Winter 2024 Generator

Topics in this issue include a 2024 rate increase, a lineman's perspective on the power restoration, and 2024 EnergyWise incentives.

Topics in this issue include a 2024 rate increase, a lineman's perspective on the power restoration, and 2024 EnergyWise incentives.


Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.


a publication of Loup Power District WINTER <strong>2024</strong><br />

Behind the Scenes:<br />

Power Restoration<br />

<strong>2024</strong> Retail Rates<br />

EnergyWise Incentives


Bob Cerv<br />

Chairman<br />

Jim Donoghue<br />

First Vice Chairman<br />

Mike Fleming<br />

Second Vice Chairman<br />

Rich Aerni<br />

Secretary<br />

Dick Tooley<br />

Treasurer<br />

Alan Drozd<br />

Steve Heesacker<br />

Larry Zach<br />



Loup Power District identifies electricity rates based on cost of service<br />

while keeping our customers and our communities front and center. As a<br />

not-for-profit company, Loup does not answer to remote shareholders and<br />

is not driven by a profit motive. Revenues are invested right back into the<br />

company and communities.<br />


Neal Suess<br />

President/CEO<br />

Walt Williams<br />

Vice President,<br />

Accounting & Finance/CFO<br />

Todd Duren<br />

Vice President,<br />

Corporate Services<br />

Korey Hobza<br />

Vice President, Engineering<br />

Dan Hellbusch<br />

Vice President, Operations<br />

The Loup <strong>Generator</strong> is<br />

published quarterly<br />

as a service for Loup<br />

employees, families,<br />

friends, and associates.<br />

For feedback, story ideas,<br />

and submissions, contact:<br />

Stacy Wemhoff<br />

Communications Coordinator<br />

402-562-5711<br />

swemhoff@loup.com<br />

ADD UP ALL THE COSTS. Loup conducts a cost-of-service study to<br />

determine the revenue requirement — how much revenue is required<br />

to maintain financial stability. The costs are separated into three areas:<br />

power supply and transmission, distribution, and customers.<br />

DIVIDE REVENUE REQUIREMENTS by customer class — commercial,<br />

industrial, residential. The cost-of-service study identifies how and when<br />

each class uses energy, and how the utility incurs costs from each class.<br />

The study identifies the amount to recover through customer, demand,<br />

and energy charges for each customer class, and how costs vary by time of<br />

day or season. This amount is then compared with the rates for each class.<br />

FACTOR a rate adjustment strategy into a financial plan. The plan takes input<br />

