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A sweet solution

Contents On the cover: Electrical Service Designer John Quade, left, visits with Old Market Candy Shop co-owners Jeff Jorgensen and Mike Pivonka.


Hunting for Zebra Mussels


Outage Insight


Branching Out

Some employees are earning stripes, so to speak, for watching for signs of possible zebra mussel infestation. These pesky mollusks can clog a power plant’s water-intake system and cause big problems. Employees huddled together after restoring last summer’s network outage in the Old Market and found ways to improve service.


Trees and shrubs play an important role in the reliability and efficiency of electricity. OPPD foresters help educate the public about trees, including proper planting tips and other benefits.


Aiming Green


Ice Dreams



From adding more wind power to expanding its recycling efforts, OPPD continues to sharpen its focus on sustainability. The 2010 Sustainability Report details these, and highlights from the report are included here. Nick Oddo hones his hockey skills with the Omaha Lancers, with an eye towards a college career.



Anniversaries, retirements, deaths,, sympathies and retiree club notes.

Vol. 91, No. 2, March/April 2011 Published bimonthly by the Corporate Communications Division, Flash magazine provides OPPD employees and retirees with strategic industry- and job-related news, and human-interest articles about associates and their families. Flash is one of several tools that comprise our communication strategy. Employees and retirees can access timely OPPD news weekdays via OPPD News online. Flash Editor ............................... Paula Lukowski Associate Editor .............................Vicker Sykes Creative Director..........................Joe Comstock To contact the Flash editor: phone.............. 402-636-3759 email .............. address ............ OPPD, Flash, 3E/EP1 444 S. 16th St. Omaha, NE 68102-2247

Senior Management

Contributing Staff Chris Cobbs Jeff Hanson Mike Jones Laurie Zagurski

Django Greenblatt-Seay Sharon Jefferson Althea Pietsch Terry Zank

Reporters Randy Alsman Tim Ash Kim Barnes Sara Biodrowski Karma Boone Joanne Brown Cec Christensen Jeannie Corey Sharon Dickman Neal Faltys Rebecca Finn Kelly Fleming Anne Forslund Jennifer Gardner Natalie Ging Nancy Goddard Barbara Gullie

Jill Hanover Ed Howell Traci Hug Sharon Jefferson Debbie Jensen Terri Kelly Shelley Kendrick Melinda Kenton Suzanne Krajicek Becky Kruger Sharon Melody Doug Mickells Jamie Moore Shawn Moore Shelly Mruz Beth Nagel Karen Nelson

Chris Norris Rick Perrigo Trudy Prather Pam Price Lana Pulverenti Heather Rawlings Kathy Royal Terri Salado Peter Schiltz Karen Schutt Jim Shipman Jammie Snyder Kathy Stolinski Clint Sweet Vince Timmerman Dennis Vanek Dawn Varner

W. Gary Gates ........................................President Dave Bannister ................................Vice President Timothy J. Burke ..............................Vice President Mohamad Doghman .......................Vice President Edward Easterlin ..............................Vice President Jon Hansen ......................................Vice President Adrian J. Minks ................................Vice President

Board of Directors John K. Green ....................Chairman of the Board N.P. Dodge Jr............. Vice Chairman of the Board John R. Thompson. ................................. Treasurer Michael J. Cavanaugh .............................Secretary Anne L. McGuire. ..........................Board Member Lloyd Scheve .................................Board Member Fred J. Ulrich..................................Board Member Del D. Weber. ................................Board Member

Line Items Group Completes Generating the Future Course Nineteen employees got a taste of how best to deal with public power industry challenges as they participated in the Generating the Future course. “The course is designed to teach certain management skills and various aspects of the business that employees may not encounter in their day-to-day work,” said Angela Galloway, organizational development consultant in Human Resources. Participants attended two day-long sessions each month from September through December. During the sessions, senior managers gave their views of what hurdles OPPD faces.

Osler Wins Top Gun Award

Participants included, standing, from left, Jamie Kelly, Denise Kuehn, Mike Fitzpatrick, Jim Krist, Steve Osler, nuclear security officer II, won the 2010 DJ Jacobberger, Dennis McGranaghan, Mike Donahue, Dave Thiele, Tim Rauscher, Tom Burton, FCS Security Top Gun Award. The “Top Gun Compe- Jeff Hanson and Angela Galloway; seated: Doug Peterchuck, Doug Collins, Tim Vasquez, Cheryl tition” is an accumulated score of handgun qualifica- Limbach, Cherie Carlson, Jeff Karloff, Carl Simmons and Roland Castro. Not pictured: Ken Kingston. tion, rifle qualification, written exam, and a combat/ stress/tactical qualification course. Steve earned 795 of a possible 800 points through three trimesters of firearms qualification. Pictured from left, ManagerNuclear Security Al Clark, 2010 Top Gun Award Winner Steve Osler, and Supervisor-Security Training Terri Herman.

Skin Cancer Screenings OPPD is offering free skin cancer screenings in May and June at various OPPD locations. You can sign up via Employees who participated in the health screenings can earn SimplyWell Wellness Points for attending a screening. Friday, May 6

Papillion Center 7 – 9 a.m. Energy Plaza 9:45 a.m. – noon

Wednesday, May 11 Omaha Center 8 – 9:30 a.m. ECC/Communications/Metering Services 10 – 11:30 a.m. (at Metering Services) Friday, May 13 Friday, May 20

Syracuse Center 8:45 – 10:30 a.m. Elkhorn Center 7 – 9 a.m. North Omaha 10 a.m.– noon

Friday, May 27

Nebraska City 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday, June 15 Elkhorn Center 6:30 – 8:30 a.m. Fort Calhoun 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Not only are zebra mussels a menace to utilities’ water-intake systems, pipes, filters, screens and pumps, but they’re not very nice either. March/April 2011 Flash


Zebra Hunt OPPD isi kkeeping i a close l eye fforr signs i off possible infestation by zebra mussels while taking steps to protect water intake systems from dangerous clogging.

Zebra mussels are actually much smaller than shown above. Below, Matt Cole of FCS Plant Operations collects a water sample from the surface of the Missouri.

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If you shrunk a zebra to the size of a fingernail, gave it a hard shell and taught it to swim, the result would be the pesky marine organism known as a zebra mussel. Words like “ew” and “gross” come to mind. The better term would be “expensive,” since lots of money is being spent to monitor and limit the spread of zebra mussels. These little guys, a variety of mollusk, can live up to five years, reproduce like crazy and travel around the world, attached to the bottom and sides of commercial and recreational boats. They can present a menace to utilities by clogging water-intake systems. Pipes, filters, screens and pumps in both nuclear- and fossil-fueled plants can be seriously damaged by big clumps of zebra mussels. Dangerous blockages can occur when the mussels attach to structures and colonize in water-intake pipes, greatly reducing the flow of water (from the Missouri River, in the case of OPPD plants). The mussels produce a threadlike material that forms a large mat, which can be extremely hard to remove, sometimes resulting in clogged water-intake systems and heat exchangers and leading to failures of important plant components. Several utilities in the Great Lakes area have already run afoul of clogging by zebra mussels. Authorities believe the problems there resulted from trade and transport systems from Europe emptying ballast water into U.S. waters, releasing the mussels.

