June 15 Board Meeting Agenda

Here’s a quick synopsis of the board meeting agenda for Thursday, June 15.

The board meeting proper (where we actually vote on matters) is pretty straightforward. We have three action items.

SD-15: Enterprise Risk Management Monitoring Report
As a reminder, the board is asked to vote on whether OPPD is “sufficiently compliant” with each of its strategic directives on an annual basis. This month we're reviewing SD15. See relevant documents here.

Retirement Plan Appointment of Investment Manager
One of our most important roles as board members is that we hold fiduciary responsibility for the organization. Part of which means we vote on appointments of investment managers. In this case, we’re being asked to approve the appointment of Harrison Street Real Estate Capital and PGIM Real Estate as private real estate investment managers for OPPD’s retirement plan. See relevant documents here.

Fort Calhoun Station Dry Cask Storage Campaign
There are 944 fuel assemblies in “wet storage” at Fort Calhoun that will need to be transferred into dry storage. The Board is being asked to authorize management to negotiate and enter directly into a contract without bringing it back to the board for approval. Once the contract is signed, management will report back to the board as an information item. See relevant documents here.

There are several other items that will be discussed during our 10am committee meeting. Here’s the committee meeting package. Here are the highlights:

  • Our standard nuclear oversight committee and decommissioning reports
  • Our standard monthly financial update
  • We’ll hear a state legislative update, which will mostly consist of a summary of the interim studies planned
  • Summary of four contracts over $500k that were issued in May. They include:
    • $2.5 million to Motorola for 2017 portable radios & repeaters upgrade
    • $600k to the NDEQ for Nebraska Air Emission 2017 Fees for Nebraska City Station
    • $1.2 million to Westinghouse for decommissioning fuel characterization services
    • $1.5 million to McKinsey for an integrated energy platform contract. I learned a bit about this scope of work, and it looks like it might be really interesting.
  • Report on severance agreements executed due to decommissioning at Fort Calhoun
  • We’ll receive another update on how the July 24 board retreat is shaping up. As a reminder, we will be revisiting and potentially refining some of our policies. If you have any comments or questions about OPPD's strategic directives, please let me know. I would greatly appreciate input and feedback.

In closed session, we will receive updates on the following:

  • Union negotiations
  • Wind purchase power
  • Corporate officers compensation
  • Quarterly Enterprise Risk Management update

May 11 Board Meeting: Agenda

Here are the goods for May 11 board meeting. As always, this is a draft. I'll share the final agenda once it's firmed up. It will be here once available. 

CFO Hire
We'll be discussing Tim Burke's recommended hire for CFO in closed session and then voting on his/her compensation during the board meeting. I'm excited we're moving forward on what is undoubtedly a very critical hire. Here's a recent OWH story about the finalists

Union Negotiations
We'll be getting an update on the status of negotiations in closed session. The current contract expires on May 31, 2017.

Strategic Directive 2: Competitive Rates
As a reminder, the board is asked to vote on whether OPPD is 'sufficiently compliant' with each of its strategic directives on an annual basis. This month we're reviewing SD2: Competitive Rates. 

Board Policy Workshop Session Framework
The board will be spending a full day together on July 24 to review and refine our strategic directives. I've asked several questions the past few months to try and get a better understanding for how the day will be structured and informed, how it will flow, and what will occur afterwards. We'll learn more about the session framework at our May 11 committee meeting. 

If you have any comments or questions about OPPD's strategic directives, please let me know. I would greatly appreciate input and feedback.   

More Topics
Other board action items include:

  • Approving a contract to purchase steel transmission structures for the Elkhorn River Valley Transmission Project (≈ $4.4million)
  • Approving a contract for the purchase of two substation autotransformers (≈ $4million)

There are several reporting items (only discussed in committee (10am) meeting, not at the 4pm board meeting) to note. They include:

  • 1Q legal fees and expenses report (≈$318k)
  • 1Q report of retirement plan funds performance
  • Report of claims settlements in excess of $50,000 (there were two)
  • Our standard nuclear oversight committee and decommissioning reports
  • Legislative update
  • Contracts in excess of $500,000 (one to En Point Technologies Sales LLC for a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement)
  • Siting and routing update
  • Nebraska City 2 ash landfill update 

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments. I'd love to hear from you, both in advance of and following the meeting(s). 

cm@craigmoody.org or 402-681-9458

April 13 Board Meeting: Agenda

Update as of 4/12/17: Please note, the final committee meeting and board meeting agendas are now final and have changed slightly. You can find them at the links below:

Committee meeting agenda

Committee meeting package (all the good stuff)

Board meeting agenda (looks pretty light)


ORIGINAL POST ON 4/9/17

Here's a quick update on what we're expecting (agendas are not final) to cover at the April 13 committee and board meetings. This is not an all-inclusive list, and it may change between now and Thursday. Once all materials are final, they'll be posted here.  

