HOLDREGE — Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District expects higher hydropower revenue in 2020 because of high water levels.

In the 2020 budget approved Monday at CNPPID’s board meeting in Holdrege, the hyrdopower revenue is $17.92 million.

That compares to $12.09 million budgeted in 2019. However, General Manager Devin Brundage told the Hub that actual 2019 revenues will be close to the 2020 expectations.

In a written budget overview, he said the 2020 Hydro System (Jeffrey, Johnson 1 and Johnson 2 plants on the Supply Canal) generation forecast of 375,000 megawatt-hours is a near record high. That generation is sold to Evergy, a company formed by the merger of Kansas City Power & Light and Westar Energy.

The Kingsley Hydro at Lake McConaughy is expected to generate another 100,000 MWh in 2020, with all of that generation sold to Nebraska Public Power District.

The total 2020 electric revenue expectations of $17.92 million compare to actual revenues of $14.33 million in 2018 and $14.83 million in 2017.

Overall revenue and income in the CNPPID 2020 budget is more than $26.33 million. That is nearly $6.8 million more than in the 2019 budget and approximately $3.36 million more than actual numbers for 2018 and 2017.

Total expenditures in 2020 are budgeted at $21.33 million.

Brundage said there are no huge capital expenditures planned in 2020. The biggest expense category is maintenance at $7.8 million.

In other water-related business Monday, CNPPID civil engineer Tyler Thulin reported that Lake McConaughy was at 87.1 percent of capacity, with more than 1.5 million acre-feet of water.

“J-2 is running around the clock, which is why you’re seeing all that water down by Kearney,” Thulin said, replying to a comment about the Platte flows by director Dave Nelson.

Earlier Monday, the board approved an Interim Irrigation Committee recommendation that 2020 irrigation service rates remain the same. Six board members who are CNPPID customers abstained from that vote.

The irrigation rates include a base of $34.61 per acre for 9 inches of water and $1.21 for every additional inch per acre from 9-18 inches of use.

Staff reported that the project to paint the surge tank and penstock at the J-2 Hydro is nearly done. Hydroelectric operations supervisor Anton Hassebrook said contractor Allen Blasting & Coating of Wever, Iowa, should be finished by the end of next week.

Irrigation operations manager Dave Ford said the company is expected to start a similar painting project this week on the siphon between Johnson Lake and Elwood Reservoir.

Hydraulic project operations manager Cory Steinke said engineers from Colorado-based RJH Consultants will be at Elwood Reservoir Thursday to examine a seepage issue at the pump station.

The board also:

- Heard reports on overall 2019 irrigation operations and conservation programs from staff and irrigation water management specialist Curtis Scheele of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Holdrege.

- Approved a $65,000 work order for annunciator panels (alarm boards) at the J-1 and J-2 plants.

- Was thanked by Dave Melliger and Rod Schmidt, members of the Lakeside Golf Course Board at Johnson Lake, for Central’s contributions of funds, labor and materials to link the course to the lake’s sanitary improvement district.

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