For more than 15 years, OPPD experts have been closely monitoring the spread and preparing plans for a possible infestation by zebra mussels. Locally, extra attention has been focused on the mussels, with their discovery in two lakes – Offutt Air Force Base Lake and Lake Zorinsky in Omaha. While cleanup efforts are under way in these lakes, OPPD continues intensive efforts to safeguard its plants along the Missouri River, including: • Carefully orchestrated monitoring programs in the river and along its banks. Monitoring activities include patrolling the banks once the Army Corps of Engineers drops the river levels in early winter, said Tony Costanzo, environmental specialist in FCS Plant Operations. OPPD chemists and environmental technicians walk the banks and tributaries, performing a close visual inspection for signs of zebra mussels. • Collection of samples when the weather warms in the spring, as the water temperature climbs to 60 degrees. Technicians collect surface water samples in a plankton net in the river channel. The water is sent to labs for analysis. In addition, OPPD has sent personnel to Great Lakes utilities to study ways to combat such organisms. A variety of methods have been tried to control zebra mussels. They can receive the shock treatment (electrolysis). They can be scalded with hot water. Shovels and high-pressure hoses are also employed to rid pipes and other structures of mussels. OPPD’s plan calls for using chlorination, should the organisms invade. One of the major issues with zebra mussels is their ability to reproduce in huge numbers. “They put out an unbelievable number when Continued on page 6

The quagga mussel is another type of biofouling organism. Map produced by the U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, October 20, 2010.

Striped Hitchhikers Zebra mussels are migrating to the U.S. by the boatload. Zebra mussels are not widely known in the general public, but they have been closely watched by biologists and other scientists since they first began invading U.S. rivers and lakes. Zebra mussels, which originated in Poland and the Soviet Union, first showed up in the U.S. in Lake St. Clair in 1988. Lake St. Clair is a small body of water connecting Lake Huron and Lake Erie in the Great Lakes. So how did these freshwater pests travel halfway around the world and eventually end up in Offutt Lake and Lake Zorinsky? The belief among experts is that they hitched a ride. First, they likely were picked up by European vessels that sailed to North America. Later, they latched onto the hulls or motors of recreational boats that were moved by trailers hitched to cars and trucks. Since their discovery in two local lakes, zebra mussels have

been subjected to differing strategies in aggressive efforts to quell the population, which can threaten recreational fishing and also pile up with sharp edges along the shore, leaving their sharpedged shells exposed. The long-term outlook is uncertain. At Offutt, a major cleanup effort was mounted after zebra mussels were found in 2006, said Mark Hansen, environmental affairs administrator. After treatment in 2007-2008, the lake was found to be clear in 2009, but the zebra mussels reappeared in 2010, he said. Meanwhile, zebra mussels made their way to Lake Zorinsky. In an effort to rid it of the organisms, the lake has been partially drained, and officials are hopeful winter ice will finish the job. However, Mark said, the outcome won’t be known for a year or more. Zebra mussels can be as stubborn as ordinary garden weeds or the flu bug, said Tony Costanzo, environmental specialist at Fort Calhoun Station. “Once you get them, you really can’t get rid of them,” he said. “They are so adaptable, they can’t be mitigated or defeated, only controlled.” March/April 2011 Flash


Outage Insight Employees huddled together after restoring last summer’s network outage in the Old Market and found many ways to improve service.

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Last summer, a fire in an underground cable vault temporarily put more than 100 customers out of business in the Old Market and surrounding downtown area. The fire was so intense that it took several hours for the vault to cool sufficiently before workers could enter, begin assessing the damage, and make repairs. Many customers had to close their business for the duration of the outage, which lasted nearly 30 hours. But as the situation unfolded, dozens of employees – including 13 cable splicers – hit the streets, not only to restore power, but also to help customers affected by the loss of power and to figure out how to prevent such incidents in the future. Once the underground vaults cooled and were safe to enter, T&D Operations cable splicers worked persistently to repair the damaged equipment. Others in System Operations, Distribution Engineering, Customer Sales & Service and elsewhere played integral support roles. Electrical service designers (ESDs) offered support and gave outage duration details to affected customers. At times, the ESDs helped customers with decisions regarding refrigerated items, security systems and reducing and shutting off load for safety reasons once power was restored. “All of the customers for this outage were great to work with and very understanding,” said ESD John Quade. “With the expected length of this outage, the decision to close for the entire day was obvious. What to do with their sensitive products was their biggest obstacle.”

Save the Chocolate “How OPPD responded was the difference between a good and bad outcome,” said Jeff Jorgensen, who co-owns the Old Market Candy Shop and also owns other Old Market businesses. “John and the others did a good job letting us know what was happening so we could make our plans,” Jorgensen said. Among Jorgensen’s priorities was saving his store’s supply of handmade chocolates and fudges, made lovingly in his quaint shop. Without air conditioning, the chocolates were at risk of melting. “Restaurants got food suppliers to come down with refrigerated trucks. Frankly, we don’t have a supplier that could have helped us in this manner, and moving the chocolates would have been difficult,” said Jorgensen. In addition to handmade candies, the candy shop also carries truffles from Vermont and hundreds of other types of candy. Jorgensen and his business partner, Mike Pivonka, came up with options. “We never like losing a day’s business, but we were happy to get going again,” Jorgensen said.

Improve Service Customers understood the situation, but the outage effects were far-reaching. Some patrons had to be turned away. Some Old Market

employees lost work hours. Sensitive food products had to be transported elsewhere to avoid spoilage. From OPPD’s perspective, there were additional concerns. The fact that the fire that triggered the outages broke out at 12:30 a.m., while most people were sleeping, further complicated the matter. “One of the biggest challenges at the onset of the outage was determining which customers were out of power,” said John. “The rest of the OPPD system attaches customers to a specific transformer. When there is an outage, the transformer can be identified in the computer program, BLIPS. It lists the number of customers, their addresses and contact numbers, making it easy to notify customers. However, since customers on the network are fed from multiple transformers, this information is not readily available.” “Early notification is key,” said John. “The Continued on page 6

Crews repaired damage in the underground vaults, which had to be vented.

Network Outage Improvement Teams Customer issues Jim Krist, lead Jeff Hanson Rick Kalina Patti Quinn-McGovern Jim Sobbing Reliability through design change and preventive maintenance Todd Culp, lead Greg Heine Todd McLochlin Dale Schneidewind Construction and isolate, repair, restore strategy Mike Godfrey, lead Rick Kalina Randy Koehler Dale Schneidewind Jim Sobbing Joann Bojanski, left, makes homemade candy at the Old Market Candy Shop. Jody Runte also works at the shop.