Finance, Insurance and Audit
We'll get our regular monthly financial report in committee meeting, discuss Board Linkage policy–3: Board-Internal Auditor Relationship and Governance Process policy–13: External Auditor Relationship, and in closed session will see the results of the Generation Portfolio Competitive Annual Assessment. 

Public Information
We will receive an update on state and federal legislation, and we will hear a monitoring report on SD-11: Economic Development and will be asked to vote on whether or not the district is sufficiently compliant. Note: timing of this review was set months in advance. In other words, it wasn't intentionally scheduled to align with last week's exciting Facebook announcement.

Systems Management
I joked last month about how the sexiest stuff is in the Systems Management committee, but this month that's actually true. In addition to the basic stuff (contracts over $500,000 and awarding a contract for Sarpy County Units 4 & 5 Control System Upgrade), we'll hear two updates in closed session. The first is on condemnation proceedings on the Midwest Transmission Project and the Elkhorn River Valley Transmission Project. Also in closed session will be an EPA update. Finally, we'll be asked to vote on changes to Board-Staff Linkage policy 12: Delegation to the President and Chief Executive Officer – Transmission, wholesale Electricity, fuel and Other Energy Transactions.    

With respect to the update on condemnation proceedings, we heard some really compelling testimony at our March board meeting regarding this issue. I'm anxious to learn more about what happened, what's next, and how we're addressing any issues that have arisen. To see and hear that March testimony, fast forward to 1:25:15 in the video of the meeting. Actually, before you get there, take a pit stop at 1:18:25 - I think you'll find it worth your while. 

Governance
In committee closed session, we'll get an update on how negotiations with the unions are progressing, and we will hear the background on corporate officer compensation adjustments. We'll be asked to approve the latter at the board meeting. We will receive monitoring reports on Governance Process policies 1 through 14 and Board-Staff Linkage policies 1 through 6, and we will be asked to vote on whether we're sufficiently in compliance. Six of eight board members completed a survey recently wherein we were asked on a policy-by-policy basis if the board is in compliance and if revisions should be made. Should be an interesting discussion.    

Nuclear Oversight
On the nuclear side, we'll receive our monthly update on decommissioning progress. 

Committee meeting is from 10 - 2pm (we'll be in closed session over lunch). Board meeting starts at 4pm. Both meetings are live streamed if you can't make it down. 

March 16 Board Meeting: Agenda

Here's a quick update on what we're expecting (agendas are not final) to cover at the March 16 committee and board meetings. This is not an all-inclusive list. Once all materials are final, they'll be posted here.  

Finance, Insurance and Audit
We will hear and discuss 2016 annual reports for the retirement plan, 401(k) and 457 retirement savings plan, and other post-employment benefits trust. As board members, our fiduciary responsibility is extremely important, so I'll be anxious to see these reports. We'll take action the Strategic Directive (SD) 14 monitoring report. And we'll take action on appointing/approving a retirement plan investment manager. Finally, we'll receive an Enterprise Risk Management quarterly update.

Public Information
We will receive an update on state and federal legislation, and we will get our annual OPPD Collection & Energy Assistance Update. I'm very interested in the latter.

Systems Management
The sexiest agenda items always come from Systems Management...we'll get a heads up on contracts over $500,000 and will be asked to take action to award the 2017 power circuit breakers contract. 

Governance
We'll hear a compensation and benefits review presentation from VP of Human Capital Mart Sedky. In committee closed session, we will get an update on union negotiations, and we will have a discussion about compensation adjustments for six Corporate Officers. 

Nuclear Oversight
On the nuclear side, we'll receive our monthly update on decommissioning progress. 

Committee meeting is from 10 - 2pm on 10/16 (we'll be in closed session over lunch). Board meeting starts at 4pm. 

We're off and running!

At long last I am finally transitioning the website from campaign mode to a mechanism I plan to use to share information, solicit feedback and input, and generally keep folks up to date throughout my six years in office. It will be a work in progress for a few months as I navigate and test my way through what works and what doesn't so feel free to offer suggestions!

I have two board meetings under my belt, but those meetings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to recent OPPD activities. Over the past three months I've attended several OPPD board member orientations (with my new colleague Rick Yoder), met with all of my other colleagues on the board at least once, been reading incessantly, held several meetings with OPPD management, staff, and union leaders, and met and/or talked with many members of the public about a variety of issues. I've learned much but still have a lot to learn. 

If you have any thoughts, comments or questions regarding OPPD at any time, please don't hesitate to reach out. Email is probably best, but phone calls work as well. I'll do my best to respond in a timely manner, obtain whatever information you're after, and work with OPPD staff to get answers to questions. 

So, off we go! I'm quite excited and honored about this opportunity, and I'll work hard to ensure OPPD is headed in the right direction. It's a fascinating time in the energy industry, and I'm looking forward to making a positive difference.

Onward and upward! 

  

[VIDEO] League of Women Voters Candidate Forum. Moody & Mulligan Only

My competitor was sick and unable to attend the general election edition of the League of Women Voters' live, call-in show in August. I was really disappointed that we missed an opportunity to talk about OPPD and our respective qualifications. 

