The Wire’s top stories of 2021 reflect some of the major events of the past year as well as some of the everyday issues that OPPD helps its customers address.
And The Wire continued to provide information around traditional utility topics, as well as valuable advice for your home from OPPD Energy Advisor Eric BenSalah.
Here are the top 10 stories for 2021, based on page views.
10. Board approves modest rate increase. After holding rates steady for five years, OPPD proposed an average 2.5% increase in retail rates across all customer classes. The increase was part of the utility’s $1.8 billion Corporate Operating Plan for 2022. The additional funds will help the utility work to improve and modernize its power distribution system. The utility’s board of directors approved the increase in December.
9. Using a second fridge or freezer. Be it a beer fridge in the garage or an extra freezer in the basement, many households have multiple refrigerators or freezers. There are several simple steps you can take to conserve energy and cut the costs of operating a second unit in your home.
8. Southwest Power Pool. OPPD joined the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) in 2009. The regional transmission organization spans from Texas to North Dakota. The SPP manages the power grid around the clock, ensuring the grid’s safety and reliability in the event of outages. During February’s polar vortex event, the SPP directed its utilities in 17 states, including OPPD, to curtail energy usage. The SPP ensures that customers benefit from lower-cost and more diverse sources of energy, no matter where they may be in the SPP footprint.
7. Customer-owned generation. With more OPPD customers looking into owning their own power generation, OPPD revamped and streamlined its process of applying for customer-owned generation (COG). The program’s webpage includes a quick-start guide and pay-off calculator so customers can determine how long it would be before the solar system pays for itself.
6. Initial solar contract signed. OPPD took an important step in its Power with Purpose project in the spring when it signed a contract with Community Energy Inc. for Platteview Solar, an 81-megawatt solar array spread across about 500 leased acres south of Yutan, Nebraska, in eastern Saunders County. When complete, this facility will be capable of powering about 14,000 average homes.
5. Who’s responsible for outage repairs? This How Does That Work post describes what damage OPPD is responsible for repairing after a major power outage, and what damage is the responsibility of homeowners.
4. Preparing for controlled outages. The extreme cold of February’s polar vortex caused a strain on the electric system. The SPP directed its utilities in 17 states to curtail energy usage in order to balance supply and demand. That meant that some customers were affected by planned periodic power outages until the weather normalized.
3. Portable home generators. This How Does That Work post on safely using portable home generators continues to draw readers. Storm- or weather-related outages pique interest in the topic. Campers, farmers and preppers use the devices, as well.
2. Request to conserve energy. In mid-February, when bitterly cold weather sharply increased demand for energy across the Plains region south into Texas and Oklahoma, OPPD asked its customers to take steps to conserve energy. The Southwest Power Pool had declared an Energy Emergency Alert, seeking help from its member organizations to balance peak demand.
1. Energy efficiency resolutions. Each month of 2021, OPPD Energy Advisor Eric BenSalah provided tips to help customers improve their energy efficiency and save money. Topics covered include using smart technology, cleaning air return registers, and making windows more energy efficient instead of replacing them.
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