The 2017 announcement that Facebook’s will build a data center in Sarpy County garnered headlines – and rightfully so. It will be one of the biggest business projects in the state’s history.
But the work that helped bring Facebook to Nebraska started years ago when OPPD started developing innovative rates tailored to bring in new businesses and help existing ones manage their energy costs.
The rate that Facebook has touted in their decision to land here, 261M, was approved by OPPD’s Board of Directors in January and makes the California-based company as the utility’s first high voltage service customer.
OPPD quickly created the rate during an intense four-month development period that involved employees from many areas of the utility. OPPD reviewed the rate internally, then independent rate consultant The Brattle Group reviewed it. As a public utility, OPPD could be quick and agile when creating the rate. But it also required the utility ensure the rate was fair and reasonable, as required by law.
261M is one of the innovative rates OPPD offers. In 2015, OPPD’s Board of Directors approved Rate 261, a high-voltage transmission service rate that helped lay the groundwork for 261M.
They also approved a new Green Sponsorship Rate Rider (499) that year. This rider helps customers interested in purchasing a large volume of renewable attributes to meet their sustainability goals.
The many rates available to OPPD customers aren’t only for new businesses. OPPD knows that it is also important to existing customers. These rates help them ensure they have rates that remain low and options available to them if they are looking to expand.
OPPD Economic Development manager Tim O’Brien said the utility’s ability to react and solve customer needs while supporting exiting customers has created a substantial economic impact for our area.
“Our efforts are getting noticed. We continue to have a healthy amount of possible projects in the pipeline,” O’Brien said. “The four R’s drive our team: Rates, Reliability, Relationships, and for certain projects, Renewables.”
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