OPPD Proposes Rate Increase

OPPD is a proposing to increase rates.

OPPD tells Channel Six News the proposed increase is not only due to flood fighting costs but a handful of others.

Early estimates of the proposed increase -- which would go into affect January, 1st 2012 -- could average each customer $5 to $6 more a month.

In June, flood waters surrounded and saturated the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant in Blair. Special berms were brought in to help keep out even more water threatening to breach the power station. In the end, OPPD avoided catastrophe but at a cost.

"And that can be translated to your wallet, on the (monthly) bill, starting January of 2012. OPPD tells Channel Six News, they are citing flood costs and other yearly budget increase expenses."

Mike Jones with OPPD tells Channel Six News, some of the factors that have contributed to the proposed increase include: the flood fight itself, the cost of complying with new federal air pollution rules and the increase in fuel and purchased power costs.

In a statement released Sunday on OPPD’s web site, OPPD has nearly $3 Billion in assets that needed protecting during the flood, the public power company trimmed $9 Million from it's budget to help curb any cost to customers and in an early estimate, the flood fight cost OPPD around $60 Million which would result in the proposed rate increase.

The initial rate increase could be around 5.9% or about $5 to $6 more a month on customer’s bills.

Barb Pope, a current OPPD customer says, "This is the holiday season and this is really... this is not going to be a good Christmas present for anybody … at all, you know five bucks if you don't have nothing, can go a long way."

At Together, Inc., you don't have to tell these people that. While most of the people that walk through here do have jobs, they are already stretching a thin dollar. Michelle Moys Dill, the Executive Director of Together, Inc. says, "$5 or $6 doesn't seem like a lot for a lot of us, it just means one less coffee or we take our lunch one more day instead of eating out a couple days a week but for a lot of families it's still not an option, they are already doing those things they are not spending that extra money, so $5 or $6 extra a month has a huge impact on them."

Jones tells Channel Six News, OPPD Board of Directors will approve the final cost of the flood fight, while the initial number is $61 Million but that could change by Tuesday. Once the board approves the final “official” cost, they can adjust how much they will propose to increase rates.

Everyone is invited to learn more at the company's board meeting Thursday. It starts at 10 a.m. and will be held at the downtown Energy Plaza, off 16th Street. OPPD employees will be on hand to answer questions.

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