101 N 180th Street, Elkhorn, Neb. Please contact Sky Svevad at 402-889-7279 for on-site viewing.

The joint fall auction, held in conjunction with MUD and the City of Papillion in recent years, won’t be conducted this year.

"Liquidating assets online is faster and will result in better value for us," Hutcherson said. "We will save money by not having to store equipment for a long period of the year, and OPPD also will save on the cost of an on-site auction."

It’s likely there will be additional online auctions this year as OPPD seeks to raise income from surplus or obsolete equipment. OPPD will evaluate the success of the online auctions to determine if it will use the format in future years.

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OPPD Stronger Despite Challenges Says 2012 Annual Report

April 8, 2013

2012 Annual Report Cover - jpg"Recharged," that is the major theme marking the 2012 Omaha Public Power District Annual Report. The new report describes 2012 as a year of great uncertainty and significant challenges for OPPD. However, the report states the District emerged recharged as an organization and recommitted to customers, employees and the communities it serves due to the safe, diligent and creative efforts of employees.

"Our resourceful employees give us confidence to move forward in an industry that is in the midst of a dramatic evolution," wrote OPPD President and CEO Gary Gates and Chairman of the Board Frederick J. Ulrich in their report message. "During 2012, OPPD senior management took a hard look at OPPD’s future. Working with strategic planning experts, we created a new Corporate Strategic Plan. In developing the plan, we reviewed every aspect of what OPPD should and could become."

The report, available on oppd.com, shares how the plan addresses the concerns of the District’s various stakeholders and moves OPPD forward. It also focuses on continuing efforts to solve major challenges, such as the successful restart of Fort Calhoun Station and improving system reliability while controlling costs.

A separate section contains the financial report for 2012, including the financial statements, independent auditors’ report and management’s discussion and analysis (MD&A) of activities. The MD&A describes actions taken by OPPD to address increased operating costs and effectively manage risks to maintain a strong financial position. Among the highlights are total operating revenues of $1,048 million and net income of $55 million for 2012. Total assets and deferred outflows were $4,870 million as of December 31, 2012.

The new annual report shows that OPPD residential customers paid an average of 10.12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2012, compared to the national average of 11.88 cents per kWh, according to the Energy Information Administration.* OPPD retail customers paid an average of 7.94 cents per kWh in 2012, compared to 9.87 cents per kWh for the national average.* The residential rates are almost 15 percent below the national average, and the retail rates are nearly 20 percent below the national average.

At oppd.com, find the document under the Investors & Finance tab.

*EIA stats for national average are preliminary year-to-date December 2012.

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OPPD Refrigerator Recycling Program Returns

April 4, 2013

One of Omaha Public Power District’s most successful recycling programs has returned for its fourth year. OPPD’s refrigerator recycling program for 2013 officially kicked off in March. Under the program, OPPD will haul away your old refrigerator or freezer, recycle it and, in the meantime, pay you $35. This year is anticipated to be the last year for the program, so customers are encouraged to sign up now.

OPPD started the program four years ago to remove older, inefficient appliances from the electric grid and responsibly recycle the materials inside those appliances. Since 2009, over 6,000 older inefficient units have been hauled away and recycled. 2,044 units were recycled in 2012, exceeding the goal of 2,000 refrigerators and freezers.

"Old refrigerators can use up to four times more electricity than new ones. Operating in spaces that aren’t temperature-controlled, like a garage, makes them work even harder, especially in the hot days of summer," said OPPD Vice President Tim Burke.

"This is a program in which everyone wins," Burke said. "Retiring your old, inefficient second refrigerator or freezer is good for the environment in that 95 percent of the materials are recycled. Plus, it could save you up to $150 a year on your energy bill. That is why this program has been successful and why we strongly encourage our customers to take advantage of it."

Here is how you can participate in the program:

  • Customers can arrange an appointment to have their refrigerators picked up by calling 1-866-444-9160 or visiting www.jacoinc.net.
  • The information can also be accessed by visiting the OPPD website at www.oppd.com/fridge.

Customers should be aware that there are some basic requirements to qualify for the program.

  • The refrigerator/freezer must still be in working condition.
  • The refrigerator/freezer must have an inside measurement between 10 and 32 cubic feet.
  • There is a limit of two refrigerator/freezer units per household.

