Minutes of the September 16, 2022 Meeting


Minutes of the 833rd Meeting

September 16, 2022


The 833rd 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 Hutchison, Mr. Grennan, 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 September 6, 2022.  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 also includes 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 ask a question could also type the 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 table in the back of the room, as well as extra copies of the agenda.


Executive Director Texel announced the Governor appointed Kristen Gottschalk to replace Mr. Grennan.  Ms. Gottschalk will need to be confirmed by the Legislature prior to being seated.  Ms. Gottschalk is now retired, but worked for many years at the Nebraska Rural Electric Association.


The Board first considered the draft minutes from its July 15, 2022, public meeting.  The minutes were sent electronically to the Board members.  The staff did not have any recommended changes.  Vice Chairman Hutchison moved to approve the draft minutes.  Mr. Grennan seconded the motion.  Voting on the motion:  Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Moen – yes and Ms. Peck – yes.  The motion carried 5-0.


The next agenda item was acceptance of the expense reports for the months of July and August.  In July there was $25,414.81 in personal services, $35,058.79 in operating expenses, and $1,455.75 in travel expenses.  The total July expenses were $61,929.35.  In August there was $27,064.43 in personal services, $2,298.36 in operating expenses, and $576.77 in travel expenses.  The total August expenses were $29,939.56.  July 1 is the start of the State’s fiscal year.  After two months 16.6 percent of the fiscal year has gone by and the PRB has used 18.08% of its cash fund, which puts the expenditures at a little more than one percent over.  Vice Chairman Hutchison moved to accept both the July and August expense reports.  Ms. Peck seconded the motion.  Voting on the motion:  Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Moen – yes and Ms. Peck – yes.  The motion carried 5-0.


The next item on the agenda was a presentation of the 2022 Annual Load and Capability Report.  The executive director stated that many years ago the Board designated the NPA as the representative organization to prepare this report, pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 70-1024.  Jason Fortik, Vice President for Power Supply for the Lincoln Electric System, as Chair of the Nebraska Power Association’s (NPA) Joint Planning Subcommittee, gave the presentation on the report.  The report covers the utility load forecast and generation resources available and needed to satisfy the forecasted loads in Nebraska over the next 20-year period on a statewide basis.  The report includes information concerning generation units that are planned, committed, and studied in order to meet the State’s projected load growth.  Overall, Nebraska currently has excess generation capacity.  The average peak demand growth rate for the State is projected to be .4% per year.  This is down from the previous year of .7%.  The report projects the state has sufficient generation capacity to meet the state’s minimum obligation beyond the year 2041.  The Board thanked Mr. Fortik for the presentation and the discussion.  Vice Chairman Hutchison moved to accept the 2022 Load and Capability Report.  Mr. Moen seconded the motion.  Voting on the motion:  Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Moen –yes, and Ms. Peck – yes.  The motion carried 5 – 0.


The next item on the agenda was approval of PRB Guidance Document #15.  This new guidance document pertains to applications for microwave communication facilities filed by power districts under Nebraska Revised Statute section 70-1021.  The statute requires the PRB to give notice of the application to the regulated telecommunication carriers operating in the area.  The statute states that regulated telecommunication carriers “shall have ten days to file specific written protests to such application.”  The PRB has for many years calculated the ten-days from the date the notice was sent out by the PRB.  In a recent application, the carrier filed the notice on the 11-day from the mailing date.  After a jurisdictional hearing, the PRB issued a decision that the language means telecommunication carriers have 10-days from the date when the carrier receives the notice, not from the date of mailing.  The office staff will use either the signature and date on the green certified mailing card or the tracking number issued by USPS to calculate the ten-days for filing with the PRB.  Ms. Peck made a motion to approve Guidance Document 15 and recommended the approval date on the draft document be changed to the September meeting date.  Vice Chairman Hutchison seconded the motion.  Voting on the motion:  Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Moen –yes, and Ms. Peck – yes.  The motion carried 5 – 0.


