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Dawson Public Power District’s board was updated on a plan for construction at their meeting on April 3, 2024.

The district is working with the Nebraska Department of Transportation on the Highway 83 upgrade, south of North Platte. Transmission and distribution power lines need to be re-located to accommodate additional traffic lanes. Dawson PPD hired Cross Canyon Engineering to design the project, based on NDOT’s plans. If the cost of construction, including contractor labor and material is projected to exceed $250,000, a sealed bid process is required by state law. Dawson PPD’s staff is concerned about the timing of power line construction, ensuring that the electrical grid is available at full capacity during irrigation season. The State of Nebraska is paying for the project.

General Manager Gwen Kautz provided an overview of plans to negotiate a new wholesale power contract with Nebraska Public Power District. Dawson PPD uses its membership in the Nebraska Generation & Transmission Cooperative for collective bargaining on the wholesale contract.  Although the current contract doesn’t expire until 2035, many changes have affected the electric industry and there is a strong demand for power in the future.

Also in April’s board meeting:

  • Dawson PPD’s February wholesale power bill was $2.3 million, which is about 10% under the budgeted cost.
  • Board members approved two resolutions of employee appreciation, recognizing both linemen and administrative professionals.
  • Engineering personnel demonstrated how supervisory control and data acquisition, known as SCADA, helps increase line worker safety.
  • The Dawson PPD Board Finance Committee is currently working to update financial standards, which will help steer conversations during a planned rate study later in 2024.
  • Dawson PPD Board Member Brad Brodine of Elm Creek attended an NPPD wholesale customer meeting. It discussed that there is a surplus of solar panels in China, according to U.S Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, which could potentially lower the cost of investment in the technology. The group also talked about the potential for carbon capture technology at coal fired power plants to help reduce environmental threats and meet more stringent federal standards.
  • Operations Manager Jeremy Kaiser noted that several construction projects are underway. It is anticipated that a budgeted transmission project located between Brady and Maxwell will be completed by the end of April.
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