Our mission at LES is to be a progressive leader, partnering with the community to maximize energy value and quality of life in an environmentally responsible manner. The past year was full of challenges — mounting supply chain constraints, workforce retention and recruiting, rising interest rates, inflation and fuel costs. However, LES’ dedicated employees continued to safely deliver clean, affordable, reliable energy and excellent customer service every day.
In 2022, we continued to achieve industry-leading results while maintaining a focus on safety and operational excellence. LES’ Competitive Market Study showed LES has some of the lowest-cost electric service in the nation. We ranked 15th best out of 87 cities for the lowest average all-in price, 8th best for residential all-in price and ranked 7th for the most stable rates over the past 10 years.
LES’ commitment to our community was shown through our continued engagement with the community during our Zoo Lights Powered by LES and giving back through our many community service efforts. Being able to return to classrooms after the pandemic allowed LES to resume and expand energy education and STEM-focused programs.
Our utility requires a highly skilled, agile and diverse workforce. We are focused on building it by creating local talent pipelines, expanding recruiting outreach and continuing development within our workforce. LES elevated our efforts to provide flexible work arrangements and enhanced benefits to attract and retain top talent.
After a year of analysis, workshops and public meetings, we completed the LES 2022 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) — the first IRP guided by our decarbonization goal to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide production from our generation portfolio by 2040. The IRP is a blueprint developed every five years to help forecast when power resources will be needed, what the optimal resource mix may look like, and how LES will bring it together to best serve its customers in the future.
LES’ culture of sustainability extends beyond the generation portfolio. For example, LES staff collaborated with the city’s Department of Urban Development and NeighborWorks Lincoln to pilot a rental rehabilitation program for qualifying properties, leveraging tax-increment financing and utility energy-efficiency incentives to jointly fund the rehabilitation of selected multifamily projects. We also increased participation in our Peak Rewards thermostat program and enhanced our net metering and renewable energy certificate programs.
Our customers continued to experience some of the highest reliability in the country. The System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) — the average annual amount of outage time for customers — excluding major events, was just 13.8 minutes in 2022, which is one-sixth of the national average. Investments in upgrading and replacing our aging system will improve its resiliency and help meet future demands.
Supply chain issues are occurring nationally in many sectors. LES has been involved in navigating these issues through national workgroups, community conversations, enhanced engagement with vendors and internally. Staff took proactive measures, including robust customer outreach, proactive/expanded inventory practices, lower priority program deferment and alternative construction designs for specific transformers.
LES’ service area continues to grow as economic conditions in our state remain strong, but we know there is more work to do as we navigate this complex energy landscape. I’m proud of how LES employees met each challenge and opportunity throughout the year, and continue providing the safe, reliable and affordable electricity our customers depend on for everyday life.
Kevin G. Wailes | Chief Executive Officer