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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District

How Does That Work?

OPPD’s online rate calculator for businesses

August 31, 2021 | Wire Staff | economic development, how does that work
Man fingers setting cost button on minimum position. Concept image for illustration of cost management. rate calculator

OPPD is proud to serve commercial and industrial customers that help the community and the economy thrive.

The utility’s economic development team ensures that OPPD supports the business needs of new and expanding OPPD customers throughout every stage of their projects. An important part of attracting new businesses is sharing OPPD’s rate advantage.

The utility already boasts rates for industrial and commercial customers that are more than 10% and 18% below the United States averages, respectively. In 2016, the OPPD Board of Directors approved a general rate freeze through 2021. This decision drives the competitive advantage further, towards an ultimate goal of general rates that are 20% below the regional average.

One tool commercial customers can use in just seconds is the Rate Calculator on There, potential commercial and industrial customers can get an estimate of average annual energy costs and cost per kilowatt hour.

How does it work?

Companies need to supply only two of three metrics to use the calculator:

  • kW demand: the maximum amount of electricity used at the location if everything that requires electricity was turned on at the same time
  • Total energy consumption per month, in kilowatt-hours
  • Load factor: the percentage of worked hours per year, calculated as the total hours operating divided by 8760 (total number of hours in a year)

Why only two metrics? The tool uses an equation that relates all three metrics; any two of them can be used to calculate the third.

It can be difficult for companies to collect information on total monthly energy consumption before a facility is constructed. However, this feature of the tool allows even new companies to estimate rates for facilities that do not yet exist by submitting the kW demand and load factor.

The Rate Calculator inputs the metrics into an algorithm designed using OPPD’s commercial and industrial rates to return estimates for average energy cost per kWh and average annual energy cost. The energy demand metric automatically determines which OPPD rate applies to the customer. There’s no need to sift through OPPD’s detailed rate manual.

The public power advantage

In its nearly two decades of use, the Rate Calculator has become the most visited page on the economic development page.

Senior Economic Development Coordinator Devin Meisinger explained how the tool allows site selectors to compare OPPD’s rates with competitors and provides concrete evidence of OPPD’s public power advantage.

“We at OPPD have always touted to our customers that public power is a good thing that means low rates. When a company is looking to potentially put a plant somewhere, they’re able to easily calculate what energy would cost at OPPD. The Rate Calculator is a great comparison tool that can be used to calculate savings.”

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