In lieu of that, my team and I went back to the show aired in the primary and edited out the other four candidates. Just looking to make it easy on all of you!

The links below only include responses from me and my competitor. If you're interested in seeing responses from all the primary candidates (in some cases we refer to responses from them), click here

Here are your bite-sized excerpts from the April 4 Forum with just me and my competitor. Enjoy!

Opening Statements

Rate Restructuring

Experience in the Energy Industry

Climate Change

Long-term Vision for Power (Fossil Fuels & Clean Power Plan)

Net Metering

Other Options for Revenue

Privatization of Public Power

Nuclear Power

Burying Powerlines

Closing Statements

Opportunities for Nebraskans: Hearings Related to Solar Energy & PACE Financing

Legislative Resolution 455 was passed in Nebraska's most recent legislative session. It called for, in part, the following:

"the Executive Board of the Legislative Council to appoint a special committee to examine issues related to the impacts of climate change on the State of Nebraska and its residents, including assessments of vulnerability, risks, and economic impacts. The committee shall also examine opportunities, including methods of producing food, generating power, or protecting land and water that can be used to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change and that will provide jobs and economic benefits to Nebraskans."

As part of the committee's efforts, two hearings related to solar energy and energy financing (primarily Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE) will be held next week. One in Broken Bow and the second in Lincoln on 9/28. Details for the Lincoln hearing are as follows:

Location: Room 1525 of the State Capitol
9:00 a.m.  solar energy development
1:30 p.m.  energy financing, including PACE

Below is an excerpt from a recent press release from Senator Ken Haar's office: 

“These hearings are about opportunities,” said Senator Ken Haar. “We want Nebraskans to learn how they can reduce their energy bills through developing PACE programs or using other financing programs from the Nebraska Energy Office to make their homes and businesses more energy efficient. PACE and the Energy Office programs can also provide financing for renewable energy projects, including helping people put up solar panels.”

“We also want to make people aware of the opportunities for solar development,” said Senator Tyson Larson. “We are just beginning to scratch the surface of the possibilities for solar energy in Nebraska. It is very exciting to hear about all the new renewable energy developments happening in our state.”

PACE is a new program authorized by the 2016 Legislature. It authorizes municipalities to set up programs to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for businesses and homes in which the projects are paid off through an assessment on the property where the project is located. There are many attractive aspects of PACE programs, including the ability to finance projects that may have more upfront cost but provide more long-term benefits. In addition, PACE programs can provide one-stop service that encompasses financing, contracting and repayment through one program.

For more information contact Ken Winston, Legislative Aide to Senator Ken Haar, 402-471-2673 or kwinston@leg.ne.gov

I'm hoping to sneak away from work for the day on 9/28 to attend the hearings, and I'm anxious to hear what information is offered and what the public input will be. 

Scheduling OPPD Board Meetings

I attended the OPPD's Board Committee meeting this morning and was pleased to learn more about the district's financial state for the year, how things are progressing at Fort Calhoun, and several other matters of importance. 

Director Anne McGuire sparked a discussion about shifting around the Tuesday morning Committee meeting and the Thursday morning Board meeting so that they both occur on the same day. I was really intrigued by the conversation. 

On the bright side, Director Tom Barrett clearly articulated his desire for regular Board meetings to be held in the evenings. I agree. For years many of our public entities (OPPD is not alone here) have held their public meetings in the middle of a work day when it's very difficult for most people to leave work to attend. While he did a good job of making his case, the rest of the Board wasn't interested in going beyond the one evening meeting they hold each year.

After a long discussion (it was pleasing to hear a good, rigorous debate on this topic) the Board appeared to agree that they would conduct a 3-month pilot wherein Committee meetings would be held at 9am Thursday, and Board meetings at noon on Thursday. The rationale being 1) it would be easier for the public to attend one day of meetings rather than two, and 2) holding the Board meeting over the lunch hour would give more people an opportunity to attend (or watch) over their lunch break. 

It was a good and important step in the right direction. The Board seems to be genuinely interested in expanding opportunities for more people to attend, which is great to hear. 

Were it a meeting wherein public comment was welcome, I would have offered two main suggestions: 

  1. It is vitally important to do a better job of communicating the changes to meeting schedules. It's not enough to post an announcement in the Daily Record or on OPPD's website. The district should explore other ways to push information to its customer owners, rather than asking customer owners to pull information in. 
  2. Pilots are intended to test out new ways of doing things so as to determine what the right permanent course of action should be. How will the Board measure the effectiveness of the pilot so as to make a determination as to meeting schedules going forward?

I've previously written about making OPPD's public meetings more accessible, and I'm happy to see the Board taking meaningful strides forward on this front. I hope that we can continue to push for greater openness, accessibility and transparency - it's the right direction for all of us.   

Knock-a-Palooza 2016!