from management and the Board of Directors and lays out a strategy for<br />

how rates should be implemented in the future. The plan ensures adequate<br />

revenues are recovered for each class of customer and explains how each<br />

rate component (customer, energy, demand) should vary over time.<br />

BALANCE the recommended rates with the governing body’s input and<br />

community objectives. Loup’s managers present the rate study to the Board<br />

of Directors. The Board decides whether the proposed rate structure meets<br />

the needs of the community and the utility’s revenue requirements.<br />

FINAL RATE. The newly set rates go into effect on<br />

customers’ monthly bills.<br />


president’s message<br />

Construction cost increases<br />

affecting the bottom line<br />

As I have mentioned in previous columns,<br />

Loup Power District is working hard on many<br />

facets of economic development, including<br />

looking at new, large loads that might be<br />

located within Loup’s service area.<br />

With these new loads comes increasing<br />

investment necessary to serve these loads,<br />

which could provide financial challenges.<br />

During the budgeting process for <strong>2024</strong>,<br />

Loup management laid out detailed one-and<br />

six-year construction budget estimates to<br />

provide long-term financial information to<br />

the Board of Directors.<br />

Loup is looking at a significant increase in<br />

construction budget costs in the near future,<br />

specifically for 2025, 2026, and beyond.<br />

What are the reasons for these increased<br />

construction budgets? There are several<br />

factors involved:<br />

• NEW LARGE LOADS — These new loads<br />

create the need to expand existing<br />

infrastructure to provide service to these<br />

facilities.<br />

• LONGER LEAD TIMES — It’s taking long<br />

to purchase vehicles, transformers, and<br />

general supplies.<br />

• INFLATION — There are continuing<br />

increases in inflation across all facets of<br />

the electric utility industry.<br />

How can the District deal with these<br />

increases in costs that are occurring? There<br />

are four ways to handle this:<br />

• Borrow money to provide a longer time<br />

period to recover costs from all Loup<br />

customers.<br />

• Review and update customer service<br />

policies to provide security deposits/aid in<br />

construction for those customers creating<br />

the need for new infrastructure.<br />

• Modify and increase rates to collect<br />

additional dollars to cover the cost of the<br />

new construction.<br />

• Reduce cash reserves on hand, although<br />

these are currently near record-low levels.<br />

Loup management and the Board of<br />

Directors are reviewing all of these options<br />

and trying to balance out what would work<br />

best for Loup and our customers.<br />

NPPD recently updated its transmission<br />

extension policy to require a security deposit<br />

for new loads creating additional infrastructure<br />

needs.<br />

Loup management and the Board are<br />

discussing similar options on the distribution<br />

side.<br />

Unfortunately, rate increases will also be<br />

part of the conversation. While these are<br />

never easy to implement, please remember<br />

that Loup’s current rates are 30.3 percent<br />

below the national average and 9.5 percent<br />

below the Nebraska average, which puts<br />

us in the lowest tenth percentile both<br />

nationally and statewide. That is something<br />

to be proud of and to promote.<br />

Management and the board have been<br />

working extremely hard over the past<br />

several years to stay ahead of what we<br />

know is coming. By staying ahead of these<br />

changes, we can keep rates at a reasonable<br />

level while maintaining Loup’s financial<br />

health.<br />


President/CEO<br />

WINTER <strong>2024</strong> | 3

CCC Club<br />

Cleans<br />

Tailrace<br />

Central Community College’s Students 4 Sustainability<br />

(S4S) club came to Loup Power District’s Tailrace Park in<br />

November to clean litter.<br />

The group empowers students to make sustainable<br />

changes in their lives through campus projects, local<br />

community efforts, and peer education.<br />

The campus-wide club has around 50 members, with<br />

eight to 10 who regularly attend monthly meetings.<br />

The club officers are interns for the Environmental<br />

Sustainability Office at CCC. Ben Newton, Sustainability<br />

Director at CCC, serves as advisor.<br />

S4S President Deandra Rodriguez said the club<br />

gives members the opportunity to share ideas for<br />

environmentally sustainable projects and learn about<br />

resources to help them implement those ideas.<br />

Club members volunteer at campus and community<br />

events, such as highway cleanup. They also engage in<br />

gardening and sustainability projects.<br />

Rodriguez suggested litter cleanup at the Tailrace<br />

because she spent time there as a child fishing with her<br />

dad, uncles and great-grandpa.<br />

She saw an opportunity for her club after a recent visit.<br />

“I noticed how horrible the litter was getting and<br />

wanted to help clean it,” she said. “Another main reason<br />

why I wanted to clean it is because I wanted to help prevent<br />

further pollution in the water’s ecosystem.”<br />

Loup provides trash receptacles and collection at each<br />

of its five parks. However, not all visitors throw their<br />

litter away. Temporary summer employees help maintain<br />

the parks wiith mowing and trash cleanup. But those<br />

employees usually return to college after summer break.<br />

Over the years, several groups and clubs have<br />

volunteered to assist Loup in cleaning parks in the spring<br />

and fall.<br />

4 | GENERATOR<br />

Top: William (Ash) Gordman.<br />

Middle: Gregory Davidchik and Byron Madrigal.<br />

Bottom right: Deandra Rodriguez.<br />

Bottom left: Neve Newton and Benjamin Newton.

