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News Releases : OPPD gets high marks for reliable power

Omaha Public Power District works continually to help ensure electric service reliability for its customers. During their committee meetings this week, the OPPD Board of Directors received a status update on those efforts, as the monitoring report for Strategic Directive (SD) 4: Reliability was presented.

OPPD diligently plans in order to meet all customer energy requirements at all times. This is accomplished through the utility’s own generation resources, as well as through purchased power agreements.

The district uses generation reliability benchmarks provided by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the Generating Availability Data System (GADS). OPPD has a number of proactive strategies and programs, including inspections and capital projects, to help ensure reliable generation for its customer-owners.

The district measures its level of grid reliability through the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) metric. This is a nationally recognized metric used by utilities all over the United States. A SAIDI of 90 minutes is considered top quartile performance for similar-sized utilities and equates to 99.98% availability. 

OPPD achieved top quartile performance for 2019 with a SAIDI of 88.6 minutes.

The top outage causes for 2019 were: equipment failures (27%), tree-related issues (24%), cable failures (17%), and weather events (14%).

Last year, OPPD enhanced its vegetation management program, which helped lower the number of tree-related outages. Other programs that the utility augmented include; underground cable replacements, upgrades to the downtown energy network, inspection and replacement of wood poles, as well as programs to address pocketed areas experiencing more frequent disruption.

Directors discussed the monitoring report, and they accepted it during today’s monthly board meeting. Acceptance means they find OPPD to be sufficiently in compliance with the policy.

Today, the board also accepted the monitoring report for SD-1: Strategic Foundation. This directive relates to OPPD’s efforts with regards to its mission: to provide affordable, reliable, environmentally sensitive energy services to its customer-owners, and its vision of “leading the way we power the future.”

Throughout 2019-2020, the board reviewed and accepted monitoring reports on all 15 strategic direction policies.

Power with Purpose

During its committee meetings this week, the board received an update on OPPD’s Power with Purpose plan, approved in November. The plan includes the addition of between 400 and 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar, as well as the addition of modernized natural gas backup generation assets. Solar generation bids were received on Jan. 29 and are currently being evaluated.

Progress also continues regarding to the natural gas portion of the Power with Purpose plan. OPPD has completed vendor technology workshops for reciprocating engines and simple cycle combustion turbines. The utility is pursuing acquisition of a natural gas owner’s engineer partner to supplement OPPD resources and provide technical expertise for the project. OPPD will continue to evaluate infrastructure expansion needs for potential gas generation sites.

Next month, the Power with Purpose team will conduct a more detailed technical and financial review of the sites with highest potential. The district remains committed to providing updates to our customers and other stakeholders through various channels as the Power with Purpose plan moves forward.

Other action

In other actions, directors:

  • Approved the January 2020 meeting minutes, and the Feb. 13, 2020 agenda.
  • Authorized the use of eminent domain as needed to acquire permanent easements for utility crossings that traverse railroad property on OPPD projects during 2020. The district acquires utility rights for several locations on an annual basis. Eminent domain would only be used after all reasonable efforts have been made to acquire rights voluntarily.
  • Awarded a contract to Nielsen Construction in the amount of $1,569,804.91 for construction services for the installation of distribution system components in new underground residential developments. The project includes primary backbone cable, secondary pedestals, street lights, and other associated equipment. The contract is for an initial three-year term, with the option to renew for up to three additional one-year terms. Construction is scheduled to begin March 1.
  • Awarded a contract to WEG Transformers USA in the amount of $645,700 for the initial purchase of one spare 69 13.8-kV transformer to supplement OPPD’s existing transformer fleet. The initial contract is for a one-year purchase term. However, it provides the option to renew for up to four additional one-year terms, for the potential procurement of additional spare transformers to support load growth and replacement projects.
  • Approved standing committee assignments. Committees focus attention on certain topics with major significance to OPPD’s business. The assignments for 2020 follow.

Governance Committee
Anne McGuire (chair)
Craig Moody
Rick Yoder
Amanda Bogner

Finance Committee
Amanda Bogner (chair)
Craig Moody
Janece Mollhoff
Eric Williams

Public Information Committee
Rick Yoder (chair)
Mike Cavanaugh
Tim Gay
Anne McGuire

System Management & Nuclear Oversight Committee
Janece Mollhoff (chair)
Mike Cavanaugh
Tim Gay
Eric Williams

  • Received the president’s monthly utility report. You can view this report after it is posted by visiting oppd.com/boardmeeting.

Next meetings

Next month’s board committee meetings will start at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 10. The monthly board meeting will be Thursday, March 12, at 4 p.m. Both meetings will take place at OPPD’s Energy Plaza, 444 S. 16th St., Omaha. The meetings are livestreamed at oppd.com as part of the district’s commitment to transparency, while making public meetings accessible and convenient for our customer-owners.