OPPD programs aim to save customers money during heat wave

Temperatures are ramping up and so is the electric bill
OPPD offers multiple options to help save customers money during the heat wave.
Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 4:14 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As the metro prepares for an unrelenting heat wave starting next week, many people are bracing for those sky-high electric bills.

“[The electric bill] goes way up,” La Vista resident Anne Jackson said. “I have teenage boys, so it cannot be hot in my house. We have the air conditioner running all the time.

Eric Bansalah with the Omaha Public Power District tells 6 News that OPPD is ready for the surge in demand.

“We are always prepared for that eventuality,” Bansalah said. “We have individuals whose job it is to prepare and kind of forecast how much energy we’re going to need.

Bansalah says a few smart moves could help keep costs down.

“A lot of times, what I tell my customer is to find what temp you’re most comfortable with,” Bansalah said. “Any amount they increase or decrease each degree can amount to a 5 percent increase or decrease [on the bill].”

A smart thermostat could save people about 25 percent, according to Bansalah.

A heat wave is on the horizon and OPPD is gearing up.

“Almost anything you can do on a thermostat you can now do on your phone,” Bansalah said. “You can control the temperature, whether you want it to go up or down. You can even turn the fan from auto to on [using your phone].”

Households can also enroll in OPPD’s “Smart Thermostat Program.”

OPPD will install a small device outside the customer’s home and will manage the thermostat on hot days.

An email will be sent to the customer letting them know OPPD is about to take over and from 3-7 p.m., the AC will shut off.

In the “Smart Thermostat Program,” AC management takes place no more than 12 days a year and never on weekends or holidays. Customers can opt out of up to two days a year.

Another option is to enroll in OPPD’s “Cool Smart Program.” For that one, customers aren’t required to have a smart thermostat. Instead, on very hot days, during peak hours, the AC will go on and off in 15-minute intervals.

“If your blower is still going, even though the air conditioner is turned off and it comes on 15 minutes later, there’s an interval there,” Bansalah said. “It happens pretty consistently. Your device is being managed.”

The programs also offer credits to your OPPD bill.