Dawson PPD General Manager
There’s an old saying “Find a job you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.” So true, and I have. That attitude relates directly by hiring the right people for your team. Steve Jobs said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” I think Dawson PPD’s management team is second to none and we honor that very premise by valuing their input and expertise.
We exist to safely provide reliable, low-cost power using effective technology to meet our customers’ needs. Based on the following review of all that we accomplished in 2022, we are following our mission statement quite well.
Crews refurbished large power lines connecting to a substation. They completed work plan projects and managed to build new services for customers despite constraints on getting transformers. These three things improve reliability. The department also implemented a new outage management system which serves our customers better.
IT’s improvements make it easier for customers to conduct business online and improves our security. Engineering updated our Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition program, which saved $20,000 in annual maintenance fees. SCADA is used to monitor our entire distribution system for optimal stability and remote control. We are using more in-house talent to design our larger transmission systems to save money. A data sharing program was created with Twin Platte Natural Resources District to help track water usage using electric metering information.
We coordinated the first “utility line camp” for high school students and provided hands-on opportunities for exploring this career. We continue to provide education for customers interested in adding solar systems. A total of 13 new net metering accounts were added. We applied for and received a grant to purchase a Ford Mach-E electric vehicle to add to our fleet. We plan to promote electric vehicles through customer involvement. We assisted three local organizations in obtaining grant funding for projects.
Three new faces showed up in our accounting department. The new hires have excellent experience and will bring great value to the district. Technology allowed us to offer yet another payment option for customers by taking their bill to a local Dollar General or Family Dollar. We improved security for our phone system payment option.
The number of accidents and claims have been reduced from the previous years, reaching our lowest point to date. This tells us we are on the right path. An impactful employee safety meeting involved the simulation of impaired status when doing various tasks. This was put on by the Nebraska State Patrol. We were also educated about the dangers of fentanyl distribution. Safety Director Dean Kunkee was elected to serve as Nebraska Rural Electric Association’s Job Training and Safety Chairman.
Purchasing, Fleet & Facilities
It has been incredibly challenging to order materials and have them available when lead times are three months to two years out and pricing of is even more volatile than that. The key is to have “just enough on hand” without buying more than we need. We’ve managed to stay just ahead of most shortages by having good relationships with vendors and establishing long range plans.
Work on consolidation activities led to the vote in late October, which was affirmative. The positives outweighed the negatives, including the value it will bring to central Nebraska in its communities and through economic development. Everyone’s future just got brighter!
Department managers from both companies came together and created a new organizational chart. This will provide ample opportunities for shared services and growth. We have started discussions on integration of systems. Our public relationship group is working on a communication plan which will include a new logo.
I am beyond grateful, and blessed, that we have such extraordinary, dedicated employees. I guarantee that 2023 will have a lot happening! Stay tuned! Happy New Year!
The Dawson Public Power District Board of Directors voted in new officers at the January Board Meeting. The officers were sworn in and will begin their duties in February 2023.
Operations Coordinator Cheri Derrick retires from Dawson PPD.
A policy is in place for employees to verify the account owner(s) before disclosing information.