We’re super excited to announce one of the biggest events Omaha has ever seen: Knock-a-Palooza 2016! During a 9-day stretch from September 10 - 18, we’re going to contact as many voters as we can via door knocks, calls, and literature drops. Many volunteers will be needed!

Here’s the quick summary of volunteer opportunities:

  • Door knockers
  • Lit droppers (leaving a pamphlet at a residence without knocking on the door)
  • Drivers
  • Callers
  • Scribblers to write quick blurbs on walk cards

We’ll be knocking on doors and/or leaving literature behind both weekends, and we’ll have a calling party on Thursday, 9/15. The current schedule is as follows:

  • September 10: Knocking 1 - 6pm
  • September 11: Knocking 12 - 5pm
  • September 15: Calling party 6 - 9pm
  • September 17: Knocking 10am - 2pm
  • September 18: Knocking 12 - 5pm

Lit drops can generally occur anytime 9am - 7pm, weekday or weekend. We’ll also need volunteers to prep materials prior to and during Knock-a-Palooza. We can flex to meet your schedule in both cases.  

Any bit of time you’re able to offer makes a huge difference. Many hands make light work, right? And as we always say, quit when it’s not fun anymore!

September 11 is my 41st birthday, and all I really want is for our campaign to reach a few thousand people during Knock-a-Palooza 2016. Won’t you help make my birthday dream come true?

Everyone that participates will receive a Moody for OPPD t-shirt and a #GetintheMoody poster (below) created by the immensely talented Watie White with help from designer Justin Kemerling. And you’ll be invited to a campaign dinner on Sunday, September 18 (details forthcoming). Click here to volunteer!

Making OPPD's Public Meetings More Accessible

I attended the OPPD Board Committee meetings this morning (board package here) along with exactly one other member of the public. These Committee meetings are where the really good discussions happen. They precede the larger board meetings by two days and offer a much deeper dive into many of the Thursday topics that don't get quite as much attention.

I left with eight pages of notes. Here are the highlights:

  1. Financials look good. Net income is $2.9M over budget after you remove the massive adjustment made due to the decision to close the nuclear plant.
  2. The rate restructuring, which started to take effect in June, has actually dropped revenues over $800,000 over June/July. This occurred because the $/kwh went down, and during the summer (OPPD's high-volume season) some customers stand to benefit.
  3. The Nuclear Safety Review Board visited Fort Calhoun recently and said they were very impressed with the dedication and professionalism of OPPD's employees. I'm not surprised. Also related to Fort Calhoun, senior management will be spending a full day onsite on August 25 talking with employees about upcoming plans for the plant. 
  4. OPPD's customer satisfaction figures, as reported by J.D. Power, are good and improving. 
  5. Two Nissan Leafs were purchased.
  6. There was a presentation on the Southwest Power Pool. It was great to learn the ins and outs of how the SPP works, and what the benefits are to OPPD. The short story: there's a lot of wind and solar potential, but SPP needs to ensure there's a way to sell it outside of the SPP territory; socialization of infrastructure investments such as transmission lines is generally very beneficial to OPPD; the SPP removes a great deal of price volatility in the market; 

The last agenda item was a presentation by Steven Bruckner regarding the Nebraska Open Meetings Act. It covered all the basics of what OPPD must do to comply with the law. It was some pretty basic stuff with no real surprises. In essence, he described the minimum requirements, which is important, but I found myself wishing there was a champion in the room that would spark a meaningful discussion about best practices for public meetings.

More specifically, I typed the following questions:

  1. Notice of public meetings must occur in advance, and it normally is sent to a media list. Why not push out via other mechanisms such as social media? Why not offer the public some simple highlights for what's on the agenda? 
  2. How can we leverage technology to allow for a two-way dialogue between the board and those viewing the board meeting via OPPD's live stream? The technology exists to allow people to call in and/or submit questions electronically. Why must a person be physically present to ask a question? 
  3. Can meetings be moved to the evenings and occasionally work their way around the district to make it easier for those in rural Nebraska to attend? 
  4. What limitations or latitude do board members have to share highlights from the meeting via their own platforms (website, social media, etc.)? 

These are just a few questions and ideas I pondered; I have a much longer list of questions and ideas related to transparency and public engagement. I'm not advocating that we turn board meetings into a circus. Rather, I'm interested in finding meaningful ways ways in which the public can be involved. 

It's important to note that this Thursday's board meeting is at 7pm at Bellevue University. While the agenda is fairly light and wouldn't typically attract much attention from the public, I really hope that a good crowd attends. Public engagement is a two-way street, after all. When the board tests out evening meetings in new locations, it's incumbent upon the public to show up. Hope to see you there!

We're Hiring a Campaign Assistant

Things are starting to move pretty quick around here these days, and it's only going to speed up in the coming days and weeks. I'll need a good person to help me keep all the balls in the air so we'll be hiring a campaign assistant again. 

We're estimating 10-ish hours per week at $10/hour. There will also be warm hugs and stickers from our little girls (5 and 1), an occasional slice of pizza, and endless bowls of popcorn. Top notch, I know.