OPPD contracts with JACO Environmental to remove the appliances from the homes of participating customers and to dismantle and recycle those appliances. Funding for the program comes from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Waste Reduction and Recycling Incentive Grants Program which is co-sponsoring the program with OPPD.

More information is available at the OPPD website including frequently asked questions.

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OPPD In-Lieu-of Tax Payments Exceed $29 Million

April 1, 2013

The Omaha Public Power District contributed significantly to the treasuries of the communities it serves today, distributing more than $29 million in 2012 in-lieu-of-tax payments. The payments to 11 counties in the utility’s service territory represent a new record, surpassing last year’s amount of $27,156,042 by nearly $1.88 million.

The payments are based on 5 percent of OPPD’s gross revenues from retail sales of electricity in incorporated cities and towns during the previous year.

The payments take the place of property taxes, as well as some other taxes. In addition to the in-lieu-of-tax payments, the District pays 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 by the county treasurers to school districts, cities and other entities.

"The past year presented significant challenges; however, OPPD employees responded by taking extra measures to maintain its reliable operations, plan for the future and keep rates below the national average," said OPPD Board Chairman Fred J. Ulrich.

"Lingering economic challenges continue to affect many in our community. The OPPD in-lieu-of-tax payments will greatly benefit local communities, as the monies contributed to the various local treasuries will help them fund needed services and make improvements," Chairman Ulrich said.

The payments to each county follow:

Douglas: $23,627,827
Sarpy: $4,116,579
Washington: $598,920
Saunders: $262,643
Cass: $231,286
Dodge: $122,340
Nemaha: $37,351
Johnson: $13,694
Richardson: $13,089
Colfax: $5,402
Otoe: $4,422
Total: $29,033,553


County treasurers distribute the funds to various taxing bodies.

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Successful Air Conditioning Management Program Back for 2013

March 28, 2013

As spring gets underway and temperatures begin to rise, OPPD is reminding customers of the benefits of signing up for the Air Conditioning Management Program.

The program has surpassed expectations since it was launched last year, with more than 11,500 customers signing up to date. This reduced peak demand by 17.2 megawatts in 2012, 2.2 megawatts above and beyond OPPD’s goal for the program. Reducing this demand helps delay the need for a new power plant and the cost of building it, keeping OPPD rates low.

When customers sign up for AC management, they receive a $30 credit after installation is complete, plus another $20 credit in September and each year thereafter, for participating in the program. An OPPD electrical contractor installs a free outdoor device to the customer’s home on the siding or brick nearest to the AC or heat pump. It requires the use of hardware, such as screws, but no appointments are necessary and nobody goes into the home.

On hot summer days, when demand for electricity is at its highest, the device will run the AC or heat pump in approximately 15-minute intervals (on for 15, off for 15) for two and a half hours between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. It’s important to note, this does not cause increased wear-and-tear to the cooling system. Management events are limited to 12 days a year at most.

The majority of customers surveyed since having the device installed report they never even realized when a management event was happening.

Of those who did notice, most were not bothered. "There was no discomfort. The house didn’t get real hot," said one customer. Another said, "There was a slight temperature increase on very hot days inside the house, but well worth the credit on my electric bill."

To sign up for the program or to learn more, visit oppd.com/acmgmt or call OPPD at 402-536-4131 or 1-877-536-4131 outside of the Omaha metro area.

Please see the "Fact Sheet" e-mail attachment for more details and a photograph of the AC Management device.

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Storms & Power Restoration Opens 2013 Speakers Series
OPPD Shares Strategies Heading into Severe Weather Season

March 25, 2013

After weathering several winter snow storms, Omaha Public Power District is turning its attention toward the spring severe weather season. Like heavy snow fall, driving rain, wind and lightning can also cause service disruptions.

Thursday, March 28, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Millard Branch Library, 13214 Westwood Ln., OPPD representatives will explore the topic of Power Restoration. It’s the first Speaker Series event of 2013. These informational sessions are free and open to the public, the result of collaboration with the Omaha Public Library to educate the public on a number of energy-related topics.

OPPD experts will talk about the effects of severe weather on the power grid and how the utility works to provide reliable service before, during and after a storm. Speakers also will explain how OPPD partners with emergency response organizations and media outlets to keep the public informed during storm-induced outages – whether short-lived or prolonged. Representatives from American Red Cross, Douglas County Emergency Management Agency and the Omaha/Douglas Citizen Corps Programs will be on-hand, as well, providing their insight into storm preparation and response.