Get smart about lighting your home<br />

A simple flip of the switch is no<br />

longer the only choice for illuminating<br />

our homes. While we still have this<br />

tried-and-true option, we’ve entered<br />

a new era of innovative and intelligent<br />

technologies.<br />

Wi-Fi-enabled smart lighting<br />

offers an array of cutting-edge<br />

functionality and convenience.<br />


Most smart bulbs utilize LED<br />

technology, which is much more<br />

efficient than traditional incandescent<br />

lighting. Additionally, smart lighting<br />

gives you more control over how and<br />

when you light your home, ultimately<br />

resulting in less energy used for<br />

lighting.<br />


Most smart bulbs can be controlled<br />

from an app on your smartphone<br />

or can be paired with your voice<br />

assistant, like Amazon Alexa.<br />

You can conveniently control<br />

lighting settings from anywhere in<br />

your home or when you’re away.<br />

Whether you want to set a schedule for<br />

lighting or adjust brightness levels,<br />

these smart options offer effortless<br />

control no matter where you are.<br />


Bright, warm, purple, green—<br />

smart lighting can help you create any<br />

mood.<br />

For a more traditional look, try<br />

dimmable white bulbs. If you want<br />

to create the perfect ambiance for<br />

movie night, look for bulbs that can be<br />

adjusted for a variety of vibrant colors.<br />

The possibilities are endless.<br />

While smart lighting offers<br />

convenience and control, keep in mind<br />

your wall light switch will need to stay<br />

in the on position for you to control<br />

the smart bulb from your phone or via<br />

voice command. With the switch on,<br />

the bulb receives power, enabling it to<br />

connect to a Wi-Fi network.<br />

If you need additional options for<br />

operating lights, consider a smart<br />

light switch. Today’s smart switches<br />

play nicely with smart bulbs. If you<br />

want to control your smart bulbs with<br />

a physical switch (in addition to using<br />

your phone and voice commands),<br />

look for smart switches that include<br />

a built-in feature that allows both.<br />

Many smart light switches include<br />

motion detectors as well.<br />

If you’re looking to take the plunge<br />

and integrate multiple smart bulbs to<br />

your home lighting system, your best<br />

bet may be a kit, like the Philips Hue<br />

Starter Kit. Most kits include several<br />

bulbs and any additional tools you’ll<br />

need to get started.<br />

If you’re new to smart home tech<br />

and looking to start small, try a<br />

smart bulb in a high-traffic area of<br />

your home. It’s also worth noting<br />

that smart plugs are a great starter<br />

option and allow convenient control<br />

of lamps or other lighting fixtures that<br />

are plugged in to a wall outlet. Smart<br />

plugs are inexpensive and simply plug<br />

in to your existing outlet. Electrical<br />

items that are connected to the smart<br />

plug can be controlled from a smart<br />

phone app, just like smart bulbs.<br />

Whether you’re looking for more<br />

convenience, colorful options, or<br />

better ways to manage energy use,<br />

smart lighting can provide multiple<br />

benefits.<br />

WINTER <strong>2024</strong> | 5

Columbus Area Children’s Museum Display<br />

features Columbus Powerhouse<br />

Columbus Area Children’s Museum Sneak Peak! This water<br />

feature highlights the Loup River and Loup’s own Columbus<br />

Powerhouse. Kids can build dams, test their fishing skills,<br />

and play with the water spigot, water vortex, plumbing<br />

simulator and more!<br />

The exhibit also includes education on watersheds, wildlife,<br />

and variable rate irrigation.<br />

Other exhibits at the museum include Kidstown with a market,<br />

medical clinic, theater, and mechanic garage. There will<br />

also be a two-story Corn Climber, interactive farm display,<br />

sensory room, and outdoor play area.<br />

The water exhibit is sponsored in part by Lower Loup<br />

Natural Resources District and Lindsay Manufacturing.<br />

Learn more at columbuslearnandplay.org<br />

Share the warmth this winter<br />

Many of us take a warm house for granted. Others face winter knowing they<br />

can’t afford to heat their homes. Loup Power District established the HEAT<br />

HELPER FUND with the goal of helping people stay warm.<br />

Loup customers can donate to the fund by adding a few dollars to their Loup<br />

payment or by writing a check directly to Heat Helper Fund and sending it to PO<br />

Box 164, Columbus, NE 68602-0164. Donation receptacles are also available at<br />

