Note: These minutes are in draft form pending approval by the Board at its next public meeting.
Minutes of the 779th Meeting
October 28, 2016
The 779th meeting of the Nebraska Power Review Board (“the Board” or “PRB”) was held in the Liquor Control Commission Hearing Room, 5th floor, Nebraska State Office Building, 301 Centennial Mall, Lincoln, Nebraska. The roll was called and present were Chairman Lichter, Vice Chairman Reida, Mr. Grennan, Mr. Haase, and Mr. Morehouse. Executive Director Texel stated that public notice for the meeting had been published in the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper on October 21, 2016. The PRB’s practice is to publish the notice in the newspaper ten days prior to its meeting. The Journal-Star contacted the office to explain they had made a mistake and could not publish the notice on the 18th, and asked if the notice could be published on the 21st instead. All background materials for the agenda items to be acted on had been provided to the Board members prior to the meeting via e-mail and a copy of the materials was in each Board member’s notebook. The executive director announced that a copy of the Nebraska Open Meetings Act was on display on the north wall of the room for the public to review, and another copy of the Open Meetings Act was available in a three-ring binder on a table in the back of the room. A copy of all materials the Board would consider was available for public inspection on the table in the back of the room, as well as extra copies of the agenda.
The Board first considered the draft minutes from its September 23, 2016 meeting. The PRB staff had no changes to recommend to the draft minutes. Mr. Morehouse moved to approve the minutes. Mr. Haase seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Lichter – yes, Vice Chairman Reida – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Haase – yes, and Mr. Morehouse – yes. The motion carried 5 – 0.
The next agenda item was acceptance of the expense report for the month of September. The expenses were $22,674.66 in personal services, $17,072.46 in operating expenses, and $1,017.94 in travel expenses. The total expenses were $40,765.06. Mr. Morehouse moved to accept the expense report for September. Mr. Grennan seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Lichter – yes, Vice Chairman Reida – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Haase – yes, and Mr. Morehouse – yes. The motion carried 5 – 0.
The next item on the agenda was a formal complaint filed by Twin Valleys Public Power District against Southern Public Power District. The complaint was filed on May 3, 2016. The complaint was designated as C-52. On October 24 Southern PPD’s counsel notified the Board the parties had reached a settlement on all contested issues. The parties filed a Motion to Dismiss along with a settlement agreement on October 26. The settlement agreement states that the parties must file an amendment to the parties’ service area agreements, SAA 256 and SAA 301, and that Twin Valleys PPD would provide Southern PPD with a consent and waiver to serve four customers Southern PPD is currently serving inside Twin Valleys PPD’s service area. The Board’s Rules of Practice and Procedure require the Board to take action to approve the withdrawal of any pleading filed with the PRB. Executive Director Texel recommended the Board include in its dismissal order a requirement that Southern PPD file an application to serve each of the four customers referenced in the settlement agreement, following the normal procedure for a utility to serve a customer in another utility’s service area. Mr. Morehouse moved to approve the Motion to Dismiss without prejudice, and to include a stipulation that Southern PPD would file four applications with the consent and waiver forms for the four customers in Twin Valleys PPD’s service area. Vice Chairman Reida seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Lichter – yes, Vice Chairman Reida – yes, Mr. Grennan – yes, Mr. Haase – yes, and Mr. Morehouse – yes. The motion carried 5 – 0.
The next item on the agenda was SAA 400-16-A. This item is scheduled for hearing today. The Board tabled the item until after oral arguments could be heard.
The Board then went to the executive director report. The first item discussed was the Southwest Power Pool’s monthly update. Mr. Grennan discussed the possibility of having Paul Suskie and Sam Loudenschlager give an update about SPP items to the Board. Mr. Grennan also stated that at the quarterly meeting SPP celebrated its 75th anniversary. He stated that SPP started with twelve utilities that united to keep an aluminum factory open to support the war efforts. The first fifty years the organization was operated without any contracts. One of the original members of the SPP was the Nebraska Power Company, which was Omaha Public Power District’s predecessor.
Mr. Texel asked the Board about scheduling its 2017 meetings. The January meeting is already scheduled for the 4th Friday in January, which is January 27. He wanted to know if the Board would want to continue with the 4th Friday of each month. All Board members agreed that they wanted to continue scheduling the meetings on the fourth Friday of each month. Executive Director Texel said the exceptions would be that due to state holidays on the fourth Friday of April, November and December 2017, those meetings would be on April 21, November 17 and December 15.
The Board’s next meetings are scheduled for November 18 and December 16, 2016. The November meeting will be in Grand Island, to coincide with a tour of the Nebraska Public Power District’s Control Center in Doniphan for the Board members. The location of the public meeting will be at the Grand Island City Council chambers. All other meetings will be held in the Liquor Control Commission Hearing room, 5th floor, State Office Building, 301 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln, Nebraska, unless otherwise specified on the agenda.
The Board went into recess at 9:48 a.m. to conduct a hearing on oral arguments in application SAA 400-16-A. During a hearing the Board acts in its quasi-judicial capacity, so the hearing is not part of the public meeting. The executive director explained that Board will reconvene its public meeting after the hearing and may or may not issue an order on its findings.
The Board returned to the public meeting at 12:10 p.m. All Board members were again present. Executive Director Texel explained that the Board had heard oral arguments in SAA 400-16-A. Consideration of SAA 400-16-A was the only item left on the agenda other than adjournment. Chairman Lichter asked Executive Director Texel to explain the process. The executive director explained that sometimes the Board issues a preliminary, but binding, ruling on an issue where the Board is operating in its quasi-judicial capacity. This is done for the convenience of the parties, so they can have an answer to the issues involved in an expedited manner. The written order still constitutes the Board’s final action on the issues involved. In this instance, the Board decided not to vote on a preliminary ruling, but rather take the matter under further advisement. A written order will be issued. The Board wanted to review some of the case law discussed during oral arguments and be able to refer to the transcript. Mr. Haase wanted to make a disclosure concerning one of the cases that was discussed. One of the Nebraska Supreme Court cases cited by the parties involved the City of Grand Island. At the time of the case Mr. Haase was the Chief Financial Officer for the City. He stated that he has not discussed any of the proceedings in that case with the Board. He wanted to make that disclosure in the event that any of the parties in SAA 400-16-A had any objection to his participation in the decision on SAA 400-16-A.
Chairman Lichter moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Morehouse seconded the motion. Voting on the motion: Chairman Lichter – yes, Vice Chairman Reida – yes, Mr.
Grennan – yes, Mr. Haase – yes, and Mr. Morehouse – yes. The motion carried 5– 0. The meeting was adjourned at 12:12 p.m.
Timothy J. Texel
Executive Director and General Counsel