January Board Meeting Summary

January 4 2024

(HOLDREGE, Neb.)  - A new power agreement went into effect on January 1, 2024 for the power generated at the Johnson No. 1 and Johnson No. 2 hydroplants.  Also on Jan. 1, the power generated at the Jeffrey Hydroplant began selling on the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) market. 

Electrical Projects Operations manager Eric Hixson told the Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District board of directors at their monthly board meeting that scheduling the new operations has gone well so far.  The Central control center and engineers are working together daily to schedule the most efficient way to utilize the water while creating power at Jeffrey hydroplant to take advantage of the changing market.  Cabin owners at Jeffrey Lake will likely see larger and more frequent lake level fluctuations this winter as a consequence to the very high variability in market conditions Central is subject to within the SPP footprint.  

All generated power at J1 and J2 is now being delivered to MEAN for their customers in Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado and Wyoming.  Central had been sending power to Evergy in Kansas from 2013-23.  Evergy is assisting with marketing the power generated at Jeffrey on the SPP market while the Central board continues to explore long term options for that generated power.   

Also at Monday’s board meeting:

  • The board approved the inclusion of 61 accounts totaling 1,053 acres in the 2024 Water Leasing Program.  Irrigation customers who submit acres for the program agree not to irrigate the acres in exchange for payment of $100/acre from the Platte River Recovery and Implementation Program (PRIPP).  Instead, that leased water is added to the PRRIP’s Environmental Account in Lake McConaughy and is managed and released by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to benefit wildlife habitat along the Platte River. 


  • Irrigation and Water Services manager Scott Dicke reported that crews are continuing work on replacing pipelines.  He hopes the Axtell protection plan of lining one mile of the canal can be completed by irrigation season.


  • Tyler Thulin reported that Lake McConaughy’s elevation currently is 3,237.5 feet, or 59.2 % of maximum volume, which is up one foot since Dec. 20.  Current inflows cannot be measured exactly due to icing in the river, but they were around 1,300 cubic feet per second (cfs) last week with outflows continuing at 300 cfs.


  • Thulin added that snowpack in the upper North Platte Basin is at 64% of median, setting the lowest mark at this point in time since 1991.  Snowpack is 48% in lower North Platte basin and 71% in the South Platte basin.