March/April 2011 Flash


proliferate,” said Mark Hansen, environZebra Hunt they mental affairs administrator in Environmental

“The Corps is currently conducting massive backwater restoration projects on the Missouri that will likely alter the habitability of the entire ecosystem and possibly create a more attractive environment conducive to biofouling infestation (zebra mussels),” Russ said. In addition, maps of areas along the Missouri show locations, mostly to the north, where there have been confirmed sightings, but not big infestations, Tony said. Areas to the north are largely in relatively unchanneled portions of the river, where water is clearer, the riverbed is wider, there is less debris and a lower velocity, a different environment from areas where OPPD power plants are located. Regardless, Tony harbors some concerns that zebra mussels could present a problem for OPPD. “These critters have been found to become highly adaptable to their environment over time, and they are resilient and prolific,” he said. By continuing to maintain a vigorous campaign of watchfulness and preparation, OPPD’s team of chemists, engineers, operators and maintenance workers are doing their best to reduce the risk and prepare to deal with any problems that may arise. By Chris Cobbs

you can give accurate outage informaOutage Insight sooner tion, the sooner the customer can make other

in similar situations in the future,” said Tom. Among their findings: • Notify all essential personnel at onset of outage. • Dedicate on-site personnel to serve as liaison between OPPD and customers. • Identify and notify affected customers in timely manner, which includes updating records in various systems. • Designate site coordinator when outage involves more than one cable splicer crew. • Modify underground inspection process to predetermine potential problems. • Increase minimum inventory levels for network cable. Lessons learned from last year’s network outage in the Old Market will go a long way toward improving service and reliability in the Old Market, as well as all across OPPD’s transmission and distribution systems. By Paula Lukowski

CContinued ti d from f page 2 & Regulatory Affairs. Research has disclosed that a female zebra mussel can produce between 30,000 and 1,000,000 eggs per year. Even with more than a decade of careful study, OPPD experts cannot be certain about the likelihood of a major infestation by zebra mussels. The Missouri is not likely to be a fertile area because it is so muddy and fast-moving, said Russ Baker, manager, Environmental & Regulatory Affairs. Zebra mussels have been found in other major rivers, including the Mississippi, Ohio and Illinois, but those rivers don’t have the same currents or level of sediment. The primary reason for optimism is that the mussels have not been found in concentrated numbers in the Missouri River near OPPD’s Tony Costanzo inspects a biofoulinggenerating facilities. sampling trap for signs of adult zebra “I don't think the river conditions near our mussels. power plants will support a big population,” Russ said. “I think the likelihood of finding them is low.” However, the Missouri River may become a more friendly environment to zebra mussels as a result of actions by the Corps of Engineers and Department of Interior.

Continued from page 5


Continuous Process Improvement

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The outage was perceived by the public to have gone smoothly. However, that long day brought several improvement opportunities to light. Tom Larsen, manager of the Omaha Center, and Blaine Dinwiddie, division manager of T&D Operations, sponsored an effort in which three teams critiqued the event. “Jim Krist’s team (Key Account Sales & Services) looked at impacts to the customers. Todd Culp’s team (Distribution Engineering) looked at improving reliability through design change and preventive maintenance opportunities. Mike Godfrey’s team (Substation & System Protection) evaluated construction and isolate/ repair/restore strategies,” said Tom. “After their review, these teams developed a list of improvement opportunities to use

From left, Mike Norris, Donnie Norwood, John Buckley, Dave Walsh and Chris Vrtiska manage OPPD’s tree education and much more.

Branching Out Trees and shrubs play an important role in the reliability and efficiency of electricity. Trees growing into power lines can cause momentary disruptions in service or widespread outages; however, trees also offer many benefits. With the help and guidance of OPPD foresters, trees and shrubs can help make a home more energy efficient, improve water and air quality, and increase property values. It’s all about proper planting and maintenance. OPPD foresters share their expertise on the following pages. March/April 2011 Flash


Safety and T&D Reliability Managing the growth of trees and shrubs near power lines and other electrical equipment is crucial to maintaining safe and reliable electricity for OPPD customers. “Tree and shrub encroachments pose severe safety concerns and can result in serious and fatal accidents,” said John Buckley, supervisor – T&D Maintenance Management in T&D Operations. “During storms, falling limbs or trees can

Above, David Walsh, utility forester and arboretum curator, works in the arboretum.

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bring down power lines. Trees interfering with power lines can also act as conductors, creating dangerous situations.” Low-voltage lines are located throughout OPPD’s service area and are often strung along neighborhood and city streets. Even with regular tree-trimming schedules, OPPD foresters must respond to many calls because of trees interfering with these power lines. Improperly planted trees and shrubs also may delay power restoration and pose safety concerns for crews working on the lines. Larger, high-voltage transmission lines bring electric power from power plants to substations. Even though the transmission lines are placed higher than distribution lines, it is extremely important to keep them free of tree branches because of their high voltage and line sag. No trees or shrubs should be planted under or near transmission lines to

prevent such problems as outages or fires. “Improper tree planting near power lines can result in outages and damage to wires and property,” said John. “These are all hazards that can be avoided by not planting tallgrowing trees under or near electric wires, and by routine tree trimming.” Padmount transformers, the metal utility boxes mounted on concrete slabs near many homes and businesses, are also affected by trees and shrubs. While many home and business owners are tempted to landscape near padmount transformers, it is important to consider the eventual size and spread a shrub or tree will reach at maturity. Fences, shrubs and trees located too close to transformers can slow restoration work during an outage or create a serious safety hazard when power is switched off. “The small tree you get from a nursery can grow rapidly and interfere with electrical equipment on your property or street,” said John. “Fortunately, when the proper considerations are taken, such as the type of tree and where it’s planted, trees can be a great benefit to you and the community.”

Who Says Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees? While improperly planted trees may cause frustrations when it comes to disruptions in your electrical service, if planted and maintained properly, trees can help conserve energy and reduce both heating and cooling costs. Planting trees so that they create shade on your house and driveway will make your home and yard more comfortable in the summer. A yard without shade can be 20 degrees hotter than a yard with lots of shade. A wellformed deciduous tree, planted to provide maximum shade on your home, can cut your air-conditioning costs by 10 percent or more and alleviate the load on your air conditioner during the hot summer months. Winter heating bills can also be reduced by the proper planting and maintenance of trees. Planting coniferous trees on the north or northwest side of your home can help block cold winds and shield outside work areas.

Donnie Norwood prunes a tree.

performance.” OPPD trims trees on a threeyear cycle. However, the cycle may change due to construction projects, customer and troubleshooter calls, and storms. OPPD contractors trim based Planted as windbreaks, these trees can reduce wind speed for a distance several times their height and, therefore, need not be planted close to dwellings to be effective. Planting conifer shrubs along the foundation of a building – a critical heat-loss point – also will reduce heat loss.

OPPD Foresters: The Experts OPPD foresters provide guidance to maximize the benefits of trees and work to ensure safe and dependable electric service for OPPD customers. OPPD has developed an awardwinning maintenance and education program that follows industry best practices. To provide for the welfare of trees, it is critical that pruning be done properly. OPPD employs a highly trained staff of foresters, who have experience in forestry or natural resources and are certified arborists with both the International Society of Arboriculture and the Nebraska Arborist Association. In addition, OPPD contracts with the professional line-clearance tree-trimming firms, Asplundh Expert Tree Company and Wright Tree Service. “These firms are required to be licensed to work in OPPD’s service area and must follow national arboricultural trimming standards,” said John. “Our foresters work with these firms to establish a maintenance schedule and to ensure proper tree-trimming

Trimming Methods

Side Cut: OPPD’s preferred trimming method, branches are trimmed back on one side so the power line is free of branches. This cut is the most aesthetically pleasing, the most efficient trimming method and the best for the tree.

on the following priorities: • Reports of electrical damage by trees • Areas in which trees have been damaged by storms • Periodic inspections by OPPD personnel • The regular tree-trimming cycle • Reports from customers indicating potential tree/power-line problems

Tree-Trimming Practices OPPD and its contractors adhere to the American Standards Institute woody plant maintenance standard. That includes using a “natural” trimming method, which means the branches are trimmed back to the natural point of growth. This speeds up the healing process, reducing the chances of insect and disease damage. “We trim to ensure safe and reliable electricity for OPPD customers, but the welfare of the tree is always a top priority,” said John. “Our tree-trimming practices allow the pruning cuts to heal more rapidly and promote a healthier regrowth of branches that are directed away from the power lines.” At right are illustrations of the types of trimming that OPPD performs. The style used depends on how the tree is placed in relation to the power line and the type of tree that is being trimmed. Continued on page 10

V Cut: Trims branches back toward the center of the tree crown, making room for the power line down the middle. This cut can be difficult to maintain. OPPD often encourages customers to remove trees being trimmed with a V cut, and offers a more compatible replacement tree.

