OPPD board approves $1.18 billion budget

By Aaron Sanderford, Omaha World-Herald

[Monthly fixed fees] will increase to $30 a month in 2019, up from $10.25 in 2015. Utility officials have said the shift is needed as appliances and devices become more efficient and as more people start generating power at home, including by using solar panels. Read the entire article here.

Note: According to OPPD, a total of only about 100 customers have installed solar energy systems, to date. In a recent Omaha World-Herald article, OPPD management stated that it “had not yet determined how much more, if any, customers are paying for electricity because of the renewable energy the utility has already added to the mix . . . People should not draw a direct correlation between renewables and rising rates, said Javier Fernandez, the district’s chief financial officer.”

Those who take measures to make their homes more energy efficient or who install solar energy systems benefit not only their own households but also their neighbors’ and their local utility in a number of ways. Six benefits of rooftop solar are excerpted below from the following source: Let’s Be Clear: Solar Energy Benefits Everyone, Solar Energy Industries Association

Widely-recognized benefits of rooftop solar:

  • Rooftop solar reduces the need for utilities to build new transmission and distribution infrastructure.
  • In the long run, “fixed costs” are not truly “fixed”. The need for them ultimately depends on demand for electricity, and rooftop solar reduces that demand.
  • Expensive utility transformers can get overloaded on hot summer days when people are using more energy to cool their homes. Rooftop solar can reduce strain on the system on these days, which extends the life of expensive utility equipment and creates savings for everyone.
  • Avoided fuel hedging costs created by volatile fossil fuels like natural gas is another widely-recognized benefit of rooftop solar.
  • Avoided electricity losses from power plants that are located far away from cities is another benefit rooftop solar provides.
  • Solar and other renewables reduce the state’s reliance on expensive “peaker” generation plants that would drive prices higher if they had to run.

PUBLISHED BY THE OMAHA WORLD-HERALD

  • The fixed cost on your OPPD bill will now be $30 a month, up from $10.25 in 2015
    Outgoing board member Tom Barrett, who represents northeast Omaha, asked OPPD management whether they had done the research to verify their prediction that most customers would pay the same or less under the new rate structure. Management officials said they had not yet done so. 
  • OPPD’s board set to take an environmental tilt. What will it mean for electricity costs? 
    The costs of OPPD going further, faster on renewables and carbon are not yet clear. OPPD officials have said they had not yet determined how much more, if any, customers are paying for electricity because of the renewable energy the utility has already added to the mix . . . People should not draw a direct correlation between renewables and rising rates, said Javier Fernandez, the district’s chief financial officer.