NPPD Board approves restart of transmission planning process Contract will protect Nebraska ratepayers

At its regularly scheduled August meeting today, the Nebraska Public Power District Board of Directors approved a pair of resolutions regarding the utility’s electric transmission projects needed to serve the proposed new route for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.

The first resolution directs NPPD management, at TransCanada’s request, to restart NPPD’s planning work on the Keystone XL transmission line project. NPPD is responsible to provide electric power to its wholesale customers who, in turn, would serve the pipeline directly, at retail. 

The second resolution ensures the Canadian company, by contract, will reimburse NPPD for all expenses incurred to build electric infrastructure to serve the pipeline.

NPPD’s work to plan transmission facilities for the Keystone XL project began in 2009. It was halted at TransCanada’s request in December 2011. Since then, TransCanada has redirected a portion of the pipeline’s route through Nebraska. 

Based on the new, proposed pipeline route moving east, NPPD will need significantly fewer miles of power lines to meet the service request.

“As a public utility, we want landowners in the areas where we may need to site new power lines for this project to be involved in helping us determine new line routes,” said NPPD’s Vice President of Operations Tom Kent. “We went through this process for the original pipeline route and intend to do so again now that it has changed.”

By restarting work on the project, NPPD will focus on its regular, thorough public involvement/line routing process. 

“TransCanada has asked us to resume our transmission planning process,” said Kent, “which includes meeting with landowners and community officials in areas near and along the possible transmission lines to provide feedback and input. We expect to start this process by the end of August.”

All costs incurred by NPPD related to this project are covered, by contract, with TransCanada, even if the pipeline does not get built. “Our agreement for financial reimbursement with TransCanada protects Nebraska ratepayers from any risk they may have to foot the bill,” said Kent.

The five area electric utilities who will provide electric service at retail to TransCanada to power its pumping stations along the pipeline are Cornhusker Power District, Niobrara Valley EMC, Elkhorn Rural Public Power District, Perennial Public Power District and Norris Public Power District.

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