LEXINGTON — Unusual weather in 2019 has impacted many, including Dawson Public Power District.
“Normally, irrigation season is our peak time for energy sales,” explains General Manager Gwen Kautz. “This year’s above average precipitation has resulted in decreased irrigation energy usage. However, the season has lasted longer than usual. Some farmers were still irrigating in September.”
Dawson PPD’s irrigation energy sales for June, July and August of 2019 were about a third of the District’s 10-year average for those months. Kilowatt hour sales in 2018 were down as well.
Irrigators have the option to participate in a load management program. It offers lower rates to customers who let the district turn irrigation systems off during certain hours. The program is administered by Nebraska Public Power District, Dawson PPD’s wholesale power provider. The goal is to limit the demand for power at certain times of the day. In 2017, Dawson PPD controlled irrigation load for 146 hours of the irrigation season. In 2018, there were only 26.5 hours of control. In 2019, there were just 16 controlled hours. The decreased load control is due, in part, to reduced electric irrigation load across much of the state.
“This irrigation season will certainly go down in the record books,” Kautz says. “However, the impact on our overall annual electric sales is not completely known at this time. Earlier in 2019, we were slightly ahead of sales projections because of the cold winter.”
Energy sales for other rate classes have remained stable.