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News Releases : OPPD’s resource planning efforts ensure customers maintain excellent service well into the future

Omaha Public Power District is working hard to ensure continued delivery of affordable, reliable, and environmentally sensitive energy services for its customers in the short-term and long into the future.

This week, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Javier Fernandez outlined the utility’s resource planning efforts for the OPPD Board of Directors in his monitoring report for Strategic Directive (SD) 9: Resource Planning. The directive sets forth goals for OPPD in order to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment for electric utilities.

Fernandez highlighted the district’s Power with Purpose (PwP) project, among other efforts, which will add up to 600 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar generation and up to 600 MW of backup natural gas. The plan allows OPPD to retire its oldest coal-fired generating units at North Omaha Station and continue to integrate more renewables into the system. The PwP team created an innovative framework for extensive analysis in order for OPPD to optimize our objectives of affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services. The modeling process resulted in 70 million potential resource combinations.

“The outcome we expect will position OPPD to embrace decarbonization in the coming years,” Fernandez said.

During their monthly meeting, held today at the Douglas County Civic Center Legislative Chambers, the board accepted the SD-9 monitoring report. Acceptance means the board finds the utility to be sufficiently in compliance with the policy set forth.

Storm-related outage response

The board also received a recap of the utility’s efforts to restore power to 57,000 customers following a sudden and powerful windstorm Monday morning. The fast-moving and far-reaching storm, known as a derecho, was responsible for a million power outages across the Midwest.

In terms of outage numbers, it was the seventh-worst weather event on record for OPPD. Our crews worked diligently and safely. And within 24 hours, 88% of customers’ power was restored.

The final repairs were of a more tedious nature, with many individual repairs required to bring a single customer or small group of customers back online. Power was fully restored to these remaining customers by Wednesday evening.

Vice President of Energy Delivery Troy Via credited accelerated tree-trimming efforts over the past couple of years for preventing much worse damage to power lines and a greater number of power outages.

Other action

In other action, directors: 

  • Approved the June 2020 Comprehensive Financial and Operating Report, July 2020 meeting minutes, and the Aug. 13, 2020 agenda.
  • Rejected all proposals received for the purchase of a 345-161-13.8-kV 300/400/500 (560) MVA OLTC autotransformer. This type of transformer is the largest in OPPD’s system. Inspections show it is nearing the end of its useful and reliable life.

Proposals received did not adequately meet OPPD’s requirements for the transformer purchase. Therefore, the board authorized management to negotiate with vendors to come to an agreement that meets these requirements and to enter into a contract.

Following negotiations and the awarding of a contract, OPPD expects to receive the new transformer within the second half of 2021.

  • Awarded a service contract to Higher Power Electrical in the amount of $2,224,357 for construction work this fall. The work involves the installation of 10 miles of fiber optic ground wire on four existing transmission lines in order to support the Fiber Network Expansion project, the relocation of 1.4 miles of a 69-kV line for a Nebraska Department of Transportation roads project, and 17 345-kV condition-based structure replacements as identified through field inspections.

Construction is scheduled to begin this September and conclude in February.

  • Approved a resolution of appreciation for OPPD’s employees for diligently and steadfastly working toward OPPD’s mission to provide affordable, reliable, and environmentally sensitive energy services, as well for demonstrating the utility’s core values of having a passion to serve, honoring our community and caring about one another.

The resolution recognizes employees’ extraordinary commitment to customers in responding to this week’s storm-related power outages, maintaining generation during this summer’s above average heat, executing on the district’ s Power with Purpose plan, among other projects and initiatives, and engaging customers in new and innovative ways, all while showing resilience and flexibility in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Received the president’s monthly utility report. You can view this report by visiting com/boardmeeting.

Next meetings

Next month’s board committee meetings will start at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15. The monthly board meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 17, at 4 p.m. Please visit closer to meeting dates for information on how and where these meetings will be conducted due to the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.