Here's a quick take on the job description:

  • Printing and organizing walk lists
  • Tracking yard signs and informing yard sign captains of distribution needs
  • Updating a squarespace website
  • Managing social media platforms
  • Organizing fundraisers, meet ‘n’ greets, and other events
  • Ordering materials (signs, mailers, etc.)
  • Preparing mailers
  • Picking up materials, food, beverage, etc.
  • Other duties as assigned

Please shoot me a note at cm@craigmoody.org if you're interested. 

Perspectives on the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant

A mere two days after the primary election, OPPD Management announced they were recommending to the Board that the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant be closed, and at yesterday’s board committee meetings, OPPD Management formalized that recommendation and added more detail on how to close the plant down (see committee report here). On Thursday, June 16 the Board will take action on those recommendations, and it seems clear that they will indeed vote to close the plant.

As I said many times on the campaign trail, the economics of the plant were not working in its favor. It was costing OPPD anywhere from $70 - 90/megawatt hour to create electricity whereas the District is able to purchase a megawatt hour on the open market (via the Southwest Power Pool) for $20.

OPPD is required by the Southwest Power Pool to have generating capacity that equals its annual peak demand plus 13.6% (see the dotted lines in the image below). They are currently over that threshold and with the 400 megawatts  of generation from the Grand Prairie Wind Farm coming online later this year, OPPD will have more than enough capacity to meet its customers needs. All the excess generation is sold on the open market, and when you’re generating power at 2 - 3 times the cost for which you can sell it, that just flat out doesn’t work.

OPPD's 2025 projections for Baseline and Rebalanced capacity and generation. 

OPPD's 2025 projections for Baseline and Rebalanced capacity and generation. 

Closing the plant will still cost $1 billion+ dollars and take several years. You can’t just lock the door and throw the keys in the river. Much needs to be done to safely shut it down. Nevertheless, on the whole, the decision to close the plant is a sound one. Other issues remain, however.

OPPD’s labor force will take a huge hit as a result of the plant closure, which is of great concern. Many of the people that work there, and I’ve talked with a few, aren’t in a position to retire. They’ll need to continue working. I am hopeful that OPPD management and the board does everything that it can to ensure the employees of Fort Calhoun are taken care of.

I’ve talked with many people involved in or impacted by the decision to close the plant, and I remain confident that there’s an opportunity to more effectively communicate decisions such as this to a broader group of people, especially those directly impacted. There is no doubt that there’s a difficult balance to be struck between sharing every last detail vs. keeping every decision close to the vest. I simply feel that we could let the pendulum swing a bit more toward transparency and openness.

Finally, the district projects that it will reach 49% of its generation using renewable fuel sources (primarily wind) by 2020. I remember the days in the not-too-distant past when OPPD was boasting about its 10% renewable energy goals for 2020. So to see that they’ll be at nearly 50% in four short years is great news, and I hope to see that number rise in the future.  

In the end, it’s a very difficult decision, especially given the number of impacted families - both directly and indirectly in the Fort Calhoun area. It is, however, the right decision, and I support it.

We Did It!

The results are in, and because of your time, energy, dedication, and hard work, we did it!

Thanks to everyone that helped with the campaign. It truly was a #PeoplePowered effort, and I am humbled and grateful for your support.

We now set our sights to the general election in November. I remain confident that we are well positioned for success, but know that it will take a tremendous amount of resources, hard work, and determination. We’ll take the next few weeks to rest and will soon map out our strategy for the general election.

Emily and I are off to sunny California for some much needed R&R. Thanks again to everyone that cast their votes for me. I’m extremely grateful for the support!

Onward and upward

Craig

P.S. If you were generous enough to host a yard sign, please store that baby until Labor Day weekend! If you don’t have room, feel free to drop it by our house any time and we’ll get it back to you in September. Or if you’d prefer we come pick it up, shoot me an email at cm@craigmoody.org and we’ll make arrangements to do so.

It's Time to Vote Moody for OPPD

Election day is tomorrow! It's time to exercise that most important responsibility of being in a democratic society. People often say, "whatever you do, just be sure to vote". I have higher expectations for our democracy. It's not enough to "just vote". We should be going into the booth educated on the issues and making informed decisions.

Above and beyond actually talking to the candidates (call me anytime!), there are a few good ways to learn more about them. The League of Women Voters is a great resource. Specific to the OPPD race is the LWV candidate forum, which was televised in early March. You can watch it here, both the entire 60-minute version, or broken up video snippets based on each question. 

Once you're up to speed on the issues, here's a bit more information about where and when you can vote on Tuesday. 

  • Click here to find your polling location
  • Click here to take a look at what's going to be on your ballot 
  • Polls are open 8am - 8pm

Please vote Craig Moody for OPPD! I greatly appreciate your support.

And don't forget about our party Monday night at Scriptown Brewing Company from 5 - 7pm. Hope to see you there! 

