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Dawson Public Power District’s board of directors voted to approve the 2024 budget at their meeting on November 1. The district is planning for $61 million in expenses, which is about a million dollars less than the projected costs for 2023.

Dan Muhlbach, Dawson PPD Board of Directors President

Dan Muhlbach, Dawson PPD Board of Directors President

The directors discussed how to pay for planned capital projects. These are permanent additions and upgrades to the district’s power lines and substations. There is an option to use the district’s current cash reserves or to bond for the improvements, which would finance projects over the course of several years.

“We’ve used bonding in the past because it spreads the cost of improvements to more of the customer base who will use the substations and power lines. If you have a 20-year bond, the payments are distributed between today’s ratepayers and any new customers who will benefit from the project throughout the 20-year period,” explains board president Dan Muhlbach of Kearney. “We’re fortunate to have the option to choose either bonding or using cash for these projects. It is a testament to the stability of the district.”

Dawson PPD will begin the 2024 construction projects and the board will decide about potential bonding in the future. Bond rates can vary, which could make financing more or less favorable.

Some 2024 capital projects are carryover items from 2023. Major manufacturer delays have extended projects.

Other topics included:

  • During the 2023 irrigation season, Nebraska Public Power District signaled Dawson PPD load management control for 99 hours. This is fewer hours than the 2022 season. Irrigation energy sales for 2023 were comparable to kilowatt hours sold in 2021 and 2016.
  • In September, the district added $956,000 to the value of capital assets. So far in 2023, a total of $6.57 million has been added to plant. The 2023 improvements have been paid for using margins and cash reserves.
  • The annual inventory of materials is underway. Items were counted in October. A full report of the inventory will be provided to the board in December.
  • The district is anticipating final information about a Nebraska Department of Transportation project on Highway 83, south of North Platte. Power lines will need to be moved to accommodate the changes.
  • General Manager Gwen Kautz reported that a recent NPPD customer meeting included information about the increased interest in economic development projects and technologies that could be used for future power generation.
  • Director Joe Jeffrey attended the Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference. Jeffrey summarized a presentation about recycling wind turbine blades.
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