The Omaha Public Power District wants to know what’s on your mind, so the utility is hosting a series of open houses and online meetings to gather public input through their "OPPD Listens" campaign.
"This is really who we are. We're public power," said OPPD Vice President of Customer Relations Tim Burke. "The customers are our owners and so when we're out at these open houses, it really is as though we're having a shareholder meeting."
The first meeting comes Tuesday morning, March 18, at Salvation Army Kroc Center from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. An evening meeting follows at Alive Buffett Magnet Middle School from 5-7 p.m.
OPPD has also developed a special website, OPPDListens.com for this project. It includes a schedule for all ten open houses which stretch from Omaha to Humboldt to Blair.
The four areas of focus in talking to customers are as follows:
Burke says customers could see their suggested changes come to fruition fairly quickly, pointing to their current shift in generation.
"If you go back to 2000, the portfolio that we have was really heavily into fossil fuels and primarily coal," Burke explained, describing the portfolio then as a 70/30 split. "As we look at the renewable wind projects that we're participating in, it will be about 30/30/30. So 30% fossil fuels, 30% nuclear, and about 30% renewable by 2018. That's a leader in the country."
OPPD has also enlisted an independent firm to conduct a series of focus groups and surveys with randomly selected participants who will be asked about various generation options and possible changes to OPPD’s portfolio. This will be followed by another round of public meetings to give customers the opportunity to weigh in on what best meets their needs.
All information gathered will be presented to the OPPD Board of Directors in May. This will assist the board as it attempts to make informed decisions about the utility’s future based on the expressed desires of constituents.