Columbus – The monthly Board of Directors meeting Friday held good news for some NPPD customers. There will be no hike in the electric rates of wholesale and retail customers of Nebraska Public Power District, following approval by the Board.
Earlier in the year NPPD had alerted consumers of a possible 3.5 percent rate hike.
President and CEO Pat Pope informed the Board in September a proposed two percent rate increase had been reduced to zero for the upcoming year.
Several factors have made this possible, including statewide efforts by management and employees to reduce costs without compromising reliability or safety; strong summer revenues; a reduction of personnel by nearly 50 positions from the District's annual budget; and ongoing efficiency improvements.
"Staff has done an excellent job in reducing unnecessary expenses to get us to the point we will not need an increase," Pope said.
"In the past, cost pressures have forced us to raise rates. Today, we are in a period where rigorous efforts to reduce expenses, better than anticipated revenues, and slightly less cost pressures are giving NPPD an opportunity to avoid a rate increase," he said.
Earlier this year, NPPD alerted its wholesale and retail customers it would likely need a projected a 3.5 percent increase. Cost cutting measures, however, were able to reduce that proposed increase to two percent.
Continued efficiencies and a strong financial summer closed the gap to zero.
Pope added, "The bottom line is we have had a much better year in 2013 than we budgeted, and staff has done an excellent job in scrubbing budgets and reducing costs without compromising reliability and safety. We will be doing everything we can to keep future rate increases to a minimum and help keep public power in Nebraska as competitive as possible."
As a public power utility, NPPD rates are set to cover costs and do not include a profit margin. Revenues received are used to pay operating expenses and make necessary investments in maintenance, construction, and system upgrades.