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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Your utility: 5 facts about public power

October 2, 2023 | Julie Wasson | industry, public power
transmission lines silhouetted against a sunset demand for power

Public power is a unique part of living in Nebraska.

The state is the only one in the country where all residents get electricity from public power utilities or cooperatives. This week, Oct. 1-7, is Public Power Week. In recognition, here are a few facts you may not know about your public power utilities.


Public power customers enjoy electricity rates averaging 11.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to investor-owned utility customers, who pay an average of 13.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Credit: APPA, 2023


Large presence

Public power utilities represent 60 percent of the electric utilities in the United States, serving 1 in 7 Americans. Nebraska has 166 public power utilities and cooperatives.

public power utilities
Credit: APPA
public power utilities
Credit: APPA

Local control

Customers of public power are also their utility’s owners. All public power utilities and cooperatives are controlled by boards of directors. With this system, Nebraskans:

  • Elect individuals who are ultimately responsible for setting rates and strategic policies
  • Have access to open meetings conducted by the governing authorities of the state’s utilities
  • Have multiple opportunities to provide input to decisions made by their local utility

Commitment to community

Employees of public power utilities are your neighbors and friends, and they call the communities they serve home. They work to strengthen economic development in their communities and bring new business and jobs to the state. The utilities also make in-lieu-of-tax payments to the counties they serve, money that goes to fund local government and schools. In 2018, OPPD paid $32.9 million in such payments to counties in its service territory.


According to data released in April 2018 from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Nebraska’s 2016 average electrical customer outage duration was the nation’s lowest. Excluding major weather events, that duration was 27 minutes. The nation’s highest, West Virginia, was six hours. Even with major weather events included, Nebraska still ranked the lowest in the nation, as shown in the graphic below.

public power utilities

Public power is a unique part of Nebraska, and a tradition that has electrified the homes of residents from large cities to small farmsteads. It is a commitment to the state and the people OPPD proudly serves.

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About Julie Wasson

Julie Wasson is the brand journalism strategist at Omaha Public Power District and the editor of The Wire. She has more than 25 years of print journalism and social media experience, including two stints at the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Julie Wasson >

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