A question and answer session will follow the presentation. Community members in attendance will be entered into drawings to win free weatherization kits. There will be an interpreter present for hearing-impaired customers.

The next scheduled session is April 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Abrahams Branch Library, 5111 N. 90th St. The topic will be Tips & Tools for Saving Energy.

OPPD is one of the largest customer-owned electric utilities in the United States, serving more than 352,000 customers in 13 counties in southeast Nebraska.

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OPPD’s Pilot Energy-Saving Trees Program a Big Success
All 2,000 trees are spoken for, as Utility Plans Next Event

March 21, 2013

The response to OPPD’s brand new Energy-Saving Trees program has been so overwhelming that it took less than a week for customers to claim 2,000 free trees. The utility made online reservations available starting Friday, March 15.

The program was launched in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation to help educate customers about the benefits of trees and how to properly plant them. Strategically planted trees can block cold winter winds and hot summer sun from homes and buildings, reducing energy usage.

The "Energy-Saving Trees" online tool allowed customers to figure out the best and safest place to plant. The tool was created by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Davey Institute. Customers who made reservations will receive a tree, sized between two and four-feet tall, within two or three weeks.

"We are grateful to the Arbor Day Foundation for their support," said Tim Burke, vice president of Customer Service and Public Affairs, "and we want to thank our customer-owners for taking part in this very worthwhile project."

"This program is a win-win," he added. "It gives OPPD the chance to educate the public about proper tree-planting practices, reducing the need for costly tree-trimming and removal down the road. And it gives customers the opportunity to cut back on their energy consumption for years to come."

Due to its success, OPPD is evaluating the program in hopes of expanding the program next year. In the meantime, customers can learn more about safe and strategic tree planting by visiting oppd.com/trees.

Customers are also invited to visit OPPD’s 26-acre arboretum at 108th & Blondo, open from dawn to dusk. There, they can learn more about more than 200 species of trees and shrubs, as well as planting with regards to power line safety.

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OPPD Board Holds Its March Monthly Meeting

March 21, 2013

The Board of Directors for the Omaha Public Power District took action on several important items during its regular monthly meeting held in March.

The board approved a resolution directing the District’s legal counsel, along with the Governance Committee, to evaluate and develop for review proposed revisions to the District’s charter for election to the board. Presently, the District’s 13-county service territory is divided into four subdivisions represented by eight board members. The subdivisions include the Metropolitan subdivision, the Suburban subdivision, the North rural subdivision and the South rural subdivision. The resolution proposes changing the number of election subdivisions from four to eight.

Board members said they are committed to equal representation throughout the District and plan to closely study the matter before any final actions are taken. The board scheduled further action on the matter at its April 11, 2013, meeting.

In other action, the board authorized management to sell eight small parcels of property located near the Missouri River, between Poppleton Avenue and Center Street, and to determine the market-based value of a portion of property near the District’s old Jones Street Station in order to facilitate the sale of that property.

The board also approved a compensation adjustment for Vice President Timothy J. Burke.

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Save Energy with Free Trees from OPPD

Online Tool Shows Best Location to Plant

March 15, 2013

Plant a tree now and shrink energy use in the future. That’s the goal behind Omaha Public Power District’s new Energy-Saving Trees program, a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. OPPD is giving away 2,000 trees this spring in its ongoing support of energy management.

Starting March 15, customers can visit www.oppd.com/freetree to reserve a tree on a first-come, first-serve basis. There, they can enter a home or business address, pulling up an aerial property view. An online tool will alert customers to overhead power line hazards, while allowing them to navigate the landscape to see how the placement of a tree would improve upon energy efficiency. It calculates the anticipated monthly savings now, in the near future, and in 20 years as the tree matures – by providing windbreaks during the winter and shade during the summer. The tool is not a replacement for the Digger’s Hotline. Customers are still urged to call the hotline at 1-800-331-5666 or 811 before planting.

"The Energy-Saving Trees program is really innovative in how it shows us a savings breakdown from a simple tree planting," said OPPD Vice President Tim Burke. "The benefits are broad-reaching. Homeowners reap rewards, plus these trees will help reduce the carbon footprint and storm water runoff, while improving air quality."