Loup offices.<br />

Donations are tax deductible and are handled locally through Columbus<br />

Emergency Relief, Inc. There are no administrative fees so 100 percent<br />

of donations are used to pay electric heating bills for Loup<br />

Power District customers in Boone, Colfax, Nance and Platte<br />

Counties and part of Madison County.<br />

Columbus Emergency Relief, Inc., is located at 3020 18th<br />

Street in Columbus and provides emergency help with<br />

utility, housing, medical and transportation needs.<br />

Call 402-564-4184 for more information.<br />

WINTER <strong>2024</strong> | 7

Behind the Scenes:<br />


“How long is it going to take?”<br />

Those are familiar words to all<br />

who work in the electric industry. It’s<br />

the first question people have when<br />

the lights go out. And it doesn’t take<br />

long to realize how dependent we<br />

are on electricity.<br />

But what does it take to get<br />

those lights back on? Why does it<br />

sometimes take hours?<br />

Most people will never witness the<br />

behind-the-scenes work that goes<br />

into ending outages, so we’re going<br />

to explain the process.<br />


Your electricity travels a great<br />

distance to your home. It all starts<br />

with generation. The fuel can be<br />

natural gas, diesel, coal, hydro,<br />

wind, solar, or nuclear. A power<br />

plant typically produces voltages of<br />

less than 30,000 volts. That voltage<br />

needs to be “stepped up” so it can<br />

travel long distances. That process<br />

starts next door in the power plant’s<br />

substation and switchyard. In the<br />

substation, a transformer steps up<br />

the voltage to 345,000 volts and<br />

sends it out on transmission lines to<br />

another substation.<br />

When the electricity hits the next<br />

substation, a transformer reduces<br />

the voltage to 34,500 volts and sends<br />

it out to smaller local substations.<br />

These local substations are the<br />

final stop before the electricity<br />

reaches your home. There, a<br />

transformer reduces the voltage to<br />

12,740 volts.<br />

Just before entering your home,<br />

yet another transformer steps down<br />

the voltage to 120/240 volts so you<br />

can operate all the devices that<br />

power your life.<br />

This scenario repeats itself<br />

constantly throughout Loup Power<br />

District’s territory covering more<br />

than 2,200 square miles.<br />

There are thousands of poles<br />

and nearly 900 miles of distribution,<br />

transmission, and underground lines.<br />

While we work hard to maintain all<br />

that infrastructure, Mother Nature<br />

can cause a lot of problems if she<br />

wants to.<br />

Just like your home, our system<br />

has breakers. They help us reduce<br />

the exposure of the line and allow<br />

us to split our system into sections<br />

to reduce the amount of people<br />

affected by outages. Breakers also<br />

protect equipment on the line.<br />

Ever wonder why your lights blink<br />

a few times before going off? That’s<br />

the breaker. It operates a few times<br />

trying to give the fault a chance to<br />

clear the line before opening.<br />


It doesn’t take long for Loup<br />

employees to learn about an outage.<br />

New technology alerts us right away.<br />

And we are also ready to respond<br />

when bad weather threatens our<br />

territory.<br />

Humphrey Local Superintendent<br />

Joe Hubenka said he usually starts<br />

getting calls shortly after an outage.<br />

Customers ask what happened and<br />

how long the outage will last.<br />

And while he wants to answer<br />

those questions for them, there’s no<br />

way to do so with any certainty.<br />

“You never know until you get<br />

there,” he said. “There’s no lineman<br />

who has ever diagnosed something<br />

from his home.”<br />


An after-hours outage requires<br />

line technicians to respond from<br />

home.<br />

After learning of an outage,<br />

Hubenka usually heads to the<br />

Humphrey office and calls Journey<br />

Line Technician Jared Hoefelman to<br />

join him.<br />

By the time he gets to the office,<br />

he most likely has gotten an update<br />

from one of the Plant Operators at<br />

the Columbus Powerhouse.<br />

He gathers his equipment and<br />

jumps in the truck to head to the<br />

general area of the outage.<br />

If it’s on the other side of his<br />

division, the drive alone can take<br />

more than 30 minutes.<br />

He has an idea of where the<br />

problem is, but he has to patrol lines<br />

to pinpoint the exact cause of an<br />

outage — for example, a broken pole<br />

or a fallen tree branch.<br />

Checking the line takes time. It’s<br />

one of the more time-consuming<br />

steps, but also one of the most<br />

important parts of restoring an<br />

outage.<br />

Line techs can’t just flip a switch<br />

and restore the power. That can<br />

be dangerous for many reasons.<br />

Re-energizing the line in certain<br />

scenarios could be dangerous to the<br />

public and cause more damage that<br />

extends the outage.<br />

“Public safety is of utmost<br />

importance,” Hubenka said.<br />


Once Hubenka finds the cause of<br />

an outage, he has to get a game plan<br />

for repair and power restoration.<br />

Does he need any additional<br />

