The merger of Dawson Public Power District and Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District will be reviewed at the Nebraska Power Review Board meeting in February. A hearing will be held on February 15, with the possibility for additional information and testimony on February 16. The PRB regular meeting will be held on February 17. Following, the PRB members will review the information and make a ruling.
Who will represent me on the board and will it be fair?
At this time, Dawson PPD has an eleven-person board of directors; Central has twelve directors. When we combine as Platte River PPID all 23 directors will complete their current elected term. As these terms expire, directors can run for Platte River PPID’s board. Others may run to fill these positions as well. Platte River PPID’s territory is divided into seven subdivisions. Each area will have two representatives on the board. By 2029, the merged board will have 14 members. Voters choose their representatives. As we merge, we become one entity; it will no longer be Dawson PPD or Central directors. We will be Platte River PPID.
Why do we need a merger and not just a purchase agreement?
As Platte River PPID, we will be able to adapt quickly to a changing environment. Dawson PPD could enter a contract to buy hydro-electric power from Central. However, a contract lacks the flexibility to meet changing needs over time. This means that the good deal we agreed to today, might not be a good deal in 15 years. The electric industry is changing quickly. By merging, Platte River PPID is working for a favorable outcome for all of the customers and stakeholders. We are looking beyond temporary agreements for power purchase or power sales. The merger is a long-term investment in the future of the Central Nebraska area and all Platte River PPID customers.
What about the difference in finances?
It’s true. Dawson PPD does have $54 million in bond debt. Bonds at good interest rates have helped us build infrastructure, providing more reliable and efficient power for customers. The repayment of these bonds is already part of Dawson PPD’s electric rates. They will be paid back over time and on schedule. Borrowing money helps us reach goals, much like a homebuyer uses a mortgage to pay for their home over time. By contrast, Central sets money aside for major capital investments. These different business models work together because Platte River PPID will keep the finances separate. The plan of consolidation has established five financial divisions, and each division should stand on its own without subsidization of the other divisions.
What about irrigators?
Central delivers water to 1,150 irrigation accounts. Dawson PPD delivers power to 5,600 electric meters serving irrigation systems. As the merged Platte River PPID, we represent and serve both types of irrigation customers – in addition to other customers. Will surface water irrigate fields or just generate power? The truth is that this isn’t an either/or situation. It will do both. Peak hydro generation and electrical usage occur at the same time that irrigation demand peaks. The water will keep flowing. Together, we can benefit all sides. That’s a win for Central Nebraska.
The proposal to merge into Platte River PPID started in November 2020. We believe Platte River PPID provides great opportunities to better serve the people in Central Nebraska. We believe that a united district is the best long-term decision for both Dawson PPD and Central customers and stakeholders.
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Let’s work together for a safer, more dependable power supply. If you see something that concerns you, please don’t hesitate to reach out by calling us at 308-324-2386. By keeping an eye out for hazards and reporting them, you become an essential part of our team, and your efforts help us serve you better.
Dawson PPD’s locally elected board of directors is charged with representing the interests of you and your neighbors, family and friends while upholding their responsibilities.