[Video] League of Women Voters 'Go Vote, Omaha!' OPPD Candidate Forum

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha does exceptional work to educate voters. Their Voters' Guide has been mentioned by many voters as an important source for information. The League also boasts a locally produced television program called Go Vote Omaha!

It's a live, call-in show wherein candidates are offered an opportunity to make an opening statement and then take turns responding to questions. My competitors and I convened on April 4 to discuss clean energy, public power, climate change, and electricity rates. 

My quick take on how things went: I feel confident that I demonstrated why I’m the strongest candidate in the race. My understanding of and experience in the energy industry is far deeper than any other candidate, and I had a chance to clearly articulate my priorities (clean and affordable energy, transparency, future thinking).

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the show, please do. With so many candidates in the race, the show provides a great look at each person running for this seat so you can make an educated decision on May 10th. 

[And if you're rather not settle in for the full 60-minute show, we've spliced up the video so that you can zero in on a particular topic or question. See below.] 

April 20 Event: Fundraiser & Friend-raiser at John & Kate Cavanaugh's

Join us for a great opportunity to meet and speak with me at the home of former Congressman John Cavanaugh and his wife Kate. The couple recognizes me as a knowledgeable leader on clean, affordable energy with a fresh perspective for the position on the OPPD Board of Directors. Their endorsement has already shown influence with voters and an event to further show their support is humbling and exciting!

This will be a social event with drinks and snacks, neighbors, and a community-focused discussion! There will be information available at the party for the location of your polling place and also for the convenient option of voting by mail. It's a family friendly event so children are welcome. If you have any questions, please pass them along to us at team@craigmoody.org.

A special thanks to all of the hosts for the evening: John and Kate Cavanaugh, Alicia and Mike Battershell, Meagan and John Van Gelder, Beth Summers, and Anne and Brandon Duggins.

So please join me at the Cavanaugh home at 3425 South 94th Ave. I look forward to meeting you and answering your questions!  

League of Women Voters Response: Extended Version

I was pleased to recently receive the League of Women Voters candidate survey. Naturally, I prepared fairly extensive thoughts in response to each of the four questions, far exceeding the 500 character limit for responses. I then pared back those thoughts into the limited space the LWV makes available, but I thought it might be worthwhile to share my full thoughts on each question. Here they are!  

QUESTION #1: WHAT MEASURES WILL YOU TAKE TO ENCOURAGE A REDUCTION IN ENERGY CONSUMPTION WHILE MAINTAINING OPPD'S SOLVENCY? 

There are many ways for OPPD’s customer-owners, whether they be homeowners or major office building owners, to reduce energy consumption. Customers should first focus on energy efficiency and conservation actions, and OPPD can and should play a meaningful role in helping its customer-owners identify and implement those efforts. Whether it is more efficient lighting, sealing a leaky building exterior, or adjusting heating and cooling settings, OPPD should actively work with its customers to help them lower their energy bills. Doing so is in OPPD’s best interests. Reducing consumer energy consumption, especially at times of peak demand, reduces the need for OPPD to build additional generation capacity, which is extremely costly.

OPPD should continue and enhance its programs that reduce energy use when electricity is most expensive for OPPD to deliver (peak energy demand).  An example of this is the Lighting Rebate Program that provides rebates to OPPD customers for upgrading to more efficient lighting.  

After a home or building has been made more energy efficient, renewables are now an economically viable alternative - prices of solar and wind in particular have decreased dramatically in the last few years. Furthermore, tax credits now make renewable energy a very serious energy generation option that OPPD, as well as homeowners and business owners should be considering. OPPD can and should be actively involved in developing more renewable energy generation both within its own energy portfolio and within its service territory.  Distributed generation, such as small scale solar, could benefit OPPD significantly in areas that have transmission congestion or at the time of day when electricity is most expensive for OPPD to deliver.

According to the Energy Information Administration, total electricity sales in 2015 fell 1.1 percent in the U.S. from the previous year, marking the fifth time in the past eight years that electricity sales have fallen. This trend is likely to continue, and OPPD must re-examine its business model accordingly. OPPD has historically relied on generating and distributing electricity in order to bring in revenue. But the energy industry is changing quickly.

As distributed generation (think solar on rooftops across the city) reaches critical mass, buildings and equipment continue to become more energy efficient, battery technology improves and becomes less expensive, and smart grid technology is implemented, the industry will change rather dramatically. OPPD may experience a reduction in demand and need to seriously consider decommissioning its large, expensive, centralized generation. OPPD may need to adapt by becoming an energy services company - not an energy generation company.  That transition will open new revenue alternatives and cut costs, both of which should ensure OPPD’s solvency.  

Developing a clear, thoughtful, educated vision of where the industry is headed with regard to energy consumption, renewables, distributed generation, and smart grid technology is something I believe OPPD needs to do, and I would work with management to ensure that a broad, collaborative, inclusive process is created to do so.