Customers will be able to reserve one tree through May 15, or as long as they last. The types of trees offered include Norway Spruce, Ohio Buckeye, Swamp White Oak and Eastern Redbud. The trees will be available for two months or as long as supplies last. After an order is placed, a tree measuring between two-feet and four-feet tall will be shipped to the customer at no charge.

The "Energy-Saving Trees" online tool was created by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Davey Institute, a division of Davey Tree Expert Co. It uses peer-reviewed scientific research from the USDA Forest Service’s i-Tree software to calculate estimated benefits from energy savings to environmental impacts.

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OPPD Warns Customers of Latest Phony Billing Scam

February 26, 2013

Scam artists are trying to bilk Omaha Public Power District customers out of money by falsely claiming to represent the District’s billing department. A number of customers have reported receiving fraudulent calls over the past few days.

The callers tell customers their payment is overdue and that in order to avoid having their power shut off, they must pay up. In some instances, they claim they need payment for installation of new equipment like meters. They demand money, a credit card number or other financial or personal information. Similar scams involving other utilities have been reported in various parts of the country.

In some recent local cases, scammers even used a phone number similar to the District’s Call Center number in an attempt to appear legitimate.

The thieves aren’t just trying to get money over the phone. A couple of intended victims report being instructed to take cash to Wal-Mart, Walgreens or CVS to make the payment. In the past, scammers have also asked customers to turn off home or business security systems, to “help the utility save energy,” falsely claiming it’s a good way for the customer to “reduce the energy bill.”

OPPD stresses that none of these individuals demanding cash payments or financial information work for the District. It also advises:

  • Residential or business customers should never give personal or financial information to a stranger during an unsolicited telephone call.
  • If such a person should appear unannounced at one’s door claiming to work for the utility, do not allow them entrance and always ask for identification or verification. OPPD employees always carry identification. Failure to produce identification should always be a tip-off to the customer that something is wrong.
  • They should also refuse to turn off their security systems simply because a stranger asks them to do so. Any customer who receives such a call is advised to call local law enforcement.

OPPD has notified the Omaha Police Department of the latest scam and is working with police to help protect our customers. Meanwhile, if a customer has a particular question about payment or their account, that customer is advised to always call OPPD, 402-536-4131 within Omaha or 1-877-536-4131 outside of Omaha, if they have any questions.

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OPPD Board Approves Next Step in New Offutt Stratcom Headquarters

February 14, 2013

The Board of Directors of the Omaha Public Power District cleared the way Thursday for the next phase in new utility work at Offutt Air Force Base.

Board members voted to approve a $1,358,510 contract with General Excavation for ductline installation for two substations at the base. General Excavation, of Lincoln, was the lowest of five bidders for the one-year project. Work is slated to begin April 1.

OPPD is in the early stages of a multi-year program to serve the new building substation and update other infrastructure. The new Stratcom facility is designed to meet military security and communications needs for the next 50 years.

OPPD also distributed its 2012 Sustainability Report, which notes the many steps the utility has taken to become a leader in this area, including its recent wind purchase. The purchase allowed OPPD to reach its self-imposed renewable energy goal. The full report can be accessed at oppd.com.

In other action:
… The board approved the sale of property at two substations located at 114th and Cornhusker Rd.
… Board members also voted to approve 2013 Standing Committee Assignments.
… The board approved compensation adjustments for Vice Presidents Jon Hansen and Sherrye Hutcherson.

OPPD is one of the largest customer-owned electric utilities in the United States, serving more than 352,000 customers in 13 counties in southeast Nebraska.

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OPPD Board Elects New Officers to lead in 2013

January 17, 2013

The Board of Directors of the Omaha Public Power District has selected a new slate of officers to lead the board in 2013. The board elected Fred J. Ulrich as its new chairman, Anne L. McGuire as vice chairman, Michael J. Cavanaugh as treasurer and John K. Green as board secretary. The elections were held during January’s regular monthly meeting.

Fred J. Ulrich, who represents the South Subdivision, was first appointed to the Board of Directors in February 1986 and was then elected to the board the following November. He previously served as Chairman of the Board in 1990, 1991, 2008 and 2009. He has also served previously as Vice Chairman, Board Secretary and Treasurer.

