Customer Connector

Nebraska talks about the ‘Public in Public Power’

Summer 2013
Vol. 31, No. 3

The Nebraska Power Association in Lincoln, Neb., and the Nebraska Public Power District in Columbus, Neb., are talking about the benefits of public power to the people of Nebraska, and their customers are talking back.

For the third straight year, the state association and utility sponsored their "Public Power Station" booth at the Nebraska State Fair, which attracted crowds of nearly 335,000 from Aug. 23 to Sept. 2. More than 20 electric utilities and agencies—all members of NPA—supported and staffed the booth, they said.

This year, the Public Power Station won the fair’s Champion Outstanding Outdoor Exhibitor award. More photos of the booth’s activities can be found on NPPD’s Flickr account. Photo courtesy of the Nebraska Public Power District

This year, the booth highlighted the role Nebraska’s citizens play in the state’s public power model, and the impact public power has on everyday Nebraskans by showing 10 testimonial videos and 14 posters featuring real customers. With the "Public in Public Power" theme, "We wanted to drive home the point that whether you are a teacher, an electric utility employee or the owner of a hardware store down the block, if you live in Nebraska, you are an aspect of public power," said NPPD spokesman Scott Margheim. "That means your opinions, feedback, need for low-cost, reliable and sustainable energy, and desire for improved quality of life are all essential guidelines shaping the way public power works for you."

In one video, Jim Hines talks about the benefits his Lincoln, Neb., church receives by participating in Lincoln, Neb., Electric System’s Sustainable Energy program. His church’s auditorium had about 100 750-watt halogen lamps, as well as other lighting around the facility. The church took advantage of the LES program and replaced them all with LED technology, he said.

"We actually reduced our load in this space by 113,000 watts when all the lights were on," Hines said. "We really appreciate Lincoln Electric System as a public utility. I can’t imagine a business that helps you not purchase their product. And if Lincoln Electric System were a for-profit organization, don’t you think they’d probably want to sell as much as they could, and at as high a price as they could? So, I think having the public utility ... focusing on reducing the load and helping the customers save energy and save money, it’s a win-win for both of us and certainly for the community as a whole because it keeps the electrical costs down in our homes."

All of the Public in Public Power videos and customer testimonials can be viewed from NPPD’s Youtube channel.

"Real customers participated in The Public in Public Power campaign, and unabashedly shared what they value about electricity and public power," said Marvin Schultes, NPA’s president. "Featuring their stories at an event that annually draws more than 330,000 fellow Nebraskans not only helps answer questions raised by many groups, but tells public power’s story in a manner that their friends and neighbors will hear and understand."

While the videos promoted the benefits of public power, fair goers interacted with the booth’s various hands-on activities to learn more about the power industry. Lineworkers and local fire departments also manned the booth to provide safety demonstrations that covered live and downed power lines scenarios. More than 1,000 elementary students toured the demonstrations, they said.

"I think each year we are getting better at telling our collective public power story," said Pat Pope, NPPD’s president and CEO. "The hands-on and interactive displays offer something for people of all ages from exhibits that teach the fundamentals of electricity, to the electrical safety trailer to information pieces focused on the benefits of public power."

Public power utilities throughout the nation participate in activities with their communities for Public Power Week during the first full week of October. This year, Oct. 6-12 marks the county-wide program’s 27th anniversary. Utilities can visit for more examples and resources to help plan activities and to talk about the importance of public power with customers.



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