NEBRASKA POWER REVIEW BOARD
July 26, 2019
The 803rd meeting of the Nebraska Power Review Board (“the Board” or “PRB”) was held in the First Floor hearing room, Nebraska State Office Building, 301 Centennial Mall, Lincoln, Nebraska. The roll was called and present were Chairman Reida, Vice Chairman Morehouse, Mr. Grennan, Mr. Hutchison, and Mr. Moen. Executive Director Texel stated that public notice for the meeting had been published in the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper on July 16, 2019. All background materials for the agenda items to be acted on were provided to all Board members prior to the meeting and a copy of the materials was in each Board member’s notebook. The executive director announced that a copy of the Nebraska Open Meetings Act was on display on the south wall of the room for the public to review, and another copy was available in a three-ring binder on the table at the back of the room. A copy of all materials that the Board would consider was available for public inspection on a table in the back of the room, as well as extra copies of the agenda.
The Board first considered the draft minutes from its May 31, 2019, meeting. The staff did not have any recommended changes. Vice Chairman Morehouse moved to approve the minutes from the May 31, 2019 meeting. Mr. Grennan seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Morehouse – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Hutchison – yes, and Mr. Moen – yes. The motion carried 5– 0.
The next agenda item was acceptance of the expense reports for the months of May and June. In May, there were $23,516.30 in personal services, $15,864.46 in operating expenses, and ($883.28) in travel expenses. The total expenses for May were $38,497.48. In June, there were $2,558.20 in personal services, $16,824.24 in operating expenses, and $2,106.08 in travel expenses. The total expenses for June were $41,488.08. The May travel expenses show a surplus due to receipt of reimbursement checks from the Southwest Power Pool for Mr. Grennan’s travel. There were no travel-related expenses in May. There was a question related to the basis for the $888 in the IT consulting category on the budget status form. The $888 was related to the maintenance and update costs for the Board’s website. Vice Chairman Morehouse asked if the State calculates each employee’s benefits that are received in addition to the employee’s wages, such as the amount the State pays for the employee’s health insurance. Executive Director Texel stated that the amount paid by the State for things such as health insurance are shown on each employee’s pay stub. Vice Chairman Morehouse thought it would be useful if employees could see how much they receive in total benefits at the end of each year. The executive director said individual payments during each month are shown, but there is no end-of-year total benefits package description. Executive Director Texel told the Board that at the end of the 2019 fiscal year the budget showed an excess amount of $162,208.27. This includes a reserve fund of $135,000, in addition to a remaining $27,208 in operating funds. These excess amounts will continue to be reduced until only the reserve fund is what will be left at the end of the fiscal year. Mr. Grennan moved to accept the May and June expense reports. Vice Chairman Morehouse seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Morehouse – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Hutchison – yes, and Mr. Moen – yes. The motion carried 5– 0.
The next item on the agenda was to consider SAA 243-19-A. This is a joint amendment between the City of Lexington and Dawson Public Power District to amend retail service area agreement 243. The application was received on July 8, 2019. The amendment involves the transfer of two tracts of territory that the city had annexed. One tract of territory was identified as the “Lexington Industrial Addition” and was annexed in May of 2002. Even though the annexation was accomplished much more than one year ago, Dawson PPD agreed to allow the territory to be transferred to Lexington. There is one irrigation well located in the tract, but Lexington had already been serving the well. Thus, no customer or load would actually be transferred as a result of that transfer. The second tract of territory was identified as the “Heartland Military Museum Addition” and was annexed in May of 2019. The museum was served by Dawson PPD, but Lexington had paid for the distribution line that serves the museum. Dawson PPD agreed to transfer the museum to the City without any compensation. Both tracts of territory are identified on Exhibit A-1 with green cross-hatching. The annexation documents are also included as exhibits. Vice Chairman Morehouse moved to approve SAA 243-19-A. Mr. Grennan seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Morehouse – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Hutchison – yes, and Mr. Moen – yes. The motion carried 5– 0.
The next item on the agenda was to consider whether the Board will reimburse expenses associated with the executive director and the Board’s attorney member to attend the APPA Legal and Regulatory Conference. This item already has standing approval in Board policies 4 and 6. However, State Accounting does not always like the standing approval, so having the Board vote will assist the Board’s business manager when processing the expenses. The conference this year will be in Portland, Oregon on October 20-23. The registration fee for APPA members is $775. The PRB is an associate member. The group rate for the hotel is $229 a night. Mr. Hutchison moved to approve the travel expenses for both the executive director and the attorney member to attend the conference. Mr. Moen seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Morehouse – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Hutchison – yes, and Mr. Moen –yes. The motion carried 5– 0.
The next item on the agenda was the executive director’s report. The first item was the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) update. Mr. Grennan described the final HITT team proposal that would be presented to the Southwest Power Pool’s Regional State Committee next week.
Executive Director Texel then briefed the Board on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 841. The order requires Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators to develop and implement new rules to allow electric storage resources to participate in their wholesale markets. The order does not address distributed energy resources. A lawsuit has already been filed by the American Public Power Association , the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and American Municipal Power, Inc.
Executive Director Texel discussed the possibility of finding someone to submit an application to be the new accountant member of the board to replace Vice Chairman Morehouse. He said he had raised the issue at the Nebraska Power Association’s Board of Directors meeting and said to his knowledge there were still no applicant for the position. Pat Pope, Nebraska Public Power District CEO, said he would ask the president of the State Chamber if there might be someone the chamber could find that would be willing to serve on the board as the accountant member. Executive Director Texel spoke with chamber president. The chamber president did have someone he thought might be qualified and willing. He agreed to contact the person and put them in touch with the executive director. The candidate even lives in the third district.
The next meetings are scheduled for August 23, September 27 and October 25, 2019.
The board then considered whether to give the executive director and general counsel a pay raise similar to the one other State employees received on July 1, 2019. All eligible rules-covered State employees received a 2.3% raise effective July 1. To be eligible an employee had to have at least a “satisfactory” rating on their last performance review. All employees covered by the bargaining unit received a guaranteed 2% raise, and if their performance review was at least satisfactory, they received an additional .3%. The agency’s budget was allocated 2.3% for each employee as part of the budget process. Whether agency heads receive a raise, and the amount of the raise, is up to the governing body for each non-code agency. Executive Director Texel told the board Ms. Hallgren, the board’s business manager, recommended making July 22 the effective date for any raise. That is the start of the current pay period. This makes calculation of the pay and benefits for the period considerably easier, and is not considered retroactive if within the current pay period. Mr. Grennan moved to approve a 2.3% raise for the executive director and general counsel, effective July 22, 2019. Mr. Hutchison seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Morehouse – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Hutchison – yes, and Mr. Moen –yes. The motion carried 5– 0.
Mr. Hutchison moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Grennan seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Morehouse – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Hutchison – yes, and Mr. Moen – yes. The motion carried 5 – 0. The meeting was adjourned at 11:06 a.m.
Timothy J. Texel
Executive Director and General Counsel