QUESTION #2: HOW WILL YOU ASSURE THE PUBLIC IS INVOLVED IN THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS AT OPPD?

This is an extremely important issue, especially on the heels of OPPD’s recent rate restructuring, which raises costs for low energy/typically low income users and lowers costs for high energy/typically high income customers. There was a groundswell of push back on this proposal from the public, yet OPPD didn’t seem to meaningfully alter its plans as a result of its customer-owners’ input.

First, board meetings need to move to evenings and should rotate throughout the OPPD territory. Next, the board agendas and supplemental information should include more and clearer information, and OPPD should share that information in multiple mediums, including social media.

OPPD should completely re-evaluate and modernize its public input processes. While progress on this front has occurred, there are significant opportunities for improvement. OPPD should create and consistently share a “dashboard” or “balanced scorecard” that publicly articulates its key performance indicators and current status related to relevant objectives and goals.

Next, OPPD and the board specifically should continue to work on its corporate governance, which should define how it interacts with the public. Transparency should be a key component of these governance policies. They should also hold management and the Board accountable for following corporate governance best practices.

When it comes to rate increases, OPPD’s board should focus on representing the public, which may include developing policies that clearly articulate the public’s role in rate proceedings. These processes are currently complicated and relatively opaque, and pulling back the veil is a priority of mine.  When decisions as controversial as the recent rate restructuring are discussed, I will push management to provide at least two alternative policies for the Board to consider, rather than a providing the Board with a yes or no choice.

Finally, if elected, I plan to hold consistent “office hours” throughout my subdistrict wherein any customer-owners are welcome to join me to discuss the state of our utility. And I will make my contact information abundantly available so as to breakdown any barriers between myself and the general public.

QUESTION #3: WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON PRIVATIZING UTILITIES? DOES PRIVATIZATION MAKE SENSE FOR OPPD? 

The state of Nebraska’s status as the only 100% public power state in the U.S. is a huge advantage, and we should not consider privatization. Public power’s most distinct advantage is that it should engage its owners - the public - in its decision making. More specifically, it should consider the unique needs of our community and meaningfully and genuinely solicit and consider the public’s input.

Public power also means that we are able to keep local dollars in local hands. Privatization often results in investors from far and wide, which sucks the money out of the region and out of the state. Additionally, public utilities aren’t beholden to the profit-driven motive that investor-owned utilities require, which should keep rates down.

I’m strongly in favor of public power. I do, however, believe that we can take better advantage of that status. In particular, I will work hard to ensure OPPD is transparent and open to the public so as to ensure OPPD’s customer-owners are a key part of the decision-making process.

I’m also interested in building relationships with the Nebraska State Legislature to find ways to innovate in the way private companies do. OPPD should be fostering relationships with state representatives so as to break down regulatory barriers that are preventing or delaying progress on things like renewable generation.

QUESTION #4: WHAT ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS FOR THIS OFFICE?

First, I co-founded and lead a small business, Verdis Group (the Chamber’s 2015 Small Business of the Year), that consults to large institutions on how to be more energy efficient and reduce energy costs. Through my seven years of work with major Omaha employers such as UNMC, the Henry Doorly Zoo, OPS, and UNO - to name a few - I have developed deep knowledge of the energy industry. That knowledge coupled with my degree in finance and an MBA offer an excellent combination that is well suited to the OPPD Board of Directors.

I also have several years of community leadership experience with involvement on many nonprofit boards, regional planning committees, and City of Omaha boards. A few examples include the City’s Urban Design Review Board, the University of Nebraska President’s Advisory Council, chair of Metro’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Stakeholder Committee, the Business Ethics Alliance Board of Trustees, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Environment Omaha’s Core Committee, and the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition’s board of directors. [See full list on our About page.]

It is through these activities and experiences that I have demonstrated an ability to navigate through difficult decisions, build consensus among and between disparate parties, tactfully ask tough questions, and lead organizations to bigger and better things. I am often asked to lead boards and committees, which is a demonstration of my strong leadership capabilities.

 

About OPPD's Recent Rate Restructuring

It was abundantly and not surprising clear during my first weekend knocking on doors that OPPD’s recent rate restructuring is on many voters’ minds. And rightly so, it garnered a great deal of attention.

To be clear, I think the rate restructuring was disappointing for three main reasons.

First, I witnessed firsthand the fact that public sentiment was strongly against it, but OPPD didn’t seem to seriously consider the perspectives of the public. Yes, there were multiple meetings held, hundreds of comments were submitted via OPPDListens.com, and there were hours of testimony at board meetings. But in the end, it was clear that OPPD already had their mind made up, and the public outcry merely resulted in minor tweaks to what was already planned rather than a true reconsideration of the broader direction. In short, the restructuring felt like a foregone conclusion and the public interaction was the sales job.

Next, the restructuring will adversely impact the poor while benefiting higher income customers. At a time when the economically disadvantaged in our community are already barely able to get by, it’s preposterous to me to think that we should be increasing what they pay while decreasing that of the high income/high consuming users. The end result is one of the more regressive rate structures in the country.

