Generator — Winter 2021


In this issue: Rates unchanged for 2021; EnergyWise Program Update; Jim Schindel retires after 44 years of service.


a publication of Loup Power District WINTER 2021


No change to 2021 retail rates


incentives update

Schindel retires after 44 years


Chris Langemeier


Ross Knott

First Vice Chairman

Alan Drozd

Second Vice Chairman

Steve Heesacker


Dick Tooley


Rich Aerni

Robert Cerv

Jim Donoghue

Mike Fleming

Larry Zach



Loup Power District identifies electricity rates based on cost of service

while keeping our customers and our communities front and center. As a

not-for-profit company, Loup does not answer to remote shareholders and

is not driven by a profit motive. Revenues are invested right back into the

company and communities.


Neal Suess


Walt Williams

Vice President,

Accounting & Finance/CFO

Todd Duren

Vice President,

Corporate Services

Korey Hobza

Vice President, Engineering

Dan Hellbusch

Vice President, Operations

The Loup Generator is

published quarterly

as a service for Loup

employees, families,

friends and associates.

For feedback, story ideas

and submissions, contact:

Stacy Wemhoff

Communications Coordinator


ADD UP ALL THE COSTS. Loup conducts a cost-of-service study to

determine the revenue requirement how much revenue is required

to maintain financial stability. The costs are separated into three areas:

power supply and transmission, distribution, and customers.

DIVIDE REVENUE REQUIREMENTS by customer class commercial,

industrial, residential. The cost-of-service study identifies how and when

each class uses energy, and how the utility incurs costs from each class.

The study identifies the amount to recover through customer, demand,

and energy charges for each customer class, and how costs vary by time of

day or season. This amount is then compared with the rates for each class.

FACTOR a rate adjustment strategy into a financial plan. The plan takes input

from management and the Board of Directors and lays out a strategy for

how rates should be implemented in the future. The plan ensures adequate

revenues are recovered for each class of customer and explains how each

rate component (customer, energy, demand) should vary over time.

BALANCE the recommended rates with the governing body’s input and

community objectives. Loup’s managers present the rate study to the Board

of Directors. The Board decides whether the proposed rate structure meets

the needs of the community and the utility’s revenue requirements.

FINAL RATE. The newly set rates go into effect on

customers’ monthly bills. Loup’s residential rates have

not changed since 2018.


COVER: Clarkson Local Superintendent Josh Siebrandt puts rubber coverups on the primary power lines

during a house move in late September to protect the house and movers from incidental contact.


Loup’s retail rates among

lowest in state and nation

For the fourth consecutive year, the District is

planning no change to retail rates. This really

is a testament to how hard District employees

and the District’s Board of Directors work to

manage expenses.

The District has seen a number of events that

could have negatively affected our retail rates

over the past several years: the new hydroelectric

license in 2017 (which reduced the amount

of generation produced from the hydroelectric

system), the mid-March 2019 storm event that

created havoc on the canal system (as well

as other areas of the District), and finally the

effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Each of these events has affected the District

and our customers in different ways, but in

each case, the District has managed to keep

our overall rate levels unchanged for our


A lot of this has to do with the interaction the

District has with our power supplier, Nebraska

Public Power District (NPPD). Almost all of

the energy used by the District’s customers

is purchased from NPPD. Approximately

70 percent of the District’s annual expense

budget is purchased power costs from NPPD.

Therefore, it is important that the District

works closely with NPPD to understand how

its production costs are being managed.

We are fortunate that NPPD’s headquarters are

located in Columbus. District employees have

daily interaction with NPPD, and we see NPPD

employees about town as we perform our daily

activities. Having this friendly interaction

makes it easier to deal with NPPD one-on-one

when there are business concerns.

Knowing how NPPD’s costs are derived is

important. Power supply is a complex activity.

NPPD’s management has been very active

in helping wholesale customers understand

how costs are changing and what we can do to

impact cost changes for NPPD.

District management and the Board of

Directors have worked hard to understand this

complexity and to help manage this to control

District costs for our customers.

As we continue to move forward in 2020

and 2021, the overall effects of the COVID-19

pandemic will continue to affect the expenses

of the District. How this may impact retail

rates beyond 2021 is yet to be seen, but rest

assured, the District is working hard to keep

retail rates as low as possible.