equipment? Will the repair require an<br />

aerial lift or a digger truck?<br />

Is the repair something that can<br />

be done safely? Or are the weather<br />

conditions too dangerous?<br />

Hubenka said his goal is to restore<br />

power as quickly as possible.<br />

But in addition to public safety,<br />

he must consider his own safety and<br />

that of other employees.<br />

These safety procedures add time,<br />

but they are vital. It’s how line techs<br />

survive a dangerous job so they can<br />

go home to their families.<br />

“We have to follow our safe<br />

practice procedures,” Hubenka said.<br />


Let’s say a 50-foot oak tree fell<br />

through a line. Even though it is<br />

causing an outage, it only broke a<br />

crossarm so the pole is still good. The<br />

wire isn’t broken but is under the<br />

tree.<br />

Line techs have to chop the tree<br />

and free the wire. Anyone who has<br />

cut up a downed tree will understand<br />

the danger. You have to be careful<br />

and pay attention to the tree and<br />


how it’s sitting on the ground.<br />

Downed trees can shift and roll while<br />

being cut.<br />

In addition, the power line is<br />

under tension, pinned down by the<br />

tree. Sometimes power lines must be<br />

tied down so that they can be let up<br />

in a more controlled manner once<br />

the tree is cut.<br />

In other scenarios, employees<br />

might decide to temporarily brace a<br />

broken pole until they can get a new<br />

pole and digger truck to the site in<br />

daylight. They might need to call in<br />

additional help from other areas of<br />

the District for widespread damage.<br />


Once all repairs are made, the<br />

line is re-energized and power is<br />

restored. This process and time<br />

frame is always different.<br />

The one thing that is consistent is<br />

that employees work hard to ensure<br />

reliability. Loup line crews always do<br />

their best to get the lights back on as<br />

quickly and safely as possible during<br />

outages that are often caused by<br />

factors beyond control.<br />

It is the same all across Nebraska<br />

— the only state in the nation<br />

served completely by public power<br />

utilities.<br />

In fact, Nebraska was recently<br />

ranked number one in the nation for<br />

reliability.<br />

And that’s something that<br />

Hubenka is<br />

proud of. He has<br />

spent 45 years<br />

working in the<br />

power industry<br />

and knows that<br />

public power<br />

works. It offers<br />

customers low<br />

rates and high<br />

reliability.<br />

“Why fix<br />

something that<br />

works?” he said.<br />


Humphrey Local Superintendent<br />

WINTER <strong>2024</strong> | 9




The electric grid is considered one of the most<br />

complex machines in the world, delivering the<br />

electricity we need for everyday life.<br />

step 1<br />


Power plants generate electricity<br />

using a variety of energy sources,<br />

like solar, natural gas, nuclear<br />

and wind energy.<br />

step 2<br />

STEP-UP<br />


A step-up transformer<br />

increases the voltage<br />

to push the electricity<br />

over long distances.<br />

step 3<br />


High-voltage electricity<br />

travels over long distances<br />

through these lines.<br />

step 5<br />


These substations lower the voltage<br />

again so the electricity is ready to<br />

travel on distribution lines.<br />

step 6<br />


Lower-voltage electricity<br />

travels through distribution<br />

lines, like the ones you<br />

typically see on the side<br />

of the road.<br />

step 4<br />



Voltage is lowered at a<br />

transmission substation<br />

so electricity can travel<br />

across the local<br />

distribution system.<br />

step 7<br />


A transformer located on the ground or a utility<br />

pole reduces the voltage a final time, then<br />

electricity is sent inside your home, school, or business.<br />


Board approves retail rate increase<br />

The Loup Power District Board of<br />

Directors approved a 3.5 percent retail<br />

rate increase at its monthly December<br />

meeting. The increase comes amid<br />

increasing material prices and supply<br />

chain issues.<br />

“Even with the retail rate increase,<br />

Loup’s retail rates remain among the<br />

lowest in Nebraska and the nation,”<br />

said Loup Board Chairman Steve Heesacker.<br />

Loup’s overall rates are 30.3 percent<br />

below the national average and 9.5<br />

percent below the Nebraska average<br />

based on data from a 2021 American<br />

Public Power Association survey. This<br />

places Loup in the lowest tenth percentile<br />

both statewide and nationally.<br />

Loup’s average residential customer<br />

will see an annual increase of about<br />

$60 for electricity costs, although the<br />

exact amount depends upon seasonal<br />

rates and usage.<br />

Before voting to increase retail<br />

rates, Board members reviewed<br />

current rate levels for all classes of<br />

customers as well as budgeted revenue<br />

and expenses. In addition, management<br />

performed a retail cost-of-service<br />

study.<br />

As part of this review, the Board<br />

analyzed purchased power costs<br />

from Nebraska Public Power District<br />

(NPPD), Loup’s wholesale power supplier,<br />

and anticipated future costs.<br />