Notch Cut: Removes branches from the upper tree crown so power lines can pass to the side and above the tree. The lower branches of the tree often make trimming difficult. In this situation, OPPD recommends doing a side cut instead. March/April 2011 Flash 9

Arbor Day Foundation

Wrong. Planting large trees under utility lines often results in distorted trees. Large evergreens close to the house on the south block warming winter sunlight.

Tree Promotion Program OPPD created the Tree Promotion Program in 1989 to promote the planting of trees, and to provide education concerning the value, selection, placement and welfare of trees. As part of this program, OPPD has established a tree-planting fund for the purpose of sponsoring community tree-planting projects. Nonprofit groups, organizations and schools can apply for the sponsorship. Since its inception, OPPD has provided approximately $1.04 million in funding for such projects, resulting in the planting of roughly 110,950 trees and shrubs.

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Right. Short flowering trees don’t clash with overhead utility lines. Large deciduous trees on the southeast, southwest and west provide cooling shade in the summer, and they don’t obstruct the low winter sun. An evergreen windbreak on the north blocks cold winter winds.

A Vegetation Education “While our foresters work closely with contractors to ensure trees are not interfering with power lines, they also have a surprising amount of customer contact,” said John. “Customer education is an important part of our jobs and is often our favorite part, too.” In 2010, OPPD worked with contractors to trim trees at 12,261 customer locations. Shayla McDonnell, operations clerk – Forestry, and the OPPD foresters received and responded to more than 2,000 customer/trouble calls. OPPD foresters often consult with customers on which trees to plant and where, to ensure safe, reliable electric service and customer energy- and cost-savings. OPPD took customer education a step further with the introduction of its arboretum (see page 13), which began development in 1991 and opened to the public in 2003. Located at 108th and Blondo streets in Omaha, the arboretum is a 26-acre facility containing more than 1,000 trees and shrubs of more than 200 different species. It includes two miles of walking trails and an outdoor classroom. A variety of resources are available for users of all ages. Viewing areas with different types of trees

planted near power lines and signage explaining different trimming methods are just two of the arboretum’s many educational tools. “The arboretum is a great way for us to teach customers about proper tree-planting and care, especially around power lines,” said David Walsh, utility forester and arboretum curator. “With the arboretum, we are also able to show children and adults the value of trees when it comes to energy conservation and beautification.”

The Right Tree, the Right Location When planted properly, trees can result in energy- and cost-savings, increased property values and healthier communities. When planting a tree, consider its appearance and how it will fit into your landscape. Consider how the tree will look when it matures. • Will it frame the house or seem too large? • Will it interfere with underground utility lines or above-ground distribution or transmission lines? • Will it block signage or sidewalks? Continued on page 12

The charts below provide guidance for homeowners and businesses on the selection and placement of trees to maximize their benefits and avoid potential hazards. Small Trees (can be planted adjacent to power lines) Tree Type Mature Height in Feet Dwarf Fruit Trees 20-25 Flowering Crab 10-25 *Red Bud 20 Purple Leaf Plum 20 *Hawthorn 15-25 Upright Juniper 10-20 Amur Maple 15-20 Medium Trees (plant no closer than 30 feet horizontally to power lines) Tree Type Mature Height in Feet *Hophornbeam 20-30 Chanticleer Pear 25-35 Golden Raintree 20-30 Amur Cork Tree 20-30 Black Hills Spruce 30-45 Large Trees (plant no closer than 50 feet horizontally to power lines) Tree Type Mature Height in Feet *Maple 50-70 *Oak 50-70 *Hackberry 60-70 *Sycamore 70-80 *Cottonwood 70-80 Shrubs Like trees, shrubs add color and variety to landscaping. Planted as a hedge, shrubs act as a noise barrier as well as a fence. Shrubs are also a primary food source and habitat for wildlife. The following shrubs reach mature heights of 8 to 15 feet and can be safely planted under power lines. *American Plum, Buckthorn, *Chokecherry, Coralberry, Cotoneaster, Dogwood, Elderberry, Firethorn, Honeysuckle, Snowberry, *Sumac, Viburnum (Cranberry). *Denotes native Nebraska trees and shrubs.

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Tree Line USA Utility The Arbor Day Foundation has recognized OPPD as a Tree Line USA Utility for 10 consecutive years. The Tree Line USA program is sponsored by the foundation, in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters. To receive the honor, utilities must have: • A program of quality tree care • Annual worker training in quality tree-care practices • A public education program that includes tree planting

Call Before You Dig Buried utility lines can also pose risks when planting trees. When you plant or do any digging project, remember that you are required by law to call the one-call center to request the location of underground utilities. Call the Diggers Hotline of Nebraska at 402-344-3565, 1-800-331-5666 or 811. Iowa residents should dial 811 or 1-800-292-8989. 12 Flash March/April 2011

Chris Vrtiska works as a utility forester, helping educate customers about trees.

Continued from page 10

All of these potential problems can be easily avoided by planting the right tree in the right location. Because distribution lines are strung through neighborhoods and along city streets, it can be nearly impossible to avoid planting trees or shrubs in the same vicinity. In some cases, it is acceptable for shorter trees to be planted near these distribution lines, but it is always best for the tree and power line maintenance to plant as far away from the line as possible. “We try to keep a clear zone around transmission lines – no planting under the lines or 10 feet out from the wires, to avoid any potential dangers that may occur when the trees interfere with the lines,” said Dave. By Althea Pietsch

Get a First-hand Look at OPPD’s Arboretum If you haven’t visited OPPD’s arboretum, plan an outing there this spring. Located at 108th and Blondo streets in Omaha, OPPD’s arboretum is a 26-acre facility containing more than 1,000 trees and shrubs of more than 200 different species. It includes two miles of walking trails and an outdoor classroom. The arboretum boasts a varied collection of trees, shrubs and other plants that have made it a popular spot for photographers. OPPD is encouraging arboretum visitors to share photographs they have taken there. Others are invited to view these images. To submit a picture, email it to Please don’t send photos larger than 2 megabytes. We also ask that you stipulate the submission is your own work and not subject to copyright protecSSchool Sc chho hooll aand ndd sscout coutt ggroups roup ups ps of ofte often fte tenn to tour urr O OPPD’s PPD’ PP D s 26-acre D’ 26-aacr cree ar arb arboretum. bore bore bo rettum tum tion. To view these photos, visit > aimgreen > trees > arboretum pictures.