The District’s Board of Directors is very proud

of this. We will strive to continue this ranking

in the future.

Until next time, be happy and stay safe!



Based upon the latest American Public

Power Association survey, the District

is in the lowest tenth percentile

for retail rates both

statewide and nationally.

WINTER 2020 | 3

No change to 2021 retail rates

Retail rates for Loup Power District’s

retail customers will remain the same in

2021 for the fourth consecutive year.

The Loup Power District Board of Directors

reviewed current rate levels as well

as budgeted revenue and expenses at

the November and December board

meetings. This also included a review of

a retail cost of service study performed

by management.

As part of this review, the board

analyzed the purchased power costs

from Nebraska Public Power District

(NPPD), the District’s wholesale power


NPPD’s overall costs and rates to Loup

did not change for 2020, even though

some costs did change between the

summer and winter season. Therefore,

the District’s Board of Directors felt

there was no need to change retail rates.

“Prior to the recent run of consistent

retail rates, the District has reacted

to changes in wholesale power and

operational costs by making changes

to the retail rates,” said Jim Donoghue,

chairman of Loup’s Rates Committee.

“However, the District Board has

worked with management to keep retail

rate levels steady, even given the effects

of the damages from the 2019 storm to

the District’s hydroelectric system and

the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

on District customers in 2020.”

Donoghue added that Loup’s board

has implemented a long-term strategy

to maintain its reserve margin at

reasonable levels and keep retail rates


Loup Power District’s overall rates are

24.8 percent below the national average

and 11.2 percent below the Nebraska

average based on data from a 2019

American Public Power Association


“Loup’s rates remain among the lowest

in Nebraska and the Nation,” said Loup

Board Chairman Chris Langemeier.

Overall, Loup Power District’s rates

are in the lowest tenth percentile both

statewide and nationally.

Energy or kilowatt-hour (kWh) usage

is always the determining factor in a

customer’s bill.

Customers in all rate classifications

continue to have opportunities to

reduce their costs by taking advantage

of numerous programs offered by the


These programs include energy incentives

and home energy audits.

For more information on the District’s

retail rates and energy-saving

programs, visit

Loup’s retail rates

are 24.8% below

the national average

and 11.2% below

Nebraska’s average

For more information on the District’s retail rates and energy-saving programs,

visit the District’s website at


Heat pump water heaters offer cost-saving benefits

ENERGY STAR certified heat pump water

heaters (HPWHs) promise huge energy savings.


While a certified HPWH costs more upfront,

the savings will pay back the difference in two

years for a household of four.


ENERGY STAR certified HPWHs can save

a household of four approximately $350 per

year on its electric bills compared to a standard

electric water heater.

This adds up to $3,750 over the HPWH’s

lifetime. Larger families that typically use more

hot water will save even more.


If all residential electric water heaters less

than 55 gallons sold in the United States were

ENERGY STAR certified HPWHs, the energy

cost savings would grow to almost $12 billion

each year, and 140 billion pounds of annual

greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented

equivalent to the emissions from more than

13 million vehicles.


Household Size Annual kWh Savings Annual $ Savings Payback (years) Lifetime Savings

2 1,350 $170 4.8 $1,370

3 2,020 $250 3.2 $2,450

4 2,690 $330 2.4 $3,530

Assumes: $0.124/kWh; Incremental Cost = $800; 13-year lifespan

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ENERGY STAR program


Sometimes water heaters can be working

fine and then fail without warning. Most

times, though, there are early signs that

your water heater may need help. Here

are some common red flags for possible

water heater failure:

• VISIBLE CORROSION – Corrosion is a

sign that the water heater is breaking


• WATER LEAKS – Leaks from any

joints, seals, or seams is usually an

indication of a problem.


usually a sign that the interior of the

water heating system is corroding and

breaking down.

• LOW HOT WATER – Aging and poor

maintenance can cause sediment to

build up inside the tank in a way that

reduces capacity.

• RUMBLING NOISES – Water heaters

are designed to operate consistently,

quietly, and reliably.

WINTER 2020 | 5

are you

Check out these energy-saving incentives!

Smart Thermostat Program

According to a Nebraska energy burden study,

the average Nebraska household spends more

than $2,400 on the energy needed to run their


What if you could reduce your heating and

cooling needs by up to ten percent while

helping to automate your home?

