5e14b08eed737985fbb4f104_NPPD 50 Year_80

Public Power:  A Proud Tradition of Bold Leadership


Public power exists across America, but Nebraska is the only 100% public power state in the nation.  Like our unicameral, rural electrification was an inspiration of native son George Norris of McCook.


Nearly 80 years ago, when investor owned utilities failed to serve rural areas, public power transformed the economy of the countryside.  Norris writes of watching his mother sewing by lamplight, and envisions the comfort, convenience and economic advantages of electricity brought to areas too remote to be profitable for commercial utilities.  With vision, determination and faith in our possibilities, Nebraska brought the convenience and productivity of electricity to the citizens across the state. Today, no matter where you live, abundant electricity is almost taken for granted.  We count on the lights to always go on when we flip the switch.  I am proud to be a small part of the public power structure that makes that confidence possible.


Nebraskans believed that the economic development resulting from modernizing rural infrastructure would justify the investment. That investment has reaped dividends many times over, and raised the quality of life for Nebraskans all across the state.

Economics continue to be a guiding principle for NPPD:  we are here to strengthen the communities we serve, always placing our customers first.




  • The R Project Transmission Line.  NPPD has information about all current transmission construction projects available online.  This link will take you to the largest project under development, from Lincoln County to Wheeler County.




  • Board of Directors.  Find your NPPD board representative here, as well as a link to livestream our meetings.


  • Who We Serve.  Click this link to see  who NPPD serves at wholesale and retail.




In the 1970's, NPPD took a bold step forward to power the state by constructing two large generating stations—Gerald Gentleman Station at Sutherland and Cooper Nuclear Station at Brownville. Though controversial, and sized much larger than needed to serve the state at the time, those decisions provided Nebraskans with the region’s lowest cost power for decades. We owe a great deal to those leaders who had the courage to act on their vision of a vibrant public utility system powering our economy for future generations.  It is the baton that has been passed to us, we who serve today.


Nebraska Utilities - Roles and Types

State and federal regulation plays a significant role in the operation of Nebraska utilities.  Multi-state markets increasingly determine which plants will operate and what the price of that power will be.  Your local elected and appointed officials work within this framework to assure accountability, efficiency and adherence to community values.


There are several types of public utilities:  municipal utilities, public power districts, and electrical cooperatives. Any of these can generate their own electricity or buy it from another source.  A public power district may serve customers directly--at retail--or may provide wholesale electricity to another utility for distribution, or some combination of these.  Nebraskans have a fondness for local control, so there are 167 electrical utilities in our state.  The Nebraska Power Review Board maintains an interactive map showing service areas.  Click here for the map.    


In NPPD Subdivision 1, which I represent, the cities of Milford, Murray, Mynard, Nehawka, Plattsmouth and Union are served directly by Nebraska Public Power District.  Across the state, NPPD serves nearly 90,000 retail customers such as these.


Lincoln, Seward, Wahoo and Waverly residents are familiar with their municipal utilities operating under the authority of city government.  Utility board members are typically appointed by the mayor and ratified by the city council.  If the city utility purchase 50% or more of its power supply from NPPD, then residents may vote for a representative on the NPPD board.  Seward and Wahoo are among 50 such communities across the state served with NPPD's wholesale power supply.   Lincoln (and Waverly which is also served by Lincoln Electric System) purchases power from certain plants operated by NPPD, but residents do not qualify to vote for a board member at NPPD as they do not meet the 50% threshold.


Most rural residents in pay their bills to a public power district operating under the authority of an elected board and governed by state law just as is NPPD. Board members of public power districts serve six year terms, and are elected from within the service territory of the utility. Many of my constituents are served by Norris Public Power District or Butler Public Power District--wholesale partners of NPPD.  


Nebraska Public Power District is Nebraska’s largest electric utility with an operating budget of just under $1.2 billion annually.  NPPD operates more than 7,800 miles of transmission line across the state and operates plants with about 3200 megawatts of capacity.  For perspective, 1 MW powers about 340 homes. 


NPPD is a member of the Southwest Power Pool, a regional integrated market balancing generation and load throughout nine states. 

Click here for an overview of SPP.