These three images taken at OPPD’s arboretum were posted on

Arboretum Areas of Interest Electrical Safety Education Area: Provides a demonstration of the trimming methods used by OPPD's Forestry Department when pruning trees away from power lines. Also includes examples of tree/shrub species that can be planted adjacent to power lines. Substation Overlook: Explains the parts of the substation and how each part functions. Transmission Line Demonstration: Offers a walk through a transmission right-of-way to see the vegetation management practices OPPD uses to eliminate unwanted vegetation and promote the growth of desirable plants that attract wildlife. Shelterbelt, Wildlife and Erosion-Control Plantings: Contains tree and shrub plantings designed to attract wildlife and provide examples of soil and wind conservation measures through erosion control and windbreaks. Formal Planting Area: Emphasizes planting the right tree in the right place to avoid future tree/power line hazards. Visitors can see the types of trees that can be planted adjacent to power lines. Outdoor Classroom: Provides a classroom within a forested area surrounded by native tree species and connected to a hardsurface trail system.

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Growing Greener From adding more wind ppower to expanding its r recycling efforts, OPPD continues to sharpen its focus on sustainability. In his opening message in OPPD’s 2010 Sustainability Report, President Gary Gates defines sustainability as using resources wisely to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability to meet the needs of the future. Following are highlights from the three major sections of this report: Renewable Energy, Environmental Stewardship and Energy Efficiency. You can access the full report on > Aim Green > 2010 Sustainability Report.

RenewableEnergy OPPD has set a goal of having 10 percent of the electricity it sells to retail customers coming from renewable energy by 2020. At the end of 2010, OPPD had 102 megawatts (MW) of renewables, which represent 1.6 percent of OPPD’s total retail sales. By the end of 2011, OPPD should have 155 MW of renewables, 4.3 percent of retail sales.

Wind Power Petersburg: Construction is scheduled to start this spring on a 27-turbine wind farm near Petersburg, Neb., in Boone County. OPPD has an agreement with TPW Petersburg LLC 14 Flash March/April 2011

to buy up to 40.5 MW of generation from the facility, which is expected to be in service by the end of 2011. Flat Water: In late 2010, OPPD started taking delivery of generation from the Flat Water wind farm (shown below) in Richardson County, Neb. OPPD has a power purchase agreement for the total 60-MW capacity of this facility, which features 40 GE 1.5-MW wind turbines. Ainsworth and Elkhorn Ridge: OPPD has an agreement with the Nebraska Public Power District to buy up to 25 MW of wind energy from NPPD’s Elkhorn Ridge wind farm in Bloomfield, Neb., in Knox County, and up to 10 MW from NPPD’s Ainsworth wind farm in Brown County, Neb.

Landfill Gas OPPD’s Elk City Station landfill gas-to-energy plant at the Douglas County landfill burns methane and other gases given off by decomposing trash to generate a net output of 6.1 MW of electricity. Using these gases as fuel prevents them from being released into the atmosphere.

Solar Power OPPD is working with Creighton University (CU) to install three variations of solar power technologies – and three to four residential-size wind turbines – on the CU campus. One of the photovoltaic installations consists of traditional solar panels installed on canopy structures in one of CU’s parking lots. Another installation consists of thin film solar panels attached to a standing seam roof, using only adhesive material. The third installation is a traditional panel tracking system that follows the sun to maximize the amount of energy produced.

EnvironmentalStewardship Omaha Service Center Construction continues on OPPD’s new Omaha Service Center, being built near Eppley Airfield in northeast Omaha. The center will feature a 1.2-kilowatt (kW) vertical-axis wind turbine and a 60-kW array of solar panels. Scheduled to be complete this spring, the center is expected to qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. LEED is an internationally recognized third-party building-certification system that verifies a facility was designed and built to improve energy and water efficiency, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, improve indoor environmental quality, and demonstrate good stewardship of resources.

Electric Vehicle Readiness Much has been written about the potential impact of a growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) being plugged into the power grid. These cars include new battery-electrics like the Mitsubishi i, Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric, as well as plug-in hybrid EVs like the Chevy Volt. Although it may be years before such cars significantly penetrate the Omaha-area market, a team of employees laid the groundwork in 2010 to get OPPD EV-ready. To help educate its customer-owners on EVs, OPPD has launched a website,, set up a special phone line, 1-855-OPPD4EV (1-855-677-3438), and created a targeted email address,

Recycling Paper: At OPPD facilities where this is tracked, the volume of paper recycled increased from nearly 155 tons in 2009 to nearly 182 tons in 2010. Wood and Hard Plastics: OPPD recycled nearly 336 tons of these materials in 2010. At OPPD’s larger service centers and power plants, employees collect old pallets, tree limbs and construction wood for recycling. Broken power poles also are recycled if they have not been treated with creosote. Ash: At its North Omaha and Nebraska City Unit 1 coal-fired generating plants, OPPD reclaims fly ash and bottom ash – byproducts of the coal-combustion process – which are used in concrete, asphalt and soil-stabilization materials. Electronics: Since 2009, OPPD has had a contract for its ongoing effort to recycle waste electronic equipment. With this agreement, OPPD’s main supplier of computer workstations, laptops, monitors, etc., takes back any electronic waste items that OPPD purchased from them, at no additional cost.

OPPD Hybrid Vehicle Fleet OPPD’s vehicle fleet includes 31 gas/electric hybrids, including two plug-in passenger cars and an aerial basket truck used by line crews. Because the truck’s basket also can run off of battery power, idle time is greatly decreased, further reducing fuel use and carbon emissions. OPPD converted two of its conventional hybrid cars to plug-ins to test the advanced battery technology. Like other utilities, OPPD is trying to gain an understanding of the potential savings afforded by plug-in hybrids.

Information Technology During 2010, OPPD greatly reduced the number of its laser printers by installing multifunction devices (MFDs) that serve as printers, copiers, scanners and fax machines. This reduces energy use because, on average, four printers are removed for every MFD installed. The MFDs also produce up to 90 percent less waste from toner cartridges than traditional laser printers.

Bill-Payment Options OPPD continues to offer several environmentally supportive options to its customers for bill payment. In 2010, paperless billing grew to 16,500 customers and electronic billpayment reached an all-time high of 399,000 transactions. For those customers who continue to receive a hard copy of their bill, these statements are printed on paper produced through certified sustainable forestry practices.

Energy Efficiency: ResidentialCustomers Green Website & Project GreenFlick OPPD launched in 2008. It features practical energy-saving tips, information on topics such as recycling and electric vehicles, links to other green websites, and details on OPPD’s annual Project GreenFlick. March/April 2011 Flash


Through its GreenFlick competition, OPPD encourages Omaha-area high school students to create brief videos about energy-efficiency and the environment, with prizes going to the top three entrants and their school.

Energy Information Center

The OPPD Green Team launched a website that included reviews of eco-friendly cleaning solutions by “Mrs. GreenClean.”

OPPD offers continuing education courses in residential building science to real estate professionals and architects. The courses are designed to educate these professionals on new building technology and energy-efficient building practices. For our customers, OPPD provides an online energy-efficiency video library on its website, In addition to the videos, customers can find more energy-management tips online and at

OPPD Energy Advisor

104 from custom builders

The Energy Advisor team provides energymanagement information on a wide range of topics, such as lighting, insulation and weatherization, heat pumps, space heaters and power quality. OPPD energy advisors handled 3,338 customer contacts in 2010.