If you have a home Wi-Fi connection and a

central air-conditioning or heat pump system,

you may qualify for an incentive of up to $100 for a

qualifying smart thermostat.

Smart thermostat technology is most beneficial for

households that have extended periods during the day when no one is

home or turn their thermostat down during bedtime hours. It is also a great

option for homes that have irregular occupancy through the week, month

or year.



Primarily Electric Heat (Professionally Installed) $100

Primarily Electric Heat (Customer Installed) $75

Primarily Fossil-Fuel Heat (Professionally Installed) $50

Primarily Fossil-Fuel Heat (Customer Installed) $25

Attic Insulation

Residential customers who have 6" or

less of attic insulation and electric heating

systems are eligible for an incentive of 15¢

per square foot if they add at least 6", or an

additional R-19, of insulation to their attic


The maximum incentive amount is $300

per dwelling.

Variable Frequency Drives

Commercial and industrial customers can

receive an incentive for installing variable

frequency drives (VFDs) on centrifugal fans

and pumps.

The incentive is $30 per horsepower for

VFDs from 1 to 200 horsepower, operating

a minimum of 2,000 hours annually.

Custom Ag Program

Incentives are available for ag technologies

not covered under other programs upon

review and approval.

Agricultural Efficiency

Customers can receive reimbursement for

installing electric heating mats in their hog

farrowing operations. Incentives range from

$40 to $80 per mat.

Irrigation Efficiency

Customers can receive

reimbursement for a pumping

system efficiency test, installing a

variable frequency drive on corner pivot

systems, replacing sprinkler heads, and

for improvements leading to demand


Eligible projects include pressure

regulator replacement, pump

refurbishment and more.


High Efficiency Heat Pumps

Option 1: Direct incentive


Ductless Mini-Split 15+ SEER, 12.5 EER, 8.5 HSPF $400

Ductless Mini-Split Variable Capacity (inverter driven) $600

Air Source 15-15.9 SEER, 12.5 EER, 8.5 HSPF $400

Air Source

16-17.9 SEER, 12.5 EER,

8.5 HSPF


Air Source 18+ SEER, 12.5 EER, 8.5 HSPF $1,200

Air Source Variable Capacity $1,200

Ductless Mini Splits

(Multi Heads, 3 ton or greater)

Geothermal water-to-air

or water-to-water

{1 or 2 stages)

Geothermal water-to-air

or water-to-water

(Variable capacity)

Option 2: Low Interest Loan Program

Variable Capacity (inverter driven) $1,200

Any EER $2,400

35+ EER, 5.0+ COP in GLHP -

partial load column of AHRI

or Energy Star certificate


Through a partnership with the Nebraska Energy Office and approximately 600

financial institutions throughout the state, you can finance your new heat pump

system at a low interest rate.

Customers cannot proceed with the installation until the Nebraska Energy Office

has processed the loan paperwork; this can take as many as 10 business days.

Homes built within the last five years are not eligible for the low interest loan

(but they are eligible for the incentive).

Heat Pump Water Heater


Air Source Heat Pump Water Heater EF > 1.9 $400

Water or Ground Source

Heat Pump Water Heater

COP > 2.8 $650

Electric Vehicle

& Charging Station

• $4,000 for the purchase of a new

electric vehicle + $500 for installation

of a residential ChargePoint 32-amp,

Wi-Fi-enabled vehicle charging station.

• Up to $400 for in-home pre-wiring for

future installation of an electric vehicle

charging station.

• Commercial Conduit 100%

reimbursement incentive (maximum

of $1,000) for new commercial

construction for the installation of

conduit to be used for a future public

electric vehicle charging station.

• Commercial Charger 50%

reimbursement incentive for eligible

costs for the installation of an

electric vehicle




Cooling System Tune Up

Residential customers are eligible for

a $30 yearly incentive when they have

their cooling system tuned up by an

HVAC contractor.

HVAC System


Incentives are provided to commercial

(and industrial) customers for improving

the efficiency of their existing heating,

cooling, and ventilating systems.


