Faced with rising costs and the need to maintain reliable, robust electrical service, OPPD is seeking a modest general rate increase in 2024 to keep up with growing customer demand.
The exact increase would vary based on the type of customer and their usage, but the average among the different customer classes would be 2.5%. OPPD leaders proposed the rate adjustment in the utility’s $2.1 billion annual budget, known as the Corporate Operating Plan.
“The rising costs of net power to serve our load, both existing and new growth, and inflationary and supply chain pressures are contributing to the proposed rate action,” said OPPD Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bishop. “In addition, OPPD continues to invest in work that supports the reliability, resiliency and overall health of our system during a transformational period for OPPD and the industry as a whole.”
Bishop said the budget priorities for 2024 include modernizing infrastructure and putting into place programs that allow customers to better manage their energy use.
If approved by OPPD’s Board of Directors, the new rate would go into effect on Jan. 1. Residential rates would rise by 1.6%. For average residential customers with a monthly bill of $111, the increase amounts to 44 cents per month or $5.28 per year.
OPPD sets rates for different customer classes based on a cost-of-service study, a standard practice among utilities. Costs are allocated based on how much each customer group contributes to OPPD’s expenses, and thus, customers with the highest usage will see the biggest increases. More details are available in OPPD’s Rate Fundamental Report.
OPPD’s rates have also become more competitive compared to the national average over the last five years, with retail rates 26.5% below the national average in 2022, according to the Energy Information Administration. The proposed increase would maintain OPPD’s competitive edge while preserving the health of the utility’s operations.
OPPD is seeing unprecedented growth in demand for electricity and expects to add approximately 100 megawatts per year over the next decade. The utility is also forging ahead with its Powering the Future to 2050 plan, which will modernize the local grid and give customers more options to manage their energy use.
Customers can manage the impact of the increase on their bills by conserving energy. OPPD has provided some tools and energy-efficiency tips on OPPD’s Energy Efficiency page. The utility also has assistance programs for customers struggling to pay their utility bills.
“We understand the challenges some customers may face with even a modest increase and want to work with them,” said Tim McAreavey, vice president of Customer Service. “We encourage anyone struggling to pay their bill to call us before they fall behind.”
OPPD leaders presented the 2024 Corporate Operating Plan to the utility’s Board of Directors on Tuesday during the board’s November committee meeting. The board will take public questions on OPPD Community Connect through Dec. 17 and is scheduled to vote on the proposal the following week.
Customers can also contact a customer care representative by emailing email@example.com or calling 402-536-4131 in the Omaha metro area, or toll-free outside the metro at 1-877-536-4131.
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