A morning rant: May the Lincoln Electric System go to hell

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Early this morning, I began to prepare the post that precedes this one. And then the power (electricity) failed. Today is a bright and sunny day with little wind.

Nebraska is a strange, and in many ways wonderfully iconoclastic, place. We have the only one house legislative body in America. William Jennings Bryan and George Norris are icons who exemplify the populist DNA that still lies in the bones of modern-day Nebraskans. On balance, that is normally a good and refreshing thing.

One of the unique aspects of Nebraska is that all electricity in Nebraska is provided by governmentally owned public power entities. For example, in the 1940s various private operations were condemned to create the Nebraska Public Power District that presently supplies electricity to 91 out of the 93 counties in Nebraska.

In Lincoln, the capital city, where I live, we get our power from the Lincoln Electric System or LES. The LES Administrative Board consists of nine members who are nominated by the mayor of Lincoln* and confirmed by the Lincoln City Council. Board members are responsible for the control and management of the property, personnel, facilities, equipment and finances of LES. They do not receive compensation and may serve a maximum of three, three-year terms.

The only problem with LES is that it cannot get its f…… act together. I have lived in a lot of places in Nebraska. They include Kearney, Wilbur, Bellevue, Lexington, Omaha and now Lincoln. Every place other than Lincoln has had consistent power with outages being few and far between. That is not true of LES. LES fails all too frequently. In fact, from time to time, the small little transformer (or something) that sits on or near our residence has shorted out with a huge and scary bang and a blinding flash of light.

If I could consign one intangible thing to hell it would be LES. There the power is always on.


*Lincoln’s Mayor is Chris Beutler, a former law school classmate of mine. He is one of the smartest, most decent and public-spirited people I know. I respect him greatly even though he went to Yale to get his college degree. I forgive him for that ’cause he played safety for the Bulldog football team even though Chris is small in size.

10 responses

  1. Dare I say that the power outages you experience could possibly be related to the massive amounts of energy required to maintain the increasingly higher output of blogs you have been making of late? Just saying . . . .

  2. It takes a lot of knowledge and experience to properly operate an electrical utility. Where is the mayor going to find qualified residents of Lincoln that know how to hire and keep (keeping is the hard part) the right staff needed to run things properly?

  3. Jim,

    I attribute the higher output to my recent decision to forego real cheap booze in favor of merely cheap booze. All the best.


  4. Judge:
    A semi-related comment. This blog entry was accompanied by a picture of the iconic Nebraska State Capitol Building. I stopped in Lincoln while driving cross country in 1982 to attend law school. Once there, I heard the building in question referred to by locals as “the penis of the plains” owing to the tower’s…ahem…unique architecture. My point? If the LES Administrative Board is as incompetent as you claim then, given the location where they work, do we have any choice but to refer to them as “dickheads?”

  5. Robert,

    You devil. You have revealed a secret that I thought only Nebraskans knew and loved.

    My name is Richard Kopf. Some could call me Dick Kopf (like people used to refer to my dad). If you you are German or one of those who like to snark about my decisions or views on the Internet, you might call me “dick head.” Enough!

    All the best.


  6. Look at the bright side: If it performed as reliably as the federal judiciary, you’d already have a back-up generator.

  7. Sell NPPD and OPPD to BRK’s Mid-American Energy. Use the proceeds as permanent property tax relief; my best idea is to place the proceeds with Nebraska Investment Council and get the University of Nebraska System off of taxpayers’ backs just a little.

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