& Custom Lighting

LED lighting incentives are provided for

commercial and industrial customers via a

prescriptive program (an incentive based

on a table for predetermined fixture or

lamp replacements) and a custom incentive

program for lighting systems not offered in

the prescriptive program.

Industrial Process Incentive

Incentives are provided to industrial customers for

improving the efficiency of their processes.

Commercial HVAC

Incentives are provided to commercial (and industrial)

customers for installing high-efficiency HVAC equipment

via a prescriptive program where the incentive is calculated

based on the specific efficiency improvement.

Additional program details are available at

or by calling Greg Badstieber at 402-564-3171.

WINTER 2020 | 7

Schindel retires

after 44 years

I've never thought of

doing anything else.

Miles and miles of rebuilt transmission


That’s what Jim Schindel thinks of as he

reflects on his 44-year career at Loup Power


“We basically built from the Dodge County

line to two miles west of the Boone County

line along Highway 91,” he said. “I was either

in charge of or helped with over 120 miles of

transmission line.”

He was also involved in transmission line

projects near Columbus, Fullerton, Belgrade,

Lindsay, and Genoa.

The feeling of accomplishment was the

same after each project, despite all the miles

and years.

“You see that big pile of poles and all the

reels and wire. All the materials laying there,”

Schindel said. “Five or six months later, you

look out and it’s all in the air and done. You

can see what you did.”

Schindel’s introduction to the utility line

field happened shortly after his graduation

from high school in Hinton, Iowa, in 1974.

He was working at a factory at the time and

talked to a friend who was studying utility

line at Northwest Iowa Technical College .

Schindel thought it sounded interesting.

“I always thought I was going to be an

electrician or do something mechanical,” he

said. “ I enjoyed being outside all the time. I

liked that more than anything.”

He enrolled at the same college and began

taking classes the following quarter. He

earned his degree and landed a job at Loup

Power District in 1976.

“It was a job,” he said. “I didn’t know what

would all come out of it.”

Schindel knows now that line work and

Loup were the perfect fit for him.

“I’ve never thought of doing anything


Schindel was promoted to Lineman in 1977

and Journeyman Lineman in 1981. He was

named Line Foreman for the Albion Division

in 1993 and served as Superintendent from

2014 until his retirement in November.

Loup Power and the industry in general

have changed a lot in 40 years.

Schindel said one of the main changes is

the size of things more load, bigger lines,

bigger wire, and larger trucks.

“When we first started, if we set a 45-foot

pole, that was a big one,” he said. “Now,

we’re setting 90s.”

He said the quality of equipment has

improved greatly since his first days on the


“We didn’t even have a radio in our truck,”

Schindel said. “They said that was a luxury.”

He remembers an 8-track tape player on

the floor and employees paying for a radio

with their own money.

He can recall when crew members first got

bag cellular phones.

“We thought that was pretty cool,” he


Schindel said he never imagined

he’d spend part of his career as Division


“Things just fell into place,” he said.

But with that new role toward the

end of his career came a new challenge:


As superintendent, Schindel was

spending less time outside and more

time in front of a screen.

“When I first went to tech school,

I had to buy a calculator,” he said.

“It cost me $70 and all it did was

add, subtract, and divide,” he


He adapted and learned what

he needed to for his new role.

Coworkers helped with his tech

questions when he got stuck.

Still, Schindel got outside to

work whenever he could. That’s

where he loved to be.

“Sometimes the weather’s not the

best, but you take the good with the bad.”


Retirement means more free time. That has allowed Schindel to

focus on another passion: woodworking.

Woodworking became a hobby when his three daughters

Amanda, Crystal, and Alicia were young.

His wife, Connie, was a stay-at-home mother and started crafting

and selling at weekend craft shows.

Schindel would cut items from wood and sand them down so

Connie could paint them.

He had all the tools and began to work on projects of his own. It

didn’t take him long to discover he had a talent in the area.

Today, people call and ask him to build things.

This fall, he was working on Nativity sets and mini barns. He also

makes tractors, road graders, and other machines out of wood.

Schindel said he is also planning to restore a 1937 Chevy pickup

that was passed down from his grandfather. And he and his wife are

planning to travel as well when the world gets back to normal after

the Covid-19 pandemic.

While he will miss the job and the people, Schindel is looking

forward to his new adventures in retirement. He said many people

are surprised that he worked for one company so long.

