Minutes of the Regular Meeting NRPPD Board of Directors, Unapproved, August 28, 2014

The regular meeting of Directors of Northwest Rural Public Power District (NRPPD) was held in the Conference Room of the District August 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM.

The meeting was called to order by the president, Robert Rickenbach.  Directors who answered the roll call were Wayne Cobb, Robert Rickenbach, Bruce Troester, Gary Fuchser, Lee Ahrens, Mike Van Buskirk and Jim Johnson.

Also present were Chance Briscoe, manager; Arlene Lahaye, office manager; Russ Reichenberg, line superintendent; Ron Housh, planning engineer; Les Tlustos, consumer services, and Terry Curtiss, District Counsel.

The Open Meeting Law posting was acknowledged. 

All votes are unanimous upon a roll call vote unless noted.

A motion was made by Wayne Cobb, duly seconded by Mike Van Buskirk to accept the order of business as published and supplemented at this meeting; motion carried.

A motion was made by Gary Fuchser, duly seconded Mike Van Buskirk, that the minutes of the meetings held July 24th and August 11th be approved as published and mailed to all directors on August 22nd; motion carried.

Chance Briscoe re-addressed the Nebraska Water Balance Alliance (NWBA) issue that had been tabled. Chance stated that NWBA may be researching the same water issues as other organizations, but may be taking a different approach and partnering with different groups. A discussion followed and the consensus of the Board was to have a web conference scheduled with a NWBA representative to discuss their program in more detail. 

Arlene Lahaye reviewed the June financial reports and reviewed graphs on kWh purchased and sold along with cash flow graphs. Chance reviewed the proposed financial reports with the Board. A discussion followed with a motion being made by Mike Van Buskirk, duly seconded by Wayne Cobb to accept the July financial reports and the proposed changes to the financial reports; motion carried.

Chance Briscoe informed the Board that he is having discussions with CFC to refinance NRPPD’s existing debt.

Chance Briscoe informed the Board that NRPPD’s AMI is approximately 70% deployed and intends to be totally deployed by the end of the year.

Les Tlustos gave a presentation on Tri-State’s rebate programs. Les reviewed the rebate programs that NRPPD currently offers and other rebates that are available through Tri-State, as listed.  

• Split system air conditioners - Energy Star rated

• Commercial lighting replacement

• Commercial lighting LED new construction

• LED lighting retrofit for refrigerated case doors

• Street, parking lot and security lighting

• Energy Star LED light bulbs (lamps)

• Refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dishwashers - Energy Star rated

• Variable speed drive (VSD) retrofit

• Low income weatherization

A discussion was held to make the above listed rebates available through Tri-State. Chance asked the

Board to add, at this time, all the Tri-State proposed rebates except the weatherization rebate program which is the only program that NRPPD would be required to add funds. A motion was made by Mike Van Buskirk, duly seconded by Gary Fuchser, to offer the proposed rebates with the exception of the weatherization program; motion carried.

Chance addressed that Board on implementing Smart Hub through National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC). A few of the functions of Smart Hub would be the availability for customers to log into their account, look at their usage patterns, view and make payments on line. Chance discussed the fees associated with processing credit card payments and the costs of the mailing the traditional bills versus a paperless bill process. A motion was made by Bruce Troester, duly seconded by Jim Johnson to authorize the implementation of the Smart Hub application with NISC; motion carried.    

Russ Reichenberg reviewed the July safety report.  Russ discussed the property damage and training that occurred during the month. The damage caused by NRPPD personnel was discussed along with the training that occurred during the month. A motion was made by Jim Johnson, duly seconded by Wayne Cobb to accept the July safety report; motion carried.

Ron Housh gave the Board an update on the AMI project. The Hay Springs Sub should have all the AMI equipment installed and live by next week and there are still 180 meters on the Hay Springs Sub that needs to be changed to the AMI meter, plus all the stock well meters on the project still need to be changed out.

Chance Briscoe informed the Board of the customer not wanting an AMI meter installed at their service and caged the meter. Chance sent them a letter and the customer replied and asked to have the service removed since he and his family suffer from a sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation which they believe would be increased from the new meter. Chance also stated that a customer came into the office and stated that she was experiencing health issues since we changed her meter. Chance informed the Board that NRPPD will remove the one service per the customer’s request and NRPPD will contact the other customer and measure for further tests.   

Les Tlustos informed the Board that NRPPD sponsored three kids to the NREA Energy Youth Camp held at the Haley Camp. From the kids that attend camp NRPPD sponsors one on the Washington DC Youth Tour.

Rolland Skinner joined the meeting at 2:30 PM. 

Chance Briscoe reported on the past month’s activities. Chance attended the Tri-State Board Meeting and the Tri-State Managers’ Meeting. At the August Tri-State meeting there was further discussion on the potential debt refinancing of Tri-State’s debt and terms for settlement talks with the New Mexico systems. The Tri-State Board did approve to proceed with buying out of RUS and refinance approximately $1.8 billion in the bond market. The Board also approved the Terms Sheet to continue negotiations with New Mexico systems. Other discussions included an extensive review of the EPA proposal for carbon emissions reductions; and update on products and services; and an update on the “Power” campaign. The Board gave approval for the Chairman to create two committees, a Rate Committee and a Contract Committee. Chance stated that he was selected to be on the Contract Committee. Ryan Reiber from Panhandle Electric was selected to be on the Rate Committee.

Chance informed the Board that there is a push form the Nebraska systems to join the Nebraska State Chamber. The Nebraska Statewide is a member and approximately 8 other systems are members as well. The State Chamber has many of the same stances on issues as the Rural Electric systems and it would be a cooperative effort on issues that affect the Rural Electric community. It is the consensus of the Board for NRPPD to join the Nebraska State Chamber.

Chance reviewed a Statement of Assumptions for a 10 year Financial Forecast including financial rations, internal operating costs, loan requirements, load forecast, and power coasts. A discussion followed.

Robert Rickenbach reported on the NREA meeting that he attended. NREA had a film on their “Working for Nebraska” campaign. Chance Briscoe was appointed to the Policy and resolution Committee.

Chance reported that an evaluation was done on the NREA manager, with positive comments, and for 2015 budgeting purposes NREA will have a 3.09% payroll increase. 

Terry Curtiss stated that the Supreme Court over-ruled the District Court decision on the NADC ruling. Terry has filed a petition for a re-hearing with the Supreme Court, but feels that it will be sent back to the District Court for re-hearing.

At 3:37 PM a motion was made by Wayne Cobb, duly seconded by Gary Fuchser to go into an executive session to discuss the NADC issue.  Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, abstain; Bruce Troester, aye; Wayne Cobb, aye; Robert Rickenbach, aye; Gary Fuchser, aye; Jim Johnson, aye; motion carried.

Mike Van Buskirk, Ron Housh, Russ Reichenberg and Arlene Lahaye left the meeting at 3:38 PM.

At 4:30 PM a motion was made by Jim Johnson, duly seconded by Gary Fuchser to come out of executive session; Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, absent; Bruce Troester, aye; Wayne Cobb, aye; Robert Rickenbach, aye; Gary Fuchser, aye; Jim Johnson, aye; motion carried.  

There being no further business to come before the Board, the president declared the meeting adjourned at 3:40PM. 

Approved: President

Signed: Secretary

Published: September 24, 2014