Minutes of the March 17, 2023 Meeting


Minutes of the 839th Meeting

March 17, 2023


The 839th meeting of the Nebraska Power Review Board (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 Hutchison, Ms. Gottschalk, Mr. Moen, and Ms. Peck.  Executive Director Texel stated that public notice for the meeting had been published in the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper on March 7, 2023.  The Board also made the meeting available to the public through Webex.  The Webex log-in information was available on the Board’s website and was published in the Lincoln Journal Star notice.  The agenda on the Board’s website provided links to the agenda items with associated documents the Board will consider, as well as a link to the Nebraska Open Meetings Act.  Executive Director Texel explained that if any member of the public watching the meeting on Webex wanted to speak, they could click on the “raise your hand” icon.  At that time they would be unmuted, they could announce who is speaking, provide an address, and disclose if they represent an organization.  Anyone wishing to comment on an item or ask a question could also type the comment or question in the “chat” function and the Board’s staff would read the question.  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 meeting notebook.  The executive director announced that a copy of the Nebraska Open Meetings Act was on display on the south wall of the room, and another copy was available in a black 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 file cabinet along the south wall near the back of the room, as well as extra copies of the agenda.


The Board first considered the draft minutes from its February 17, 2023, public meeting.  The minutes had been sent electronically to the Board members.  The staff did not have any recommended changes, and no one had contacted them with any requested changes.  Ms. Gottschalk moved to approve the draft minutes.  Mr. Moen seconded the motion. Voting on the motion:  Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Ms. Gottschalk – yes, Mr. Moen – yes and Ms. Peck – yes.  The motion carried 5-0.


The next agenda item was acceptance of the expense report for the month of February.  In February there was $25,491.92 in personal services, $3,283.42 in operating expenses, and $1,192.89 in travel expenses.  The total February expenses were $29,968.23.  It was explained at last month’s meeting that the operating expenses would be much less in February due to JK Energy having its January and February payments both posted in the month of January.  Next month’s report will return to normal for the amounts.  Sixty-seven percent of the fiscal year has gone by, and the PRB has used 62.8% of its cash fund.  Ms. Peck moved to accept the February expense report.  Vice Chairman Hutchison seconded the motion.  Voting on the motion:  Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Ms. Gottschalk – yes, Mr. Moen – yes and Ms. Peck – yes.  The motion carried 5-0.


The next item on the agenda was a briefing from the Municipal Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) on MEAN’s 2023 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that was finalized in January.  The Board has previously received IRP briefings from the Omaha Public Power District and the Lincoln Electric System.  The person to give the report was Brad Hans, MEAN’s director of wholesale operations.  Chris Dibbern, NMPP Energy general counsel, introduced Mr. Hans and gave an outline of his past work at MEAN.  Mr. Hans gave a power point summary of the IRP.   He noted that the full report was available on MEAN’s website.  Michelle Lepin, MEAN’s general counsel, was also present and helped answer several questions posed by the Board members.  The Board thanked Mr. Hans for his willingness to present the IRP information to the Board.


The next item on the agenda was to consider SAA 390-23-A.  This is a joint application to amend the retail service area agreement between the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) and Elkhorn Rural Public Power District.  The application was filed on February 28, 2023.  The amendment would change the boundary around the City of Norfolk.  The application would transfer a tract of territory on the northeast edge of NPPD’s retail service area around Norfolk.  Exhibit A shows where the tract is located.  A metes and bounds description of the territory to be transferred is in Exhibit B.  Norfolk annexed the territory in Ordinance 5795 on August 15, 2022.  The City has one year from annexation to request the area be amended into its retail service area.  NPPD holds the retail service area rights to the City and its immediate surrounding area.  Under longstanding precedent, a PPD or cooperative that holds the service area rights to a municipality operates as the municipal utility for purposes of service area amendments.  NPPD is therefore allowed to file a service area agreement amendment when the city it serves at retail annexes territory.  The Board deems the city in such situations to be an interested party and does not require the city to file a Petition for Intervention in the proceedings.  Elkhorn RPPD has one residential customer in the annexed area.  NPPD signed a conditional consent and waiver form.  This allows Elkhorn RPPD to continue to serve the customer.  However, NPPD reserves the right to take over service to the customer in the future if it decided to do so.  Before NPPD can take over the service, NPPD would pay Elkhorn RPPD for its distribution facilities used to serve the customer.  There are no other facilities or customers and no compensation required.  Ms. Gottschalk moved to approve SAA 390-23-A, and to approve the conditional Consent and Waiver allowing Elkhorn RPPD to continue serving one customer in the annexed area, which NPPD could take over if it compensated Elkhorn RPPD for its facilities.  Mr. Moen seconded the motion.  Voting on the motion:  Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Ms. Gottschalk – yes, Mr. Moen – yes and Ms. Peck – yes.  The motion carried 5-0.