“When you tell someone how long you’ve worked here, no one

believes it,” he said.

Top left: Schindel terminates underground primary in Albion.

Top right: Schindel’s shop includes nativities and barns

he made by request.

Above: A bulldozer and road grader Schindel made out of wood.

Below: Schindel makes toy barns that open for play.

Schindel and his wife, Connie, live in Petersburg. They are the

parents of three daughters: Amanda, Crystal, and Alicia. They have

eight grandsons and three granddaughters.

WINTER 2020 | 9


Between the power plants, dams, and facilities that generate electricity

and the wires that connect your home and your neighbors to substations

in your community is a series of high-voltage wires and towers that make

up the transmission system.

There are about


miles of transmission lines

in the United States

Although it is collectively

called one “grid,” there are

three independently operated

sections of this system, called

interconnections: Eastern,

Western, and the Electric

Reliability Council of Texas.


The power running through the lines in

each interconnection is managed by

66 balancing


– entities that keep a close eye on

matching the power supply

and electric demand.


of these authorities are

regional transmission organizations

(also called independent system

operators) – and manage the supply

and demand for approximately



These organizations collectively

manage more than



of transmission lines.

Electric utilities, including public

power utilities, split the cost

of transmission across

the group of users.

For every kilowatt hour you use, about

1.35 cents

pays for the transmission

of that power. In 2019,

13 %

of the average customer’s electric bill

went toward transmission.

The cost of transmission

is expected to continue to rise

over the next few decades,

increasing to almost

16 %

of the average bill by


Customer advocates, including public power, are working to

ensure transmission costs are fairly split and don’t get too high.

As such, new projects should:

Relieve congestion

This increased cost will largely

offset expected declines in the

cost to generate energy.

Benefit customers

(e.g., connect to lower cost or preferred sources of generation)

Be planned in coordination with the region, to reduce

development of unneeded capacity or curtailments

Support greater reliability

Sources: "United States Electricity Industry Primer." U.S. Department of Energy. July 2015.

"Annual Energy Outlook 2020, Electricity." U.S. Energy Information Administration. January 2020.

WINTER 2020 | 11

employee notes


Powerhouse Maintenance Supervisor

Ron Cieloha joined

Loup in 1985 as

Second Assistant

Plant Operator

at the Columbus


He became First

Assistant Plant

Operator in 1986.

He was promoted to


35 years

Technician in

1988. Cieloha was

promoted to his present position of

Powerhouse Maintenance Supervisor

in 1991.

As Powerhouse Maintenance Supervisor,

Cieloha is in charge of electrical

and mechanical maintenance of the

Columbus and Monroe Powerhouses.

Cieloha is a graduate of Silver Creek

High School. He earned an Associate

of Applied Science Degree in Electronics

from Central Community College-

Columbus. Cieloha has one son, Adam,

and two grandchildren, Nicholas and



Customer Service Representative

Rhonda Rogers of

Columbus joined

Loup in 2015 as a

Customer Service


at the Columbus

General Office.

Rogers’ responsibilities

include greeting

customers, processing

payments, issuing

refunds, setting

up and closing

service, and answering phone calls.


Rogers is a graduate of Columbus High

School. She attended Central Community

College-Columbus and has two

sons Aaron, and his wife, Sierra, and



Vice President of Accounting & Finance/CFO

Walt Williams joined

Loup in 2000 as

Chief Accountant

at the Columbus

General Office.

In 2011, he transferred

to Supervisor

of Purchasing and

Insurance. He was

promoted to Vice

President of Administrative

Services in

20 years

2015. In 2019, his

title was changed to Vice President of

Accounting & Finance/CFO.

Williams is responsible for managing

the accounting and financial matters of

the District. He also oversees customer

service and billing operations, insurance,

purchasing, and stores.

Williams is a graduate of Lincoln High

School. He earned a Bachelor of

Science degree in Management and

Accounting from Peru State College.

He earned his CPA in 1990.

He and his wife, Pam, are the parents of

two children, Brittany and Jordan. They

have three grandchildren.


Albion Division Superintendent

Scott Sokol of

Newman Grove was

promoted to Albion

Division Superintendent

in October.

Sokol joined Loup in

1994 as an Apprentice

Lineman in the

Albion Division. He

was promoted to

Lineman in 1995

and to Journeyman

Lineman in 2000.