2009 ...............................975

Energy-Management Workshops

ENERGY STAR-Rated Homes in OPPD’s Service Area 2010 ...............................503

100 from custom builders

2008 ...............................565 40 from custom builders

To reach customers with special needs, including seniors, people with disabilities and those on fixed or limited incomes, OPPD participates in free public workshops. These ongoing events focus on wise energy use, low-cost weatherization techniques and energy-cost budgeting. The workshops also provide advice on how people can access community resources that are available to help them meet their energy expenses.

ENERGY STAR for New Homes Program Through this program, OPPD helps people make a smart investment by buying a home that is highquality, high-performing and environmentally friendly. OPPD works with professionals in the homebuilding industry to aid in the successful completion of an ENERGY STAR-rated home. Homes that earn the ENERGY STAR certifi16 Flash March/April 2011

cation meet rigorous guidelines for energy efficiency and are tested by an independent home energy rater.

Home Energy Audits OPPD established its Home Energy Audit program in 2006 to help customers take control of their energy use. For these audits, a certified energy rater conducts a blower-door test and uses thermal imaging to determine air leakage throughout the home. The customer receives a comprehensive report and recommendations specific to their home to improve the energy efficiency. The goal is that the homeowner will make improvements to reduce air leakage, thus reducingg their cing energy use and enhancing the home’s indoor air quality.

CFL Promotion Compact fluorescent nt lightbulbs (CFLs) use up to 75 percent less energy than incandes-cent bulbs. Thanks to effective marketing by certain retailers, OPPD’s promotion of CFLs via discount cou-pons produced strong results in the fall of 2010.

Watt Detector Kits OPPD is starting to partner with libraries in its service area to offer residents a tool to monitor energy consumption in their homes. Beginning with the Omaha Public Library in February 2011, Watt Detector Kits are available for check-out. These kits enable customers to measure energy consumption of appliances (as shown at right) and take steps to use energy more efficiently. Plans are to expand the program to other libraries.

Refrigerator Recycling Program With help from a grant from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, OPPD encouraged customers to recycle their old, inefficient, secondary refrigerators or freezers between August and October of 2010.

Customers were paid $35 for each of these appliances, which had to be operable to qualify. A total of 2,124 units were picked up at the customers’ home, and 95 percent of the materials that made up these appliances was recycled. Many of these appliances had been running in a garage, and they could have been using up to four times more electricity than a new unit. (Note: OPPD is repeating this program, starting this month.)

Energy Efficiency: CommercialCustomers Energy Commissioning & Optimization (ECO 24/7) OPPD’s commercial and industrial customers can take advantage of ECO 24/7, a service that uses patented technology to integrate and optimize heating and cooling systems and other energy-related systems to improve occupant comfort and minimize energy use. Typical energy savings range from 15 to 50 percent. Four ECO 24/7 projects completed in 2009 (the latest results available) saved 2.23 MW in reduced demand and 13,153 megawatt-hours in reduced consumption.

Commercial ENERGY STAR Challenge OPPD is taking the ENERGY STAR Challenge, a Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that involves tracking energy consumption at commercial buildings and making improvements to

through the ENERGY STAR Partner program. Our goals are to become the first utility to achieve this status and to gain hands-on experience for what it takes to become an ENERGY STAR Leader.

Lighting Incentive Program OPPD commercial and industrial customers will save a total of more than 8,000 megawatt-hours and about $500,000 each year, thanks to the 2010 Lighting Incentive Program. OPPD has expanded this program to include certain qualified LED and CFL replacements. This program provides monetary incentives to such customers for revamp2010 Commercial ENERGY STAR Results ing their lightENERGY STAR buildings ing with more energy-efficient ENERGY STAR Challenge participants systems. Such Benchmarked buildings increased energy Total square feet of ENERGY STAR space efficiency Total buildings represented at roundtables helps all OPPD customers by delaying the need to build expensive new power plants. OPPD reimburses retrofits, up to $20,000 per building per year.

57 25 709 6,997,196 388

Digi-RTU Optimizer Pilot

reduce overall energy usage by at least 10 percent. To set a strong example and to encourage its commercial and industrial customers in this direction, OPPD is pursuing Leader status

In 2010, OPPD launched its Digi-RTU Optimizer Pilot program. (RTU refers to rooftop units for air conditioning on commercial buildings.) This pilot has received grant funding from the American Public Power Association, due to the nature of its innovative technology. The pilot determined that Digi-RTU Optimizers can reduce peak demand up to 60 percent, daily kilowatt-hours up to 60 percent and compressor hunting (on and off cycle) up to 70 percent. By Terry Zank

March/April 2011 Flash


Oddo Family Handles Road Trips and Broken Sticks.

Ice Dreams

Hockey has become a family affair for Paul Oddo, whose son, Nick, plays for the Omaha Lancers.

18 Flash March/April 2011

Soccer moms, football dads and the like are aware of the time, money and sacrifice that come with their children’s passions. But what if it meant sending your kid to live with another family, in a different state, for four years? Paul Oddo and his wife, Michele, have always been hockey fans. They started taking their kids to games when the Lancers began playing at Aksarben in Omaha. “They liked it a lot,” said Paul, a field supervisor in T&D Operations. “When my eldest (Andy) was old enough to try hockey, we didn’t know any better, so we gave it a shot.” Nobody would have guessed that Paul’s younger son, Nick, would spend the majority of his high school years away before returning home an Omaha Lancer.

Falling in Love Paul’s family caught the bug, quickly. While hockey may not be the most popular sport, it has some of the most dedicated fans. “Once you start watching, and when you get involved, it catches you and you’re stuck,” said Paul. “There’s a certain camaraderie there. Some of our best friends are hockey people.” When Nick began to play hockey, the entire Oddo family’s lifestyle changed. From tryouts and practices, to home games, road trips and broken hockey sticks, the Oddo’s made Nick’s passion their own. Nick grew up playing hockey on various teams in Omaha before moving to Kansas City, Mo., at age 15 to play for Russell Stover, a AAA team. AAA players are typically work-

ing to make good impressions on scouts for United States Hockey League teams, such as the Lancers and Lincoln Stars. The USHL is the top junior ice hockey league in the U.S., for players 20 years of age and younger. The league is strictly amateur, allowing former USHL players to compete in NCAA college hockey. Most AAA players who are playing away from home live with a host family. Nick said it was different at first, going into someone else’s house and learning their rules, but that it was a fairly easy transition. “I lived with two different families in Kansas City, and they were pretty much identical to my family,” he said. “They had kids my age, and I became good friends with them. That made everything a lot easier.” Nick’s parents came to the majority of his Russell Stover home games in Kansas City, as well as some away games in Chicago and elsewhere. “We played in Nebraska and Iowa, for the most part, so it was good to be able to see them at most games,” Nick said. “Andy tried to convince our parents to let him play hockey away from home, but I think since he was their first child, they were a little more protective,” said Nick. “I pushed them harder. I wouldn’t stop asking. I played on a summer team with the kid I ended up living with my first year in Kansas City. My parents got to know that family, so I think that made them feel more comfortable with the idea.”