Finally, by pushing more of the consumers’ monthly bill into fixed costs and lowering what they pay per kwh, OPPD is elongating the payback period on investments in energy efficiency. In essence, reducing the economic incentive for their customers to invest in renewables or energy efficiency equipment such as LED lights or a more efficient air conditioning unit.

In all of these cases, what OPPD and its board chose to do are completely the opposite of what I would have done. I would have ensured that the public input and engagement process was meaningful and seriously considered. And I would have advocated for a rate structure that 1) incentivized investments in energy efficiency and conservation and 2) didn't punish the poor and/or energy efficient customers.

OPPD has always thought of itself as a company that sells electricity, which leads to a misguided motivation to sell as much electricity as it can in the same way that a Zappos wants to sell as many pairs of shoes as it can. But the rapidly changing energy industry is putting pressure on OPPD’s outdated business model, and OPPD needs to think of itself as an energy services company – providing more and better services to its customers…not just kilowatts of electricity.

The Kickoff Was a Success. So, Now What?

The Campaign Officially Kicks Off! 

The Campaign Officially Kicks Off! 

What a whirlwind the past few weeks have been! More than 160 supporters joined us downtown to kick off the campaign. There were old friends as well as new faces, and the energy and excitement for what’s ahead was palpable! Thank you to those who joined us – I can’t express how much it means that you would make time to share your ideas and listen to mine.

I appreciated all the thoughtful questions and feedback. Though I never doubted that now is the right time for me to run for the OPPD board, your enthusiasm and support really helped seal the deal.

And now it’s time to get to work. My campaign team and I have been busy working to finalize our plans; from producing materials (yard signs, stickers, letters! Oh my!), to locking down some exciting endorsements we’ll share more about in the coming weeks. Our goal is to find various ways to tell the story – our collective story – about why this election and the future of OPPD matters to Omahans.

We have a lot of ground to cover, both figuratively and literally. Subdistrict Five is a big territory that spreads across a good chunk of Omaha. I’m going to need your help to reach the most voters I can. If you haven’t already (or if you’re moved to do so again!) please consider donating to the campaign by clicking here. Every dollar counts – it’s a long road to November’s election! 

If you have time and energy, please consider volunteering with us. We’ll need people to make phone calls, put out yard signs, connect with voters, etc. There’s a role for everyone! Fill out the form found here – we’ll get back to you ASAP with opportunities for you to lend a hand. (and thanks in advance!)

It takes a village to raise a child, and I’m learning that the saying is also true when running a political campaign! I can’t do this without your support so please, keep it coming. 

Onward and upward,

Craig

P.S. I would be remiss if I didn’t take a minute to recognize the service and dedication of John Green who, after 30 years serving on the OPPD Board, has decided against running for a sixth term. His contributions have been numerous and his steadfast commitment to OPPD is impressive. Thanks for your service, John!

[photo credits: Erin Giannangelo]
 

Jan. 27 Press Release

We let our first press release fly this evening. Here it is. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CRAIG MOODY KICKS OFF CAMPAIGN TO JOIN OPPD BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Community Advocate Hopes to Represent Subdistrict Five

Wednesday, January 27, 2016, Omaha, Nebraska - On Tuesday, January 26, candidate Craig Moody kicked off his campaign to represent subdistrict five on the Board of Directors for the Omaha Public Power District. The event, held at the Tip Top Building in North Downtown Omaha, was attended by more than 150 supporters.  

Moody, a Democrat, is the managing partner and co-owner of Verdis Group, LLC, a sustainability consulting firm and 2015 Small Business of the Year (as recognized by the Omaha Chamber of Commerce). Verdis Group’s prestigious roster of clients includes the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Nebraska Medicine, Omaha Public Schools, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, and Methodist Health System.

“I’ve been honored to serve Omaha and advocate for our community in a number of ways over the years,” said Craig. “By joining the OPPD board I want to bring positive change and use my understanding of the energy industry to be a voice for the people that the Omaha Public Power District was created to work for.”

Moody is actively involved in the community and has served on several boards and committees, including the University of Nebraska President’s Advisory Council, chair of Metro Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit Stakeholder Committee, the Omaha Business Ethics Alliance, the Omaha Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the Green Omaha Coalition. He was a member of Leadership Omaha Class 37, was recognized as one of the Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2011, and earned the Omaha Jaycee’s Ten Outstanding Young Omahans Distinguished Service Award in 2009.

“Craig has brought thoughtful, creative, solution-based problem solving to our community and because he values transparency and community engagement I believe he is going to bring a fresh perspective to the OPPD board,” said Crystal Rhoades of the Nebraska Public Service Commission

“I’m focused on helping OPPD strike the right balance between agility and stability so they can successfully adapt to the quickly changing energy industry,” said Moody, “and I’ll work tirelessly to ensure that OPPD is well positioned to provide clean, reliable, affordable electricity long into the future.”