In 2005, he was named Local Superintendent

for Newman Grove.

In his new role, Sokol oversees the

operation and maintenance of Loup’s

electric transmission and distribution

system in the Albion Division service

area which includes the northern part

of Boone and Platte Counties, and the

southwest corner of Madison County.

Sokol is a graduate of Norfolk High

School. He earned an Associate of

Applied Science Degree in Utility Line

from Northeast Community College in


He and his wife, Joan, are the parents

of four children Jarod, Shanna,

Clayton, and Brady.


Meter Relay & Equipment Tech Sr.

Randy Leu of Columbus

retired from

Loup after more than

30 years of service.

Leu joined Loup

as an Apprentice

Lineman in the

Humphrey retail

operation in 1989.

He was promoted

to lineman in 1990

and transferred to

the Columbus retail



In 1993, Leu was promoted to Journeyman

Lineman. He was named Meter

Relay and Equipment Technician I in

1997. In 2019, he was promoted Meter

Relay and Equipment Technician Sr.

A graduate of Madison High School,

Leu earned a Utility Lineman degree

and an Electrician’s degree from

Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

He also earned a diploma in data

management from Central Community


He and his wife, Barb, have two

children Dalton and his wife, Melissa;

and McKenzie and her husband, Tedd;

and one grandchild.

They recently moved to a ranch north

of Atkinson to finish up their cabin

along the Niobrara river.




Jason Beiermann

joined Loup in 2015

as Accountant/

Collector in the




His responsibilities

include accounting

and customer 5 years

service functions

and collection of delinquent accounts.

Beiermann is a graduate of Columbus

High school. He earned an Associate of

Applied Science degree in Information

Technology from Central Community


He and his wife, Tina, are the parents of

three daughters.


Supervisor of Safety & Training

Prater joined Loup in

1990 as a Lineman

at the Columbus

Service Center. He

was promoted to

Journeyman Lineman

in 1992. In 1996,

he was promoted to

his current position

of Supervisor of

Safety & Training.

30 years

As Supervisor of

Safety & Training,

Prater is responsible for all safety

concerns and training throughout the

District. He also co-chairs the District’s

Wellness Program.

A graduate of Norfolk High School,

Prater has an Associate of Applied

Science Degree in Utility Line from

Northeast Community College in


He and his wife, Susan, have three

children and two grandchildren son,

Joshua, and his wife, Ashley, and their

two children, Liara and Jaxson; son,

Dillon; and daughter, Brianna, and her

husband, John O’Neill.


Accounting Clerk

Lynette June joined

Loup in 2005 as


at the Columbus

General Office.

Her title was later

changed to Customer

Service Representative.

In 2014,

she was promoted

to Accounting Clerk.

As Accounting

Clerk, June’s duties

include paying and filing all District bills;

filing reports such as transportation

records, payrolls, work orders, and

bank statements; registering all District

vehicles; and keeping inventory of

office supplies for District personnel.

She also serves as a courier for the

District’s Columbus locations.

June is a graduate of Crete High

School. She has one son, Jeremy.


Newman Grove Local Superintendent

Meyer joined Loup

in 1997 as a Lineman

at Albion. He was

promoted to Journeyman

Lineman in

2003 and continued

in that position until

this promotion.

15 years

As Newman Grove

Local Superintendent,

Meyer Promotion

is responsible for

overseeing the

maintenance and construction of

Loup’s electric power transmission

and distribution system in the Newman

Grove and Lindsay areas. He also

directs customer service in the area.

Meyer is a native of Winnetoon and a

graduate of Creighton High School.

He earned an Associate of Applied

Science Degree in Utility Line from

Northeast Community College.

Meyer and his wife, Jenny, have four

grown children and six grandchildren.


Dredge Foreman

James Reeg of

Genoa joined Loup

in 1980 as a Maintenance

Man at the

Genoa Headworks.

In 1982, he was

promoted to Heavy

Equipment Relief

Operator. His job

title changed to

Equipment Operator

in 1986.

He was promoted to Dredge Operator

in 1993, and was promoted to his

current position of Dredge Foreman in


As Dredge Foreman, Reeg oversees

the operation and maintenance of the

District’s dredge at the Genoa Headworks.