Loup has seen an increase in material<br />

costs in recent years coinciding<br />

with nationwide supply chain issues<br />

and inflation pressure. In addition,<br />

Loup is projecting a large increase in<br />

construction projects in the next six<br />

years due to anticipated load growth.<br />

Rich Aerni, chairman of Loup’s Rate<br />

Committee, said the Board worked<br />

with management to successfully keep<br />

rates steady between 2018 and 2022.<br />

Loup was able to do that despite the<br />

2019 storm that damaged the District’s<br />

hydroelectric system and the<br />

impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in<br />

2020 and 2021. Loup is still working<br />

to recover approximately $5 million<br />

in construction costs from the federal<br />

government for repairs made to the<br />

hydroelectric system from the 2019<br />

storm. This has affected the District’s<br />

cash position.<br />

“With the increase in construction<br />

and material costs, the Board<br />

felt it was prudent to implement this<br />

increase in retail rates to maintain<br />

Loup’s financial health,” Aerni added.<br />

Energy or kilowatt-hour (kWh)<br />

usage and seasonal usage patterns<br />

are always the determining factor in a<br />

customer’s bill. Customers in all rate<br />

classifications have opportunities to<br />

reduce their costs by taking advantage<br />

of numerous programs offered by<br />

Loup.<br />

These programs include energy<br />

incentives and home energy audits.<br />

For more information on Loup’s retail<br />

rates and energy-saving programs,<br />

visit Loup’s website at loup.com.<br />

Average Price for Residential Electricity October 2023, in cents per kWh<br />

Loup’s<br />

retail rates<br />

are<br />

30.3%<br />

below the<br />

national<br />

average and<br />

9.5%<br />

below<br />

Nebraska’s<br />

average.<br />

CA<br />

26.7¢<br />

WA<br />

11.3¢<br />

OR<br />

13.2¢<br />

NV<br />

14.6¢<br />

AK<br />

24¢<br />

ID<br />

12.2¢<br />

UT<br />

11.2¢<br />

AZ<br />

14.5¢<br />

MT<br />

13¢<br />

WY<br />

12.5¢<br />

CO<br />

14.5¢<br />

NM<br />

14.5¢<br />

HI<br />

42.7¢<br />

ND<br />

11.7¢<br />

SD<br />

13¢<br />

NE<br />

11.8¢<br />

KS<br />

13.7¢<br />

TX<br />

14.7¢<br />

OK<br />

13.3¢<br />

MN<br />

15.3¢<br />

IA<br />

13.4¢<br />

MO<br />

12.4¢<br />

AR<br />

12.7¢<br />

WI<br />

17.1¢<br />

IL<br />

15.8¢<br />

MS<br />

LA<br />

13.7¢<br />

11.9¢<br />

MI<br />

19.1¢<br />

IN<br />

15.2¢<br />

KY<br />

13¢<br />

TN<br />

12.6¢<br />

AL<br />

15¢<br />

VT: 22.1¢<br />

NH: 25.8¢<br />

MA: 28¢<br />

RI: 31.8¢<br />

CT: 29¢<br />

OH<br />

16¢<br />

Residential Average Price<br />

(cents per kilowatt-hour)<br />

More than 14¢<br />

Less than 14¢<br />

PA<br />

18.4¢<br />

14.5¢<br />

GA<br />

13.8¢<br />

FL<br />

15.5¢<br />

NY<br />

22.7¢<br />

WV<br />

VA<br />

15.1¢<br />

14.3¢<br />

NC<br />

14.8¢<br />

SC<br />

ME<br />

29.1¢<br />

NJ: 17.5¢<br />

DE: 17.5¢<br />

MD: 18.4¢<br />

DC: 18¢<br />

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration. Numbers rounded to nearest tenth of a cent.<br />

WINTER <strong>2024</strong> | 11<br />

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration: Average Price of Electricity by State, October 2023

are you<br />

Check out these energy-saving incentives!<br />

Smart Thermostat Program<br />

If you have a home Wi-Fi connection and a central<br />

air-conditioning or heat pump system, you<br />

may qualify for an incentive of up to $100 for a<br />

qualifying smart thermostat.<br />

Smart thermostat technology is most beneficial<br />

for households that have extended periods during<br />

the day when no one is home. It is also a great<br />

option for homes that have irregular occupancy<br />

through the week, month or year.<br />

Attic Insulation<br />

Residential customers who have 6"<br />

or less of attic insulation and electric<br />

heating systems are eligible for an<br />

incentive of 30¢ per square foot if they<br />

add at least 6" (or an additional R-19)<br />

of insulation to their attic space.<br />

The maximum incentive amount is $600<br />

per dwelling.<br />



Primarily Electric Heat (Professionally Installed) $100<br />

Primarily Electric Heat (Customer Installed) up to $75<br />

Primarily Fossil-Fuel Heat (Professionally Installed) $50<br />

Primarily Fossil-Fuel Heat (Customer Installed) up to $25<br />

Induction Cooktop<br />

The Induction Cooking Program<br />

offers a 20% incentive to those<br />

who purchase an induction<br />

cooktop or range with a minimum<br />

width of 30 inches.<br />

Electric Vehicle & Charging Station<br />

• $500 for installation of a residential ChargePoint Wi-Fi-enabled charging station.<br />

• Up to $600 for in-home pre-wiring for future installation of an electric vehicle<br />

charging station ($400 for new construction).<br />

• Commercial Conduit — 100% reimbursement incentive (maximum of $1,000)<br />

for new commercial construction for the installation of conduit to be used for a<br />

future public electric vehicle charging station.<br />

• Commercial Charging Station: Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC) must be<br />

preapproved before equipment is ordered. Charging stations must be available<br />

