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We Are The Public In Public Power Getting the Recipe Right

Legislative Policy

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Where does NPA stand on important energy issues? 

NPA News

Public Power—How Nebraskans Benefit

Nebraska has the distinction of being the only state in the U.S. where every single home and business receives electric service from publicly owned utilities such as municipal utilities, electric cooperatives, or public power districts. Nebraska has 167 different community owned utilities. Across the U.S., over 2,000 publicly owned utilities serve more than 43 million people. Lower Electric Prices Why does this matter? Publicly owned utilities exist to serve customers. Period. There are no stockholders, and thus no profit motive. Our electric prices do not include a profit. That means Nebraska’s utilities can focus exclusively on keeping electric rates low and customer service high. Our customers, not big investors in New York and Chicago, own Nebraska’s utilities. You can see the difference every month, in your electric bill. Our costs to generate and deliver electricity do not include a profit markup. As a result, electricity costs in Nebraska are well below the national average...

How Does Public Power Work?

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Local Control

Publicly elected power district boards, appointed utility boards, rural electric cooperative boards, and city council representatives, control Nebraska’s utilities. Public power directors and council members understand their most important responsibility is to serve the needs of their customers, who also vote in elections. These governing representatives set service standards, budgets, policies, and electric prices. Regularly scheduled meetings of utility boards and councils are open... 

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Reliability

If your lights go out, chances are that a squirrel or a tree had something to do with it. Nebraska’s utilities love squirrels and trees as much as anyone. But when squirrels come into contact with a power line, they get electrocuted and your lights go out. Tree limbs can catch fire when they touch a power line—and your lights go out. That’s why Nebraska’s utilities regularly trim trees that are near power lines—to keep your lights on! There’s not much we can do about squirrels,... 

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Early Years

The city of Crete formed the state’s first electric department in 1887, about the same time farmers in western Nebraska were devising ways to store water for their irrigation needs. By the early 1930s, Nebraska had several hundred municipal utilities and 42 shareholder-owned electric companies. Several large hydropower projects were being built. In 1933, the Nebraska Legislature created the state statutes that govern public power districts, and between 1934 and 1946, investor-owned... 

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Affordability

Nebraska’s public power utilities were created to provide low cost, reliable electric service. Electricity is priced on costs, and the revenue that is generated is used to pay operating expenses and make necessary investments in maintenance, construction, and system upgrades. The rates do not include a profit margin. Since Nebraska’s utilities are not owned by investors, we can charge lower prices because we don’t have to send dividends to stockholders. Nebraska’s electric consumers... 

Public Power in Nebraska