The dredge vacuums sand from

the settling basin at the Headworks.

Reeg is a graduate of Genoa High

School. He and his wife, Joan, are the

parents of four children.


Meter,Relay, and Equipment Tech II

Justin Shanle of

Columbus was

promoted to Meter,

Relay and Equipment

Tech II in


Shanle joined Loup

Power District as

Drafting Technician

in April 2020.



In his new role,

Shanle will install,

test, switch, and maintain substation

and line equipment. He will also operate

SCADA and load control systems.

Shanle is a graduate of Scotus Central

Catholic High School. He earned a

degree in Electromechanical Technology

from Southeast Community

College in Milford.

WINTER 2020 | 13

employee notes


Albion Division Superintendent

Jim Schindel retired

from Loup Power

District after 44

years of service.

He joined Loup

in 1976 as an

Apprentice Lineman

at the Albion

Retail Operation. He

was promoted to

Lineman in 1977. He


was promoted to

Journeyman Lineman

in 1981 and became Line Foreman

at the Albion Retail Operation in 1993.

Schindel was promoted to Superintendent

in 2014.

As Albion Division Superintendent,

Schindel oversaw the operation and

maintenance of Loup’s electric transmission

and distribution system in the

Albion Division service area which

includes the northern part of Boone

and Platte Counties, and the southwest

corner of Madison County.

Shindel is a graduate of Hinton High

School in Hinton, Iowa. He attended

Northwest Iowa Technical College in

Sheldon, Iowa, where he earned an

Associate of Applied Science Degree

in Utility Line.

Schindel and his wife, Connie, are the

parents of three daughters: Amanda,

Crystal, and Alicia. They have eight

grandsons and three granddaughters.


Customer Billing Coordinator

Joyce Guenther of

Columbus joined

Loup in 2000 as


at the Columbus

General Office.

Her title was

changed to

Customer Service


in 2009. She was

promoted to Lead

Customer Service


Representative in 2015 and to Billing

Coordinator in 2017.

As Billing Coordinator, Guenther’s

responsibilities include reviewing and

processing all of the District’s billings;

coordinating readings, billings, and

delinquencies with Loup’s communities

outside of Columbus; reconciling

District meter inventory; and assisting

staff and customers with inquiries.

Guenther is a graduate of Schuyler

Central High School. She and her

husband, Larry, are the parents of two

grown children, Casey and Dylan. They

have two grandchildren.


Fullerton Division Superintendent

Fullerton Division


Guy Imus recently

marked 35 years

of service to Loup

Power District.

Imus joined Loup

in 1985 as an

Apprentice Lineman

at Fullerton. He

was promoted to 35 YEARS

Lineman in 1986

and to Journeyman

Lineman in 1989. Imus was named

Cedar Rapids Local Superintendent in

1991. He was promoted to his current

position of Fullerton Division Superintendent

in 2015.

As Fullerton Division Superintendent,

Imus oversees the operation and maintenance

of Loup’s electric transmission

and distribution system in the Fullerton

Division service area including Fullerton,

Belgrade, St. Edward, Cedar

Rapids, Primrose, Genoa, and Monroe.

Imus is a native of Belgrade and a

graduate of Fullerton High School.

He earned an Associate of Applied

Science Degree in Utility Line from

Northeast Community College in


Imus and his wife, Vickie, are the

parents of two children: Jeremy and




Sage Penny joined

Loup Power District

as a Lineman in

Fullerton in October.

As a Lineman,

Penny is a member

of the crew that is

responsible for the

construction, tree

trimming, operation,

and maintenance of

electric transmission and distribution

systems and substations in the

Fullerton Division.

Penny is originally from Decatur and

graduated from Tekamah-Herman High


He earned a degree in Utility Line from

Mitchell Technical College in Mitchell,

SD. He previously worked at Burt

County Public Power District.


Civil Engineering Compliance Tech

Christopher Shank

joined Loup in

2019. In his role as

Civil Engineering

Compliance Tech,

Shank ensures

Loup complies with

federal and state

regulatory agencies.


He oversees

construction and

inspections of hydro

projects and serves

as a liason to the Federal Energy

Regulatory Commission.