for public use 24/7.<br />

For Non-Profit Organizations: 90% reimbursement for the installation of an<br />

EV charging station.<br />

For All Other Businesses: $200/kW of charging<br />

station capacity. Incentive is capped at 50%<br />

of charging station cost.<br />


High Efficiency Heat Pump<br />

Your heating and cooling system is likely the largest user of energy<br />

in your home. A new heat pump will provide both comfort and lower<br />

energy bills and you can receive a rebate up to $3,300.<br />

Option 1: Direct incentive<br />

The homeowner selects a qualified heat pump — minimum 15 SEER,<br />

12.5 EER, and 8.5 HSPF, or a variable-capacity heat pump.<br />

• The installing contractor completes startup testing and signs the<br />

application.<br />

• The homeowner also signs the application and submits it to Loup<br />

Power District.<br />

• Loup will provide the incentive directly to the homeowner.<br />

Option 2: Low-Interest Loan Program<br />

You can finance your new heat pump<br />

system at a low interest rate through<br />

a partnership with the Nebraska<br />

Energy Office and about 600<br />

financial institutions throughout the<br />

state as an alternative to a direct<br />

incentive.<br />

Customers cannot proceed with<br />

the installation until the Nebraska<br />

Energy Office has processed the loan<br />

paperwork (this can take as many as<br />

10 business days).<br />

Homes built within the last five years<br />

are ineligible for the loan, but owners<br />

can apply for the incentive.<br />

Lawn & Garden<br />

Advances in battery technology have come<br />

a long way in recent years.<br />

More power is being packed into batteries<br />

so your lawn and garden tools can easily<br />

handle any job<br />

• 20% incentive on any new batterypowered<br />

or corded electric lawn mower,<br />

snowblower, chainsaw, or tiller.<br />

• Electric riding, walk-behind, and robotic<br />

mowers are eligible.<br />

• Incentive amount is based on purchase<br />

price (installation, taxes, delivery/<br />

shipping, and setup costs are NOT<br />

eligible).<br />

• Chargers and additional battery<br />

purchases are eligible for the incentive<br />

if they are purchased at the same time<br />

as the mower.<br />

Heat Pump Water Heater<br />


Air Source Heat Pump Water Heater UEF > 1.9 $400<br />

Water or Ground Source<br />

Heat Pump Water Heater<br />

COP > 2.8 $650<br />

Cooling System Tune Up<br />

Residential customers are eligible for a<br />

$30 yearly incentive when they have their<br />

cooling system tuned up by an HVAC<br />

contractor.<br />

Air conditioners and heat pumps are<br />

eligible.<br />

Industrial & Agricultural Incentives<br />

Industrial customers can receive incentives for a variety<br />

of energy-saving projects including prescriptive and<br />

custom lighting, commercial HVAC and HVAC system<br />

optimization, industrial processes, variable frequency drives,<br />

and heat pump water heaters.<br />

Incentives are available to ag customers who replace<br />

irrigation outlet components or install a corner pivot<br />

VFD. The Custom Agriculture Incentive Program helps<br />

offset the costs of energy efficiency improvements for<br />

unique programs including grain conditioning, animal<br />

husbandry, building upgrades, and more.<br />

Learn more about these<br />

programs at loup.com<br />

or by calling Greg Badstieber<br />

at 402-562-5718.<br />

This program is offered in<br />

partnership with Nebraska<br />

Public Power District.<br />

WINTER <strong>2024</strong> | 13

Communities receive more than $1.5 million<br />

Loup Power District delivered lease payments totaling more than $1.5 million to area communities. Each of these<br />

communities owns their electric distribution systems. These payments compensate them for the use of those<br />

systems for the third quarter of 2023. Communities use the funds for a variety of public projects.<br />