Going to Kansas City After Nick’s freshman year at Millard North, he enrolled in Olathe East High School. Nick’s time in Kansas City helped expose him to a few USHL scouts. On his way to a USHL tryout in Kearney, Neb., for the Tri-City Storm, he got a call from the Cedar Rapids Roughriders coach, asking him to try out there. “We were surprised he made the team at such a young age,” said Paul. “He went there hoping to learn something and ended up on the team.” Paul said Nick’s host family situation in Cedar Rapids was the best they could have asked for.

“The family actually requested Nick after meeting him during games the previous summer,” he said. “They are the best, nicest people. We’re still good friends with them.” Nick spent his senior year at John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, along with 11 of his teammates. “It was nice to know a lot of people, immediately,” said Nick. “My housing brother was only a year younger than me, and his friends were really nice, so I made friends with them, as well.” That’s not to say Nick had much time for anything other than hockey. With daily practice and games every weekend, hockey has been somewhat of a full-time job for him. He played for the Roughriders for two years before coming over to the Omaha Lancers in a trade in 2009. “It was great for us. He’d been gone for four years,” Paul said. “Since he came back, everything’s started to fall into place. He’s playing really well.” Nick is currently taking a few community college classes, being careful not to hinder his NCAA eligibility. There are several offers on the table for Nick to play college hockey. Paul says his son just has to decide what he wants to do. “I fell in love with the game right away,” said Nick. “Yeah, it’s hard knocks sometimes, but you get to be around your friends every day. It’s just a good thing to get involved in.”

“Once you start watching, and when you get involved, it catches you and you’re stuck.” - Paul Oddo Field Supervisor, T&D Operations

By Django Greenblatt-Seay Nick Oddo plays center for the Omaha Lancers.

March/April 2011 Flash


People January-February Service Anniversaries 35 Years Luis Cantu, Production Engineering & Tech. Support Bryon Meador, Production Operations

30 Years Trudy Prather, T&D Operations George Sinos, Information Technology

25 Years James Geschwender, Nuclear Engineering Wayne Gilsdorf, Production Operations Diane Reisdorff, Customer Service Operations Thomas Tedesco, T&D Operations

20 Years Terrance Haite, T&D Operations

15 Years Scot Dasovic, T&D Operations Terry Holz, T&D Operations Brian Langel, Production Operations

10 Years Eric Allen, Substation Operations Ryan Anderson, Substation Operations Christopher Anzalone, Substation Operations Christopher Barna, Substation Operations Robert Carrera, Production Operations

William Collins, FCS Plant Operations Kurt Effken, Facilities Management Jason Esser, Economic Development Kirk Estee, Production Operations Barry Felton, Substation Operations William Flegg, Facilities Management Lucas Haner, Energy Marketing & Trading Michael Hayes, Production Operations Ronald Heaney, FCS Plant Operations William Larson, Facilities Management Justin Lawrence, Customer Sales & Service Dwight Nielsen, Substation Operations Shawn Rolfzen, Production Operations Roger Shipley, Production Operations Vern Smolinski, FCS Plant Operations Delbert Stratton, Production Operations Nathan Sturm, Production Operations Charles Welchert, Substation Operations Marion Williams, Customer Service Operations

5 Years Gary Andersen, Production Operations Christopher Angland, Substation Operations Brian Bates, Facilities Management Jason Bergman, Production Operations Donald Blair, Facilities Management Gerald Durham, Nuclear Performance Improvement & Support

Retiree Club News El-Po-Co

High Voltage Club

The Winter Dinner and Dance on Saturday, Jan. 8, was a rousing success. The steaks were melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the chicken was pretty good, too. The DJ rocked the house with a good crowd on the dance floor. We’ll be back at Embassy Suites to do it again on Jan. 14, 2012… Speaking of future outings, the dates for 2011 are April 14, July 14, Sept. 8 and Nov. 10 at locations to be decided… Club officers elected for 2011 are: Chris Norris – president, Tom Muff – vice president, Dave Huston – secretary, and Todd McLochlin – treasurer. - Chris Norris

The January and February luncheons were well attended… We were honored to have Board Member Fred Ulrich speak in January… Maxine and Don Pachunka returned from an Arizona get-away. While there, they visited Don’s brother in Peoria, Maxine’s sister in Tempe, and Patsy and Vern Coontz, retired, in Surprise, Ariz. They also stopped in Laughlin, Nev., since they were so close. No report on the outcome there… Pam Nowak will travel to Nazareth, Pa., to spend Easter with her daughter and family. While there, Pam and her daughter, Tammy, will attend an annual women’s retreat. They will also celebrate her grandson’s 9th birthday. - Sharon Dickman

SPARCS SPARCS celebrated its 25th anniversary with an outing at the KROC Center. Dawn Varner put together a great historical slide show. Four charter members were present: Stella Jacobsen, Ed Guthrie, Rita Curran and Rosary Sorensen. On Feb. 24, we attended a melodrama called Two Gun Terror or Where's the Beef? On April 18, we will have lunch at Johnny's Cafe, with guest speaker President Gary Gates. On June 23, we will see Guys and Dolls at the Omaha Community Playhouse. In July, we are attending an Omaha Storm Chasers baseball game. Remember, you can be retired from OPPD or have 25 years of service to join SPARCS. Hope to see you at our outings. - Dennis Vanek

20 Flash March/April 2011

Eric Eggink, Nuclear Performance Improvement & Support Matthew Eveland, Nuclear Performance Improvement & Support Andrew Frye, Production Operations James Gubbels, Human Resources Tracy Guptill, Production Operations Shawn Holle, Production Operations Ronald Jefferson, Information Technology Emily Judevine, Production Operations Jeremy Kellner, Production Operations John McClain, Nuclear Performance Improvement & Support Ryan McConnell, Production Operations Patrick McDermott, Customer Service Operations Carmen Mendenhall, T&D Operations Francois Ngudia, Corporate Accounting Bradley Percifield, T&D Operations Justin Robinson, Nuclear Performance Improvement & Support Bart Schramm, Production Operations John Stroy, Production Operations Fernando Valenzuela, Facilities Management Steven Wessling, Production Operations Clinton Zavadil, Production Operations


Joe Green, retired, for the death of his father, Ed Green. Jim Kirkpatrick, retired, for the death of his son, Jeffrey Kirkpatrick. Brenda and Lloyd Williams Jr., Omaha Center, for the death of Lloyd’s father, Lloyd Williams Sr., on Jan. 13. Aaron Prohaska, Omaha Center, for the death of his grandmother, Maxine Humphrey, on Feb. 6. Bernie Saucier, retired, for the death of his mother, Loretta Saucier, on Feb. 7. Al Weis, Substation & System Protection, for the death of his grandfather. Terry Koperski, Substation & System Protection, for the death of his mother. Ryan King, Substation & System Protection, for the death of his grandfather. Dave Zebert, Substation & System Protection, for the death of his grandfather. Zach Johnston, Protection & Automation Engineering, for the death of his wife’s grandfather. Mike Lutz, Substation & System Protection, for the death of his wife’s grandmother. Pam Czech, Substation & System Protection, for the death of her daughter, Angie. Eric Allen, Substation & System Protection and Casey Malskeit, Protection & Automation Engineering, for the death of Eric’s father-in-law, Casey’s uncle. Jody Cain, Information Technology, for the death of her mother, Leona Kentzelman, on Jan. 22.

