Minutes of Regular Meeting NRPPD Board of Directors, August 30, 2016, Unapproved

The regular meeting of Directors of Northwest Rural Public Power District (NRPPD) was held in the Conference Room of the District August 30, 2016 at 1:00 PM.

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

Also present were Chance Briscoe, manager; Arlene Lahaye, office manager; Ron Olson, operations manager; Russ Reichenberg, line superintendent; Les Tlustos, consumer services; Terry Curtiss, District Counsel; LJ Prosser, employee, and Marjean Terrell.

The Open Meeting Law posting was acknowledged. 

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

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

During the Public Comments portion of the meeting, Marjean Terrell addressed the Board regarding the agenda item to discuss the office hours and the recent survey of customers. She supported keeping the office hours as they are and not closing the office on Fridays.

 A motion was made by Wayne Cobb, duly seconded by Mike Van Buskirk, that the minutes of the meeting held July 28th be approved as published and provided to all directors on August 23rd; motion carried.

The Board reviewed the Check Register and Payroll Summary for the month of July.

Chance reviewed the proposed changes to the kWh and demand charges on the non-LB-436 Distributed Generation (DG) Pilot Rates for 2016. A discussion followed with a motion being made by Robert Rickenbach, duly seconded by Bruce Troester to approve the changes to the 2016 DG Pilot Rates; Lee Ahrens, aye; Mike Van Buskirk, abstain; Bruce Troester, aye; Wayne Cobb, aye; Robert Rickenbach, aye; Gary Fuchser, aye; and Terry Terrell, aye; motion carried.

Marjean Terrell left the meeting at 1:15 PM.

Terry Buskirk and Randy Richter with Innovative Solar, LLC joined the meeting at 1:15 PM.

Terry and Randy introduced themselves to the Board and explained what their company can provide with solar interconnect installations for NRPPD. Innovative Solar handles all the upfront work to locate and negotiate leases for the solar installations. Also, all the installation and maintenance costs will be covered by Innovative Solar and their investors. NRPPD would merely purchase the energy produced by the installed system through the means of a Purchased Power Agreement between NRPPD and Innovative Solar, LLC.

Terry and Randy left the meeting at 1:50 PM.

A further discussion and update was held on the solar interconnect project and Innovative Solar’s proposal. A Letter of Intent has been signed between the two parties. After additional work is done and land secured for the solar development, a final agreement would be signed at a later date.

Chance reviewed the letter from Poudre Valley REA, to Tri-State to formally request that Tri-State consider using financial tools available to the Tri-State Board to partially mitigate the proposed rate increase  of 6.78% by recognition of deferred revenue or other means. A discussion followed with a motion being made by Bruce Troester, duly seconded by Mike Van Buskirk to support PVREA’s letter to Tri-State and ask for just a 3% increase; motion carried.

Arlene reviewed the July financial reports, and Chance reviewed the load charts for July. A motion was made by Bruce Troester, duly seconded by Gary Fuchser to accept the July financial reports; motion carried.

 Russ reviewed the Safety Statistics for July. The Safety Report was discussed including the high potential incidents, and the incidents involving non-NRPPD personnel. The training for the month was also discussed. A motion was made by Robert Rickenbach, duly seconded by Wayne Cobb to accept the July Safety Report; motion carried.

Les reported that three essays were received for the Washington DC Youth Tour in 2017.

Ron informed the Board that NRPPD will be filling the serviceman position and will then need to fill a lineman position. It is anticipated Tyler Potts may be leaving later this fall and another lineman position could need to be filled.

Ron also updated the Board that he, Brad, Trampas and Erik will be meeting with Besler, Inc. (the construction contractor) to discussion the Gordon Sub upgrade.

Russ reviewed July Outage Report. In July NRPPD experienced outages that affected several customers due to wind and other storms, therefore the number of customer hours off were increased.

Approximately 34% of the surveys were returned that was mailed out with the July bills. A discussion was held on the office hours and the current operational issues with the crew being split between Mondays and Fridays with the four ten hour work days. It was the consensus of the Board that additional information was needed before a decision could be made.

LJ left the meeting at 4:40 PM. 

Chance reported on the Tri-State Contract Committee Meeting, with 43 assigned members. The bulk of the comments related to the 5% self-generation limitation, not wanting to open the contract at all, and the potential contract extension due to the Basin extension. Mike McInnes, Tri-State CEO, gave an overview of the Basin contract extension related to the East/West split of the two separate contracts Tri-State has with Basin. 

Chance also reported on the NREA Committee and Board Meeting that was held in Scottsbluff. Troy Bredenkamp, NREA Manager, reviewed year to date through 2016 and the proposed budget for 2017, which will include a 1% increase while using funds from the margin stabilization. Les Tlustos was elected to the Public Information Committee, Robert Rickenbach was elected to the Legislative Committee, and Chance was elected to the Salary Review Committee.

Robert Rickenbach also reported on the NREA Meeting and the Resolutions that will advance to the NRECA Regional Meeting in October.

Terry Terrell reported on the ACRE Committee Meeting. Senator Al Davis and challenger Col. Tom Brewer both addressed the ACRE Committee. The ACRE Committee voted to donate $1,000 to Col. Brewer’s Campaign.

Gary Fuchser reported on the Tri-State Meeting he attended. The 2017 preliminary capital and operating budgets were reviewed with a proposed 6.78% rate increase. Some of the drivers impacting the 2017 budget include decreased member load growth; decreased non-member revenue; increased generation and fuel expense; and increased purchased power expense. After being questioned, Gary reported that Tri-State has not as yet provided a written report to the Tri-State Board on the outcome of the Strategic Planning Session held in July. 

Items for the September Agenda are; an update on the solar project, DG Rates, and office hours.

The September meeting will be held September 19th at 1:00 PM.

A discussion was held on the Region 7 & 9 Meeting. A motion was made by Robert Rickenbach, duly seconded by Gary Fuchser to appoint Chance Briscoe as NRPPD’s voting delegate; motion carried.

There being no further business to come before the Board, the president declared the meeting adjourned at 5:50 PM.

Approved: President

Signed: Secretary

Published: September 14, 2016