Jan. 19, 2016 (e)newsletter: Campaign Kickoff Reminder & Why I'm Running

In the weeks since we announced my campaign to serve on the OPPD Board of Directors, I’ve been overwhelmed by the show of support from so many of you. Our list of volunteers and our campaign bank account have both grown steadily! I’ve also been learning a great deal about OPPD and running a campaign. It’s been an overwhelming, enlightening, and extremely rewarding experience already, and we’re only a few weeks in.

I’m writing you today for two reasons:

Kickoff Party Reminder

First, to invite you to attend our campaign kickoff party on Tuesday, January 26 from 4 - 6 pm. We’ll be gathering in the Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture studio (and Verdis Group's headquarters!) located in the historic Tip Top Building at 1516 Cuming Street.* RSVPs are requested but not required via our Facebook event or by responding to this email.

Why I’m Running

I want to share a bit more about why I’m running. But before I do, here’s just a little perspective on just how big and important OPPD is.

  • OPPD’s service territory covers 13 counties, which represent a geographic area that is roughly ten times the size of the City of Omaha.
  • OPPD has nearly 800,000 customers; for context, the City of Omaha’s population is just over 430,000.

  • OPPD’s annual budget exceeds $1.1 billion, which is larger than the City of Omaha’s annual budget of around $820 million.

  • Put simply, OPPD is the public entity (and the monopoly) that provides electricity, a basic necessity for those who live, work, and play in the service territory.

Historically, the energy industry has been slow to change. Generating and distributing electricity isn’t the simplest thing to do. It requires a lot of infrastructure and a vital focus on safety. The systems and processes that exist are often very slow to adapt to changing market forces and consumer demand.

But changes are underway and they’re happening rather quickly. Coal is losing its grip, while renewable energy sources like solar and wind power continue to grow. National regulations and global agreements - including the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the United Nations’ Paris Agreement on Climate - will push even harder for change. Advances in battery technology, distributed generation (think solar panels on rooftops), and smart grid technology will all play an important role in the future of OPPD’s service territory. OPPD will need to adapt to thrive and continue serving the needs of the 800,000 Nebraskans who rely on it.

How OPPD prepares to address and take advantage of these shifts is critical to its success. We can either drag our feet and cling to an outdated business model largely focused on dirty, centralized generation (think coal-fired power plants). Or we can seize the opportunities that lie ahead with investments in sustainable technologies of many different sizes and scales.

The way OPPD generates and distributes power is one part of the equation. How OPPD engages with the public is another. While there have been some advances as it relates to greater transparency, we as consumers and voters shouldn’t be satisfied. I know it’s a little cliché to say, but I want to put the ‘public’ back in public power.

I’m in this race because I can bring a forward-thinking, innovative, and expert perspective to OPPD’s Board of Directors. Energy has been a big part of my work for the last six+ years. I know the industry well, yet I’m not an insider. I’ll work tirelessly to ensure that OPPD is well positioned to provide clean, reliable, affordable electricity long into the future. Perhaps most important, I’ll work to make sure your voice is heard. It’s OUR public power district, and together I truly believe we can make a difference.

I’m looking forward to kicking off this campaign and working with many of you to take us into a #PeoplePowered future.

Onward and upward,

P.S. I look forward to seeing you at the Kickoff Party!

*With respect to getting to the Kickoff Party, bus lines run right outside on Cuming Street, bike parking is bountiful, there’s a B-Cycle station onsite, and there are places to park vehicles as well.