Payments:<br />

Columbus—$1,182,926.49<br />

Platte Center—$9,372.75<br />

Monroe—$9,308.55<br />

Tarnov—$1,262.82<br />

Creston—$5,252.39<br />

Humphrey—$28,264.24<br />

Lindsay—$51,559.29<br />

Cornlea—$1,677.22<br />

Newman Grove—$18,444.93<br />

Duncan—$15,999.04<br />

Fullerton—$36,346.37<br />

Genoa—$25,640.24<br />

Belgrade—$3,554.17<br />

Richland—$2,264.98<br />

Howells—$18,089.54<br />

Leigh—$14,978.40<br />

Clarkson—$19,303.50<br />

Albion—$55,829.02<br />

Cedar Rapids—$13,169.82<br />

Primrose—$1,376.02<br />

Petersburg—$10,824.78<br />

St. Edward—$19,750.83<br />

Total — $1,545,195.39<br />


Storekeeper<br />

Brian Klevemann<br />

has joined Loup<br />

Power District as<br />

Storekeeper.<br />

In his new role,<br />

Klevemann’s duties<br />

include purchasing,<br />

storing, and issuing<br />

materials and stock<br />

for projects across<br />

Loup’s service area.<br />

These materials<br />

include power poles, connectors, and<br />

wire.<br />

Klevemann is a graduate of Lakeview<br />

High School. He and his wife, Heidi,<br />

have two daughters: Tessa, 17, and<br />

Brinlee, 13.<br />


Line Technician<br />

Grant Meyer<br />

joined Loup<br />

Power District as<br />

a Line Technician<br />

in 2022.<br />

He is member of<br />

the crew that is<br />

responsible for<br />

the construction,<br />

operation, and<br />

maintenance of 1 YEAR<br />

electric transmission<br />

and distribution systems and<br />

substations in the Albion Division.<br />

Meyer is a graduate of Norfolk High<br />

School and earned a degree in Utility<br />

Line from Northeast Community<br />

College.<br />

14 | GENERATOR<br />



Utility Arborist Technician<br />

Jeremy Moore of<br />

Columbus joined<br />

Loup Power District<br />

as a Plant Operator<br />

in 2019. In 2023,<br />

he transferred to<br />

Utility Arborist at the<br />

Columbus Service<br />

Center.<br />

He is responsible<br />

for safety assisting<br />

fellow crew<br />

5 YEARS<br />

members with utility<br />

line clearance tree removals. He also<br />

handles ground work in tree removal,<br />

construction, and operation and maintenance<br />

of the District’s electric system.<br />

Moore is a graduate of Cedar Rapids<br />

High School. He and his wife, Carri,<br />

have three sons — Talon, Parker, and<br />

Barrett.<br />


Journey Line Technician<br />

Trey Hamling joined<br />

Loup Power District<br />

as a Journey Line<br />

Technician in 2022.<br />

He is member of the<br />

crew that is responsible<br />

for the construction,<br />

operation,<br />

and maintenance<br />

of electric transmission<br />

and distribution<br />

systems and substations<br />

in the Columbus Division.<br />

1 YEAR<br />

Hamling earned a degree in Utility Line<br />

from Northeast Community College. He<br />

and his wife, Sabrina, live in Columbus.<br />


Headworks Operator<br />

Jesse Hoffmeister<br />

joined Loup Power<br />

District in 2019 as<br />

Maintenance Technician<br />

at the Genoa<br />

Headworks. He was<br />

promoted to Equipment<br />

Operator in<br />

2020 before being<br />

named Headworks<br />

Operator in 2023.<br />

Hoffmeister is responsible for operating<br />

and maintaining heavy equipment<br />

at the Genoa Headworks. He also<br />

performs general canal and hydrorelated<br />

maintenance.<br />

Hoffmeister is a graduate of St. Edward<br />

High School. He and his wife, Haylee,<br />

have two sons — Mason and Ryker.<br />


Maintenance Technician<br />

Kurtis Knopik joined<br />

Loup Power District<br />

as a Maintenance<br />

Technician at the<br />

Genoa Headworks<br />

in 2023.<br />

5 YEARS<br />

He is responsible for<br />

maintaining District<br />

parks, facilities, and<br />

equipment. He also<br />

assists the Dredge/ 1 YEAR<br />

Maintenance Canal<br />

Technicians and serves on the dredge<br />

during the dredging season.<br />

Knopik is a graduate of Fullerton High<br />

School and earned an associate’s<br />

degree in electrical construction from<br />

Northeast Community College.


LED bulbs use 90% less electricity than<br />

incandescents and up to 60% less<br />

energy than fluorescents for the same<br />

amount of light. Many fluorescent<br />

lights will not even operate below 10°F.<br />

In contrast, LEDs slightly increase their<br />

light output the colder it gets.<br />

tips for an energy-efficient<br />

GARAGE<br />

A typical two-car garage measures 480 square feet,<br />

or about 20 percent of the size of the average U.S.<br />

home. Yet, it is often the least insulated and sealed,<br />

uses the least efficient lighting, and is home to<br />

older appliances.<br />

Consider a few of the following projects to keep<br />

your energy use from going through the roof.<br />


Many older homes (and even some newer<br />

ones) were not built with insulation in the walls<br />

of the garage. While most have outside siding,<br />

sheathing and a layer of particle board to keep<br />

elements out, these materials do little to retain<br />

heat. Insulating can be as easy as tacking<br />

fiberglass insulation between exposed joists. If<br />

your garage walls are finished, blow in insulation<br />

through a small hole in the drywall or paneling.<br />



If your garage is attached to the house, this door<br />

is often a major source of cold air coming into your<br />

home. If your garage is detached, it may be letting<br />

much of your garage heat escape. Check to ensure<br />

weather-stripping is installed around the entire door<br />

frame, and that it’s intact, pliable and provides a snug<br />

seal. Also, ensure your threshold and door sweep are<br />

sealing the bottom.<br />


Even some garages with properly-insulated walls were<br />

constructed with an uninsulated garage door. This negates<br />

much of the benefit from insulated walls. A new, insulated<br />

door will cost several hundreds of dollars or more, but will<br />

provide a clean appearance. A lower-cost solution is to<br />

purchase foam board insulation and install it on the inside<br />

panels of your existing doors. Remember, you must cut the<br />

foam board to a size a little smaller than your garage door’s<br />

panels so it doesn’t smash together with insulation on other<br />

panels as the door rolls up and down.<br />



Most garages were not built using compressible foam between the<br />

lower framing and concrete floor. Over time, this connection swells,<br />

shrinks and moves, leaving spaces that allow air from the outside to<br />

leak in. Use a foam sealant or a latex/silicone-based caulk to seal this<br />

often overlooked area.<br />


If you have an older model refrigerator or freezer in your garage, it may cost more money for you to<br />

operate it over time than it would to invest into a new unit. Although the energy savings are smaller<br />

in the winter, consider how hot your garage becomes in the summer. Some people move their old<br />

televisions to the garage, too. Older televisions can use up to 10 times more energy than newer<br />

models. If you use these older appliances quite a bit, consider purchasing a new ENERGY STAR<br />

appliance. If you are not ready to replace the old one, at least unplug it when not in use to save<br />

electricity.<br />

WINTER <strong>2024</strong> | 15

2404 15th Street | PO Box 988<br />

Columbus, NE 68602-0988<br />

HEAT<br />

PUMP<br />

& AC<br />

$<br />

$<br />

$<br />

SMART<br />


$<br />

ATTIC<br />


WATER<br />

HEATER<br />

$<br />





Learn more about our incentives and rebates<br />

for energy-efficient home improvements inside.<br />

$ ELECTRIC<br />



$ ELECTRIC<br />

LAWN<br />


Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!