February Retirements James I. Smith, manager – T&D Integrated Work Management, T&D Operations, retired Feb. 1 with 13 years of service. Jim joined OPPD in 1997 as manager – Customer Care Services, Customer Information Services Division. Patricia A. Leithoff, technical clerk I – Nuclear Administrative Services, Nuclear Performance Improvement & Support, retired Feb. 1 with 21 years of service. Pat joined OPPD in 1989 as a junior clerk in Plant Administration, Nuclear Operations. William E. Redinger, senior production operations engineer – Design Engineering & Construction, Production Engineering & Technical Support, retired Feb. 1 with 32 years of service. Bill joined OPPD in 1978 as an engineer – Mechanical Department, Generating Station Engineering. Richard E. Westcott, manager – Quality, Quality Assurance & Quality Control, retired Feb. 1 with 12 years of service. Rick joined OPPD in 1998 as a senior nuclear design engineer in Nuclear Engineering. David J. Vaughan, working crew leader – steamfitter mechanic, Nebraska City Maintenance, Production Operations, retired Feb. 1 with 28 years of service. Dave joined OPPD in 1982 as a utility man – Nebraska City Operations, Production Operations.

March Retirements Merl R. Core, manager – Nuclear Projects, Nuclear Construction & Project Management, retired March 1 with 32 years of service. Merl joined OPPD in 1978 as an engineer in Electrical Maintenance, Production Operations.

Daniel J. Moriarty, shift supervisor – NC, Nebraska City Operations, Production Operations, retired March 1 with 34 years of service. Dan joined OPPD in 1976 as a helper in North Omaha Operations, Production Operations.

Larry P. Hopkins, nuclear engineer – Engineering Programs, Nuclear Engineering, retired March 1 with 22 years of service. Larry joined OPPD in 1989 as a senior production planner – FCS Maintenance, Nuclear Operations. John H. Meyer, nuclear security technician – Security Services, Nuclear Performance Improvement & Support, retired March 1 with 32 years of service. John joined OPPD in 1978 as a sergeant in Fort Calhoun Administration, Production Operations.

Deaths Private family services were held in January for Thomas J. Netzel. Tom joined OPPD in 1967 as a utility worker in the Line Department. He retired as line maintenance technician - T&D Project Management. He is survived by his wife, Ingrid; children, Chris and wife Lynda, Jeff and girlfriend Kimberly, Heidi and husband Jimmy Dyser, Jeremiah and wife Brandi; 4 grandchildren, father-in-law Joe Cavalieri; twin brother Ted and wife Connie, many other relatives. Services were held Jan. 20 in Omaha for Jackson G. Boeder, 72. Jack joined OPPD in 1976 as a journeyman machinist and retired in 1997 as a first class machinist in Fort Calhoun Station maintenance. Jack was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Eleanor Boeder. He is survived by his wife, Joan; brother and sister-in-law, Tom and Carol Leigh Boeder; son, Mark Boeder; daughter and son-in-law, Cindy and Darrell Hodge; stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, Darin and Joni Karstetter; grandchildren, Brittney, Sarah, Amanda and Justin; and great-grandson, Keagan. Services were held Jan. 6 in Council Bluffs for Arlene H. Eckes, 82, shown in a 1994 photo. Arlene joined OPPD in 1958 as a stenographer specialist in the Home Services Department and retired in 1994 as a department secretary in Customer Service Operations. Arlene was preceded in death by her parents, Guy and Fern Conkling; husband, Robert Eckes; brothers, Clarence and Delbert Conkling; and nephew, Tommy Conkling. She is survived by a daughter, Sue Ericksen; sons, Robert (Cindi) Eckes and Michael (Nancy) Lauver; 10 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; nieces and nephews. Services were held Feb. 2 in Omaha for Larry L. Greer, 69, shown in a 1991 photo. Larry joined OPPD in 1960 as a utility worker at the Jones Street Station and retired in 1997 as a working crew leader in Central Maintenance. Larry is survived by his wife, Cleo; children, Kerry Takeda, Kimberly Greer, Kristin and husband, Nate Custer; granddaughters, Greer and Anna Behnke; sister and brother-in-law, Sharron and Jon Potable. Services were held Feb. 5 in Omaha for Vicki A. Musgrave, 47. Vicki joined OPPD in 2000 as a financial analyst in Risk Analysis & Assessments, Corporate Auditing, and held the same position at the time of her death. Vicki is survived by her husband, Tim; daughters, Courtney and Nicole; parents, Bill and Earlene Riley; brother and sister-in-law, Tim and Karen Riley; sister, Rebecca Riley; many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins. Services were held Jan. 4 in Omaha for Mary Skahill, 83, shown in a 1983 photo. Mary joined OPPD in 1958 as a stenographer and clerk in Customer Accounting and retired in 1989 with 31 years of service as an accounting clerk. Mary was preceded in death by her parents, William and Nellie Tighe; and sister, Patricia Hammer. She is survived by a nephew, Donald “DJ” Hammer; nieces, Mickey (Charlie) Moriarty, Jean (John) Livingston, Kathy Nepodal and Mary Ernst; seven great nieces and nephews, nine great-grand nieces and nephews.

March/April 2011 Flash




444 South 16th Street Mall Omaha, Nebraska 68102-2247 Address Service Requested

Project Core Team

Larry Ciecior, right, is leading the Smart Grid project.

Employees Getting Schooled on Smart Grid More than 70 employees are serving on one or more of 15 committees that are researching topics related to the smart electric grid, as listed at right. Smart grid is a name for an ever-widening palette of utility applications that enhance and automate the monitoring and control of electrical distribution. Some utilities have started to offer such applications, however, development of technology, equipment and programs – and how these work together – is in the infancy stage and many standards have yet to be set. The purpose of this evaluation effort is to develop a road map and timeline for integrating a smart grid into T&D Operations and Customer Service Operations. “Our goals are to identify the business objectives and benefits for the customer and OPPD, to determine the infrastructure and actions needed for implementation, and to develop the business cases that will help determine priorities for specific stages of implementation,” said Larry Ciecior. Larry, who retired Nov. 1 from System Planning & Cost Management, has agreed to lead this project as a consultant, at the request of Vice Presidents Tim Burke, Adrian Minks and Mo Doghman, project sponsors. Over time, smart grid technology will greatly affect the industry, and this team is setting a foundation for the future.

Deeno Boosalis, manager of Business Strategy & Analysis Cynthia Buettner, division manager of Customer Service Operations Blaine Dinwiddie, division manager of T&D Operations Jim Karnik, manager of Pricing & Forecasting Services in Planning & Budgeting Services Dean Mueller, division manager of Sustainable Energy & Environmental Stewardship Tim Nissen, division manager of Substation Operations Steve Schmitz, division manager of Information Technology Aaron Smith, supervisor of Distribution Planning in T&D Planning Jim Helmberger, Substation Operations Dawn Petrus, Planning & Budgeting Services

Smart Grid Committee Topics • Behind-the-Meter Devices • Billing System Modifications • Charging Stations • Communications Infrastructure • Distribution Management System • Developing Rate Strategies • Home Area Networks • IT Integration Software & Services • Integration Devices for Distributed Generation, Renewables, Etc. • Meter Data-Management System • Mobile Computing/Global Positioning Systems • Smart Line Devices • Smart Meters, Including Prepaid Meters • Substation Automation • Website Development

March/April Flash  

OPPD employee magazine.

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