Nebraska Revised Statute 70-504

Chapter 70


Sale, lease, or transfer; election and voter approval required; exceptions; procedure.

In the following cases, a sale, lease, or transfer of any electric light or power plant, distribution system, or transmission line shall not be valid unless the sale, lease, or transfer is authorized at any state or municipal election, including a primary or special election, except as otherwise provided in this section, and approved by sixty percent of the electors voting on the proposed matter, except that an election and such approval shall not be required when the sale, lease, or transfer is part of a merger or consolidation of a public power district:

(1) By any city or village to any private person, firm, association, corporation, or public power district, except that any city or village may by resolution of the city council or board of trustees sell, lease, or transfer all or part of its electric light or power plant, distribution system, or transmission lines to any public power district or an electric cooperative, which cooperative has an approved retail service area adjoining such city or village, but such transaction shall not be consummated nor become effective until thirty days' notice of the transaction has been given by the governing body by publication once each week for three successive weeks in such city or village or, if no newspaper is published therein, then by posting in five or more public places therein. If within thirty days after the last publication of such notice or posting thereof a referendum petition signed by qualified electors of such city or village equal in number to at least twenty percent of the vote cast at the last general municipal election held therein is filed with the municipal clerk, such transaction shall not become effective until it has been approved by a vote of the electors of such municipality at any general or special municipal election. If a majority of the voters voting on the issue vote against such transaction, the transaction shall not become effective. If no such petitions are filed, the transaction shall become effective at the expiration of such thirty-day period. The power district shall charge fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory rates so adjusted as, in a fair and equitable manner, to confer upon and distribute among its customers the benefits of a successful and efficient operation and conduct of the business of the district; or

(2) By any public power district operating lines, owning lines, or operating and owning lines in less than thirteen counties in this state to any other public power district, except (a) where transmission or distribution lines extend into another power district and the board of directors of the selling power district, by resolution entered on its records, determines that such transmission or distribution lines would serve customers more advantageously in the purchasing power district and that the sale thereof should be made or (b) sales of any surplus equipment which the selling district, by resolution adopted by its board of directors and entered on its records, determines that it does not then need and is needed by the purchasing district, which sales are hereby expressly authorized to be made. Except for the referendum election provided for in subdivision (1) of this section, notice of the submission of the proposition shall be given by publication thereof three consecutive weeks in a legal newspaper published and of general circulation in such city, village, or public power district or, if no newspaper is published therein, by posting in five or more public places therein. Any elections herein required in public power districts or public power and irrigation districts shall be held at the same time and in connection with the next regular primary or general election in the state thereafter at which directors of the public power district are to be nominated or elected. Any proposals for the sale of lines or other property required to be submitted to an election under the provisions of this section shall be certified by the board of directors of the district selling or disposing of the property to the county clerk of the respective county or counties wherein such election of directors is to be held in the form of a question to be submitted upon the ballot not less than thirty days before the election. The county clerks to whom such certificates are submitted shall cause the same question submitted by the board of directors to be placed upon the same ballot and in proximity to the names of the directors to be nominated or elected in the same district at the next primary or general election. The results of the election with relation to the proposal shall be counted, canvassed, and certified in the same manner as the other results of the election.


  • Initiative Law 1930, No. 324, § 4;
  • Laws 1931, c. 116, § 4, p. 338;
  • C.S.Supp.,1941, § 70-604;
  • Laws 1943, c. 144, § 1, p. 505;
  • R.S.1943, § 70-504;
  • Laws 1945, c. 156, § 1, p. 513;
  • Laws 1947, c. 225, § 1, p. 718;
  • Laws 1965, c. 58, § 5, p. 269;
  • Laws 1969, c. 83, § 5, p. 421;
  • Laws 1990, LB 907, § 1.

Cross References

  • For provisions relating to public power districts, see sections 70-601 to 70-682.


  • This statute, which authorizes sale or lease of electrical stations, does not require sale proceeds to benefit electrical utility customers within the municipality. Nebraska P. P. Dist. v. City of York, 212 Neb. 747, 326 N.W.2d 22 (1982).

  • Section was not applicable to transaction fully carried out before act became effective. Babson v. Village of Ulysses, 155 Neb. 492, 52 N.W.2d 320 (1952).

  • Where election was called under this section, incurring of expense in excess of amount allowed per voter was violation of act. State ex rel. Sorensen v. Southern Nebraska Power Co., 131 Neb. 472, 268 N.W. 284 (1936).