Mr. Ulrich is a farmer and cattle feeder based near Louisville, Nebraska. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He is a former member of the Cass County Planning and Zoning Commission. Mr. Ulrich has served on the Parish Council of the Church of the Holy Spirit and is on the boards of directors of the Producers Livestock Marketing Association and Producers Livestock Credit Corporation. He is a member of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, and he is the 4-H Leader for the Bridle and Saddle 4-H Club.

In 1982, Mr. Ulrich was honored as the Jaycee Farmer of the Year and received the Young Farmer Conservation Award from the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District and Lincoln Chamber of Commerce in 1983.

In 1995, the Fred and Diane Ulrich family was named the Farm Family of the Year at the Cass County King Korn Carnival. In 1999, the Plattsmouth Kiwanis named the Ulrich family the Farm Family of the Year.

Mr. Ulrich and his wife Diane have four children and eight grandchildren.

Anne L. McGuire was first elected to the Board in 1996 to represent customers in the Metropolitan Subdivision. Mrs. McGuire holds a bachelor's degree in nursing from Creighton University and a master's degree in nursing from St. Louis University, as well as a Business in Brief certificate from Creighton University. She is a former nurse educator, clinician and researcher. She is also an editor and co-author of two university textbooks.

Mrs. McGuire is President of the Creighton University Jaybackers, a member of the Board of Directors of GESU Housing, Inc., Children’s Physician Board of Directors and recipient of the Spirit of Creighton Award in 1973.

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.

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 & Green, LLP. Mr. Green is a member of the Omaha, Nebraska, and American Bar Associations and the Nebraska and American Trial Lawyers Associations.

In other action at its monthly meeting, the board held a public hearing to receive customer input on the District’s decision to purchase 200 megawatts of wind energy from the Prairie Breeze Wind project beginning in January 2014. Because the purchase is comparable in cost to other OPPD generation, there is no impact on OPPD rates. The hearing allows an application for the wind farm to be built by developers near Elgin, Nebraska, west of Norfolk to move forward before the Nebraska Power Review Board, which must still approve the project. Directors last month authorized management to enter into a long-term purchase agreement with Prairie Breeze Wind Energy, LCC for the additional generation.

The board also approved revisions to the Board of Directors Standing Committee Charters and approved a compensation adjustment for Vice President Mohamad I. Doghman.

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Southeast Nebraska Buildings Earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Certification

January 11, 2013

OPPD worked with owners of 21 buildings, including 12 Omaha Public School buildings, to help them earn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR certification in 2012. They had to meet strict energy-efficiency levels set by the EPA to earn that designation, putting them in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide.

OPPD offers products and services that can help customers achieve ENERGY STAR status because the outcome benefits everyone – the customer saves on energy bills, the utility demand goes down, and the customer-owners defer having to pay for additional generating units. The EPA introduced ENERGY STAR in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency.

In addition to the 12 OPS buildings, Millard Horizon High School, Ford Motor Credit, Blue Cross Blue Shield Centre, Crescent Electric, Kiewit Plaza, Edward Zorinsky Federal Building, two Lincoln Financial Group buildings, the State of Nebraska’s Omaha State office building and Target (72nd and Dodge), achieved the ENERGY STAR certification.

Commercial buildings that earn ENERGY STAR certification use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These buildings improved their performance by managing energy strategically and making cost-effective improvements.

For example, Ford Motor Credit improved its energy performance by managing energy strategically across the entire organization and by making cost-effective improvements to its building. By utilizing OPPD’s ECO 24/7 program and retrofitting its eight rooftop units with new energy-efficient Digi-RTU Optimizer technology (which is now incented through OPPD’s RTU Incentive Pilot Program and through the City of Omaha’s reEnergize Program), the building reduced its electricity usage by nearly 30 percent for the last three years. It’s also estimated that carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 744,800 pounds per year.

The EPA’s ENERGY STAR energy performance scale helps organizations assess how efficiently their buildings use energy relative to similar buildings nationwide. A building that scores a 75 or higher on the EPA’s 1-100 scale may be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification. Commercial buildings that can earn ENERGY STAR status include offices, bank branches, data centers, financial centers, retail stores, courthouses, hospitals, hotels, K-12 schools, medical offices, supermarkets, dormitories, houses of worship, and warehouses.

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