1 year

His duties also include coordinating the

District’s Emergency Action Plan and

preparing and maintaining Engineering

project reports.

Shank graduated from Columbus High

School and received his Bachelor

of Science Degree in Fisheries and

Wildlife from UNL. He is a certified

Associate Wildlife Biologist.




Connor Neal joined

Loup Power District

as Lineman based in


As a Lineman, Neal

is a member of the

crew that is responsible

for the


operation, and

maintenance of

electric transmission

and distribution systems and

substations in the Albion Division.


Neal is a graduate of Norfolk High School.

He earned a degree in Utility Line from

Northeast Community College.

He previously worked for Nebraska Public

Power District and was a Loup intern.

Electric Vehicle Incentive

Greg Badstieber, Customer and Energy Services Coordinator, recently presented Ed

and Carolyn Wagner with an incentive check for $4,900. The incentive is part of Loup’s

EnergyWise program offered in conjunction with Nebraska Public Power District. Loup

customers can receive $4,500 when they purchase a qualifying electric vehicle and

ChargePoint charger. Up to $400 is also available for pre-wiring for a charging station.

Power districts team up for broadband study

by Molly Hunter, Columbus Telegram

Platte County, as well as Loup and Cornhusker Power Districts,

are teaming up with Nebraska Public Power District to do a study

examining ways they might help improve broadband.

Pat Pope, Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) Special Assistant

to the President & CEO, said the districts are among several in

the state who have committed to a study.

The power districts supply data from their systems and the

National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) uses it to

design a broadband system based on existing power pole infrastructure.

The study estimates the cost of the broadband infrastructure

and pricing for the consumer.

But, Nebraska law prohibits power districts from being in the

retail broadband business.

"... we do have a lot of infrastructure out in rural Nebraska," Pope

said. "So the question is, 'how can we utilize that and partner with

those folks in the private sector who are authorized in providing

that end-use broadband? How can we get together and make that


After the NRTC study is finished, the power districts hope to work

with other entities to partner on the broadband work.

“This is not an effort for either Loup or Cornhusker or NPPD to get

into the retail broadband business. We want to work with the private

sector to make that happen,” Pope said.

The digital gap between rural and urban areas has been thrown

into sharp relief this year with students quarantining at home due to

COVID-19. School districts have invested in Wi-Fi hotspots to boost

connectivity for students in rural areas so they can keep up with their

schoolwork while stuck at home.

Even so, Pope said broadband quality is primarily an economic

development issue and said businesses seeking a location to expand

have historically looked at tax policies and the area’s workforce.

“One of the very prominent things that’s now on that checklist

is 'what’s your broadband connectivity in your area?' So for rural

Nebraska to continue to grow, to be viable, this pandemic has

certainly pointed out the issues that we have with education, telemedicine,

you name it. We really, really have to do whatever we can

to increase broadband connectivity,” Pope said.

As an added bonus, NPPD Director of Technology Integration

Dave Webb said the NRTC method focuses on the needs of the power


“To run the electric grid you need a lot of communication network

capability and going into the future you’re going to need a lot of

broadband and fiber,” Webb said.

According to Webb, the NRTC study also addresses the need for

a partner to provide end-use service, which he said is economical

compared to a situation where each telecommunications entity

builds out its own network.

Webb said those elements set the NRTC studies apart from other

efforts to improve broadband in the state.

In fact, Loup Power District CEO Neal Suess said Loup was already

looking into some of those options before committing the NRTC study

in the spring. “One of our guiding principles is to promote economic

development in our area,” Suess said.

Although it’s just a study, Suess said people in Platte, Colfax,

Nance and Boone counties would end up benefiting from any partnerships

that might come out of it.

“Our board really took a long term view,” Suess said. “We think in

the long run that this will really help with economic development,

especially in the ag community.”

Suess said Jim Scow on the Platte County Board of Supervisors

heard about the study from him and that's how the County got on


Pope said Platte County has been very proactive in its involvement.

“I think they understand, as a board, the importance of rural

broadband,” he said.

According to NPPD, Platte County has committed $5,000 to pay

for the study, while NPPD is covering $10,000 and Loup is contributing

another $5,000. Webb said the results of the study should be

back in the next few months.

WINTER 2020 | 15

2404 15th Street | PO Box 988

Columbus, NE 68602-0988





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