Taxes, Wind-Energy, and the Power Company

Thank goodness tax-season is nearly over. Every year my jaw tightens and fists clench as I sift through documents and forms. Tax-time is not my best-time. Sometimes I’m tempted to hand over the keys to someone else, and just trust that they will act in my best interest.

But that’s a fantasy. No one will value my money or time as much as I do, and deep-down I know I should remain vigilant. Why trust someone else with something so important?

Yet we do that every day with our utilities. We hear the power company say “Trust us, we know what we’re doing,” and we gobble it up. Those were the same words the big banks uttered right before the economic collapse. “Trust us, we know best.”

Energy is a lot like taxes. The numbers might initially make people squeamish, but ultimately its a balance book, an equation of stocks and flows. And while we can trust others to handle our affairs, its always smart to keep an eye on the books.

Here’s what we know:

  • Nebraska is ranked 6th in wind energy potential, yet 18th in production. This is like being eligible for a huge deduction, but neglecting to check the appropriate box.
  • A Nebraskan wind industry would bring over 30,000 jobs to the state, and an economic boost of $1.7 billion per year.
  • A recent survey revealed an amazing 69% of Nebraskans favorably regard wind.

So when the public power company says they don’t think wind is a viable energy option, we have a duty to ask why. Show us the numbers. Explain the costs and benefits.

Nebraska is the only state with a publicly-owned electric utility. This is a great honor, and borne from generations of vision and sweat. The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has done great things, and continues to do so.

But we must hold them accountable. They have an obligation to relate openly and honestly with the public, and we have a responsibility to engage with them.

NPPD is hosting open houses to discuss our energy future. There are three left across the state:

  • Wednesday, April 25 – Kearney, Holiday Inn, 110 Second Avenue
  • Thursday, April 26 – Lincoln, Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, 333 S. 13th Street
  • Wednesday, May 2 – Norfolk, Divots Conference Center, 4200 W. Norfolk Avenue

More information is available at NPPD’s website.

These open houses are a great opportunity to examine the evidence firsthand.

Common sense and good questioning go a long way.

 

Even when filing your taxes.

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Did you attend an NPPD open house? Let us know your thoughts!

You can reach Paul Mansoor via telephone (402-687-2103 x 1028), or email (paulm@cfra.org), and you can follow him on Twitter @paul_at_cfra