April 20, 2023
Electricity is an integral part of the way we live today. Omaha Public Power District works diligently to make sure our customers have reliable service when they need it. The utility’s efforts are making a positive impact, according to an annual monitoring report shared with the OPPD Board of Directors this week.
Troy Via, OPPD’s COO and vice president of Utility Operations, presented the monitoring report for Strategic Directive (SD) 4: Reliability during Tuesday’s committee meetings.
The utility tracks power outage frequency, and OPPD earned high marks for minimizing the number of service disruptions our customers experience. The latest data puts us in the top quartile compared with similar-sized utilities. OPPD also ranks in the top quartile for outage duration. The utility has continued to reduce the amount of time customers are without power for the past five years, to half of what it was in 2018.
Via said steadily increasing tree-trimming budgets have made a big impact in reducing both outage frequency and duration. OPPD’s Forestry Department works with new neighborhood and business developments, as well as residential customers, providing education on planting the “right tree in the right place” in order to avoid interference with power lines. In addition, he said, underground cable replacements and “critter guards,” to help prevent animal interference, have helped.
“We continuously work diligently to maintain and improve electric service reliability for our customers,” said Via. “We know they depend on us.”
After reviewing and discussing the monitoring report for SD-4, the board accepted the report at this evening’s monthly board meeting. Acceptance means they found the utility to be sufficiently in compliance with the directive. They also accepted the annual monitoring report for SD-5: Customer Satisfaction, finding that OPPD is taking reasonable and appropriate measures to comply with the board policy.
Interim generation needs
During this week’s board committee meetings, utility leaders also shared information about near-term power generation needs within our service territory, which is experiencing unprecedented growth across all customer classes. OPPD must maintain enough accredited power generation to cover what’s needed within our service territory at peak usage, plus 15% more load to meet regulatory requirements. This not only maintains local reliability, but also reliability of the larger grid.
The district’s Power with Purpose project will provide critical accredited capacity and electricity to support reliability and resiliency and provide generation diversity for customers. This power is expected to meet the district’s immediate needs; however, more load growth is projected. OPPD identified the need for additional generation within our Pathways to Decarbonization study and as a part of ongoing resource planning work, guided by our regulatory obligation, mission and strategic directives.
OPPD is analyzing several resource options to power this growing load, and leaders told board members they are confident the utility can meet the challenge. Solutions must be feasible to engineer, procure, construct and interconnect to the regional electric system in the time frame needed to reliably service our customers. We will be sharing more about this work in the coming weeks and months.
In other action, directors:
- Approved the March 2023 meeting minutes and the April 20, 2023, agenda.
- Authorized OPPD management to create and authorize 2023 Series Electric System Revenue Bonds, dependent upon favorable market conditions and terms. The district will update the board on the status of authorized bonds quarterly, with the final pricing of a series of authorized bonds to be presented during a future board meeting, following the execution of the bond purchase agreement.
- Approved a revision to the 2023 Corporate Operating Plan’s decommissioning funding amount. The downward adjustment to $39.8 million reflects updated reimbursement to OPPD from the federal Department of Energy. It covers allowable costs of managing and storing spent nuclear fuel from the 2017 to 2021 time frame.
- Authorized OPPD management to negotiate and enter into a contract for reheater outlet header and associated tubing replacement materials for Nebraska City Station Unit 1.
- Approved a contract with Arcosa–Meyer Utility Structures, in the amount of $2,599,231, for galvanized steel transmission and substation structures to support load growth and reliability in the Bennington area.
- Authorized OPPD to negotiate and enter into a contract for a 161-13.8-13.8KV 40/53.3/67(75) MVA OLTC power transformer, which will support load growth in Washington County.
- Received the monthly President’s Report, available at OPPD.com/BoardMeeting.
Next board meetings
The next all-committees meeting will be held in-person Tuesday, May 16, at 10 a.m. at OPPD Energy Plaza, 9W, 444 S. 16 St., as well as virtually, via Webex. The meeting link will be available at OPPD.com/CommitteeAgenda, beginning about 9:45 a.m.
The next monthly board meeting is Thursday, May 18, at 5 p.m., both in-person at the Legislative Chamber of the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center, 1819 Farnam St., as well as virtually via Webex. The public can attend virtually by accessing the meeting link and instructions at OPPD.com/BoardAgenda, beginning at 4:45 p.m.