The Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors approved the utility’s 2014 budget on Thursday that does not include a rate increase for customers.
The nearly $1.15 billion budget was first presented to the board last month. “We know how important electricity is to our customers’ everyday lives and that keeping it affordable and reliable is paramount,” said OPPD President and CEO Gary Gates. “We remain committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to provide affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive energy services to our customers.”
OPPD increased electric rates last January largely to pay for the cost of repairing the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant. The utility that serves 13 southeast Nebraska counties just got permission to restart the nuclear plant earlier this week. Fort Calhoun had been idle since April 2011.
OPPD said it was able to negotiate cheaper coal contracts earlier this year and the utility worked to limit expenses. And the cost of electricity the utility had to buy to replace Fort Calhoun's output is being spread over three years.
With the new budget, OPPD’s rates will be approximately 6.7 percent below the regional average and 19.4 percent below the national average. The budget takes effect January 1st.