Between the lines: Local control

Dawson Public Power District General Manager Gwen Kautz.

Dawson Public Power District General Manager Gwen Kautz.

By Gwen Kautz, General Manager
gkautz at

Our board of directors are elected by you during the general election and serve in six-year term increments. The biggest benefit of having a board of directors run Dawson PPD is that control of the utility is local. Your directors are often your neighbors, your friends, belong to your church or are volunteers in your communities. They know your issues because those impact them, too.

Director Duties

Directors have four main duties for serving you:

  1. That DPPD serves you well; safely, reliably and economically.
  2. That DPPD remains a viable, productive utility that is positioned to serve customers well into the future.
  3. Directors safeguard the District’s financial position, so it allows us to acquire the best interest rates and operate using approved, sound and fair business practices.
  4. Directors are your eyes and ears on the regulatory environment that will impact your rates.

The First Years

Every new director battles learning the lingo in their first year. It isn’t just about electric distribution terminology, it also encompasses common and frequently used acronyms. I have a list of them that takes up six typed pages if anyone is interested.

The first few months, the director struggles with a fire hose approach to learning about the power district. Getting up to speed is not easy. Many of his/her fellow directors have been here for years and some for decades. At first, the new director is shy but eventually the questions start pouring out. The more experienced directors are happy to share information and shepherd them through various meetings that are key to running this business.

Along the way, they learn how electricity is distributed in the district as well as how we are connected to other power systems. They receive information on how outside regulations impact us and how a national transmission system operates. Eventually, they tackle the mechanics of Nebraska Public Power District’s wholesale billing. They start looking at how rates are created and assigned.

Board Certification

There are three levels of board certification that members are strongly encouraged to pursue. These certifications, taken in progressive order, require that a specific set of classes be taken by the director. Currently, eight of our 11 board members hold at least one level of certification.

Dawson PPD’s board meetings are held at 10:00 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month. Any of Dawson PPD’s customers are welcome to attend. As a not-for-profit political subdivision of the State of Nebraska, we adhere to the open meetings act.

Board Meetings

Board meetings last about four hours, sometimes longer depending on the agenda. But your director attends more than just our board meeting. There are meetings held by the Nebraska Rural Electric Association, NPPD, and the Nebraska Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Inc. every month. One or two directors try to attend each of these meetings, sharing the responsibility. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association holds two meetings a year that impact Dawson PPD. There are a handful of other organizations that are key to monitoring the legislative, financial and strategic elements of running Dawson PPD.

Passion and Dedication

If you haven’t personally met your director yet, I encourage you to attend one of our board meetings. You will see our directors’ passion and dedication to serving you. It comes across loud and clear every month.

P.S. – This year, while giving thanks for all you and your family have, say a small thanks for the director that represents you. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


November 2018

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