The first item on the executive director’s report was an update on Southwest Power Pool activities.  The Board had a copy of JK Energy’s update in its notebook, and had received the update electronically prior to the meeting.  Vice Chairman Hutchison stated that the last meeting held was in July.  He stressed the difficulty of the Regional State Committee (RSC) not having in-person meetings and voting on substantive items.  One item the RSC discussed and voted on was performance-based accreditation.  The new accreditation method will be phased in over four years.  The RSC also addressed a change to the planning reserve margin (PRM).  The PRM is currently 12%.  The RSC approved a change to increase the PRM to 15%.  The new PRM will be fully implemented in summer 2023.  There was also discussion at the RSC about creating a mitigation plan that would provide a waiver for utilities that cannot meet the increase in PRM in only two years.  The criteria for the waiver is being considered by the SPP staff.  There is no RSC educational session this month but there will be one in early October.  The Board then discussed concerns over coal supplies caused by difficulties with rail deliveries.  This started a discussion about how the market and the cost of supplies can affect how the utilities bid energy into the market, making it is less likely to for coal facilities to be called upon if they have a low supply of coal to use for generation.


Executive Director Texel stated that the NPRB’s comments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) in docket RM21-17-000 were filed on August 16.  The comments were shared prior to submittal with Mr. Krajewski.  There were several comments and edits made.


The Biennial Report required by Neb. Rev. Stat. section 70-1003(5) has been finished and sent to the print shop.  Ms. Birkett prepares the draft report and then it is edited by Executive Director Texel before the final is sent to print.


The Biennial Budget for the years 2023-2025 was due on September 15.  Ms. Hallgren (the Board’s business manager) starts preparing the narratives and numbers for the budget once the system allows the agencies to begin.  After Ms. Hallgren inputs the numbers for the categories then Ms. Hallgren and Executive Director Texel review the budget information and write the narratives prior to submitting.  The current appropriation is $720,662.  The requested appropriation for 2023-2024 is $722,158.  The following year, 2024-2025, the request is $736,179.  The requests would increase the Board’s budget .21% and 2%, respectively.


Executive Director Texel wanted to update the Board about LR 355.  This was a Legislative Resolution submitted by Senators Bostelman, Brewer and Wayne during the 2022 Legislative session that dealt with studying issues related to generation and transmission, decommissioning of generation assets, and the PRB’s statutes.  In a recent conversation the executive director had with Senator Bostelman, the senator indicated that at this point the Natural Resource Committee is no longer planning to hold a hearing on LR 355.


Executive Director Texel then gave an update on the PRB-Electric Industry Workshop.  The group decided that it should issue a “whitepaper” or summary of what was discussed and decided during the workshop.  Shelley Sahling created a first draft of the document.  Executive Director Texel will review the document and make edits.  Once the draft is reviewed by the two PRB members that are part of the group (Vice Chairman Hutchison and Mr. Grennan), it will be sent out to the entire group for recommended edits.  Joe Lang, with OPPD, prepared an outline of topics concerning resource adequacy that was discussed at the workshop.  Mr. Lang and Mr. Texel are scheduled to meet next week to discuss what information from the outline should be included in the annual load and capability report.


Executive Director Texel reminded the Board that the next meetings are October 21, November 18, and December 16, 2022. 


The next item was the executive director’s annual performance evaluation.  This is placed on the agenda in the month of August because that was the month in which Executive Director Texel was originally hired.  Chairman Reida has an original form to complete, and the meeting notebooks have a copy of the form.  For quite a few years it has been the Board’s practice to delegate preparation the performance evaluation to the Board chair.  Chairman Reida said if any Board members have any input to please provide it to him.  All Board members agreed that the chairman should complete the form and any board members wishing to provide input could do so prior to the next Board meeting.  Chairman Reida will then complete the evaluation and review it with the executive director.


Mr. Grennan moved to adjourn the meeting.  Vice Chairman Hutchison seconded the motion.  Voting on the motion:  Chairman Reida – yes, Vice Chairman Hutchison –yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Moen – yes and Ms. Peck – yes.  The motion carried 5 –0.  The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 p.m.


Timothy J. Texel

Executive Director and General Counsel