The next item on the agenda was to consider SAA 363-23-A.  This is a joint application submitted by the City of Hickman and Norris Public Power District.  The application was received on February 22, 2023.  The City annexed land that is shown in Exhibit A-1.  Exhibit A-2 is a metes and bounds description of the annexed territory.  The eastern edge of the tract is 82nd Street and the southern edge is Hickman Road.  The amendment does include the right-of-way along the east side of 82nd Street.  Norris PPD agreed to the transfer of territory but included a stipulation in the agreement that permitted the District to continue to own, operate and maintain its lines that are located along the eastern and southern edge of the territory to be transferred.  Norris PPD would not serve any customers with the lines in the annexed territory.  Ms. Gottschalk moved to approve SAA 363-23-A, and to include the right for Norris Public Power District to continue to own, operate, and maintain its distribution lines within the annexed territory.  Vice Chairman Hutchison seconded the motion.  Voting on the motion:  Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Ms. Gottschalk – yes, Mr. Moen – yes and Ms. Peck – yes.  The motion carried 5-0.


At 11:07 a.m. Board Member Ms. Peck left the meeting to travel home for a previous commitment.


The next item on the agenda was the director’s report.  Vice Chairman Hutchison gave an update on the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) monthly activities.  The Board had a copy of JK Energy’s monthly report.  Vice Chairman Hutchison stated that he did not have much to provide for an update.   He did provide a couple comments about SPP.  There is a FERC filing concerning SPP’s planning reserve margin to which SPP has filed a response.  There was also discussion about the Cost Allocation Working Group and Regional State Committee working through the HITT M1 process.  This is the long-term congestion cost that the utilities have been working on.  This may be voted on at the April quarterly meeting.  The last item discussed was an order issued by FERC on Effective Load Carrying Capability (ELCC).  ELCC is an accreditation procedure for generation resources.  FERC agreed to reconsider its previously issued order on the issue.  The SPP has not provided a briefing yet on how the accreditation process will work.


The executive director gave an update on the appointee to replace Chairman Reida as the Board’s designated attorney member.  Governor Pillen had appointed David  Begley to replace Chairman Reida.  Mr. Begley subsequently withdrew his application.  There are two other attorneys that submitted applications to the Governor for the PRB position, so the Governor will need to choose one of them.  The Governor’s staff did not have a timeframe in which the appointee would be selected.  The executive director told the Governor’s staff it would be nice to have the appointment made in time to allow for the confirmation process prior to the end of the current legislative session.  Chairman Reida stated that he is willing to serve until his appointee is confirmed.


The executive director did not go through the entire list of legislative bills.  There has not been much change on most of the bills.  The legislative process is moving very slowly this session due to actions by one particular senator who is conducting a filibuster on all bills and appointments.  Several Board members noted the press had reported there may have been agreement among the senators that would allow the process to address other bills without filibusters.


The executive director mentioned that the Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO) had offered to give a presentation to the Board on the MRO’s 2023 Regional Risk Assessment.  The MRO gave a similar presentation to the Board several years ago.  The Board members said they would like to have the presentation.  They asked to have it at the May or June meeting if that worked for MRO.


Executive Director Texel reminded the Board that the next meetings are April 21, May 19, and June 9, 2023.  The June 9 date is not on the Board’s normal third Friday due to a scheduling conflict for the staff.


Vice Chairman Hutchison moved to adjourn the meeting.  Mr. Moen seconded the motion.  Voting on the motion:  Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison –yes, Ms. Gottschalk – yes, Mr. Moen – yes and Ms. Peck – absent.  The motion carried 4–0 with one absent.  The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.


Timothy J. Texel

Executive Director and General Counsel