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News Releases : OPPD board approves selection of Tim McAreavey as VP of Customer Service

At their monthly meeting today, the Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors approved the selection of Tim McAreavey as Vice President – Customer Service.

McAreavey, OPPD’s current director of Supply Chain Management, will replace Juli Comstock, who retired in early February. McAreavey will begin his new role March 6. OPPD President & CEO Javier Fernandez chose him after a thorough review of internal and external candidates.

“Tim has the right balance of skills, experience and leadership qualities we need in the executive leadership team, and to continue the amazing work that Juli began to enhance and improve the customer experience,” said Fernandez.

McAreavey joined OPPD in 2016. Prior to that, he served as vice president of Business and Customer Service for Cabela’s, where he led hundreds of customer service employees through a transformational change in technology, expanded the business-to-business sales organization, and revitalized the company’s gift card program. Before joining the customer service organization there, his service at Cabela’s included roles in marketing, strategic planning and process improvement, and logistics.

McAreavey holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Regis University, with a concentration in marketing. He volunteers his time in leadership roles at his church and is serving on the board of directors for the Ollie Webb Center in Omaha.

OPPD Director of Customer Service Government Infrastructure Steve Fanslau has been serving as interim vice president during the leadership transition.

Pathways to Decarbonization

During its committee meetings this week, the board received an update on OPPD’s Pathways to Decarbonization strategic initiative. The initiative is composed of four separate work streams to help the utility meet its goal of net zero carbon by 2050: Energy Portfolio, Internal Operations, Customer, and Community. This latest presentation for the board focused on two of those work streams – Energy Portfolio and Customer.

The Energy Portfolio Project studied ways OPPD can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions within its generation in pursuit of the district’s net zero carbon goal found in Strategic Directive 7: Environmental Stewardship, while keeping power reliable, resilient, and affordable. In December, OPPD presented the final results of an in-depth modeling process to help inform future utility decisions. This modeling took into account customer and stakeholder feedback after several public workshops.

Energy Portfolio modeling found that OPPD can achieve net zero, while balancing affordability and reliability. To achieve decarbonization goals, OPPD would need a mix of renewable energy, energy storage, and community-wide energy efficiency and needs firm generation to support the system during critical periods and to maintain resource adequacy. Work continues now and into the future to fully understand the detailed impacts and challenges of pathways under consideration.

The Customer Project identified products for OPPD to help its customers reduce their personal carbon footprint. As part of this effort, a product evaluation framework has been enhanced to ensure alignment with decarbonization goals. OPPD reviewed technology and product priorities, for the next three to five years. An initial decarbonization product road map includes products to encourage energy efficiency, such as discounts, rebates and energy-saving tools and beneficial electrification.

OPPD also conducted market analysis and benchmarking both within and outside of the power industry. Customer habits, sentiment and wishes were among the areas measured to help determine ways the utility can involve the most customers in energy-efficiency and decarbonization efforts.

Next month, the board will receive updates on the other two work streams – Community and Internal Operations.

Integrated Resource Plan

This week, the board received an update on the stakeholder engagement process for OPPD’s current integrated resource plan (IRP), which serves as a road map for future generation and power purchases. The utility must submit an IRP to the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) every five years as part of a long-term contract to receive hydroelectric power.

OPPD presented its initial IRP draft Jan. 21 and held a virtual presentation for customers on Feb. 3. The public can find more information, ask questions, and provide input on the plan through Feb. 20 by visiting OPPDCommunityConnect.com/IRP.

Power with Purpose & Sarpy Southwest Transmission Project

Directors also received an update on Power with Purpose, the utility’s plan to add up to 600 megawatts of utility-scale solar generation and natural gas generation. The increased generation capacity will help maintain long-term reliability and resiliency of the system and positions OPPD to meet our net-zero carbon goal in 2050.

A presentation during Tuesday’s board committee meetings outlined the work currently underway on substation projects to support the natural gas generation station additions, Turtle Creek Station and Standing Bear Lake Station. The district is also working on rebuilding or upgrading 22 miles of transmission line and adding 16 miles of new transmission, including the Sarpy Southwest Transmission Project (SSWTP).

OPPD continues to engage stakeholders in the vicinity of SSWTP, and easement negotiations are underway. OPPD has completed a review of proposals for transmission construction, and a contract has been awarded to Brink Constructors. Construction is set to begin in March and is scheduled for completion in spring 2023.

Other action

In other action, directors: 

  • Approved the January 2022 meeting minutes and the Feb. 17 agenda.
  • Approved the engineer’s certification and authorization for OPPD management to negotiate and enter into a contract for procurement of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst modules for the Nebraska City Station Unit 2 SCR system. This is related to the utility’s ongoing and routine maintenance of the plant’s emissions control equipment.
  • Received the monthly President’s Report, available to view at OPPD.com/BoardMeeting

Next board meetings

The next Board of Directors committee meetings will be held virtually, via Webex audio/video conference, Tuesday, March 15, at approximately 10 a.m. Access the meeting link and instructions at OPPD.com/CommitteeAgenda, beginning at about 9:45 a.m., depending on the duration of a preceding, closed-session meeting, if needed. The meeting will be virtual, but in compliance with the Nebraska Open Meetings Act, we are also providing a physical location, Energy Plaza, 444 So. 16 St., Omaha, for any members of the public who wish to view the virtual meeting in person.

The next monthly board meeting will be held virtually Thursday, March 17, at 5 p.m., via Webex. Access the meeting link and instructions at OPPD.com/BoardAgenda, beginning at 4:45 p.m. This meeting will be virtual, but in compliance with the Open Meetings Act, we are also providing a physical location, the Legislative Chamber of the Omaha Civic Center, 1819 Farnam St., Omaha, for any members of the public who wish to view the virtual meeting in person.