By Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog
OMAHA — The ongoing shut down of the troubled Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant will cost you about $60 next year.
That figure is just one of several made public Wednesday as the Omaha Public Power District board prepares to raise rates in 2013 by an average of 6.9 percent — 7.7 percent for residential users.
The board is scheduled to vote next month on the proposed increase.
By the way, the extra cash for Fort Calhoun is only part of the higher cost of Omaha’s electricity.
In addition to the $60 blamed on the nuclear reactor, users likely will be hit for another $28 hike — due to lower market prices for OPPD’s out-of-Omaha sales as well as additional capital improvements — bringing the average 2013 increase up to $88.
OPPD officials argue that despite next year’s proposed increase, electricity here remains a bargain when compared to other parts of the country where costs are roughly 18 percent higher than Omaha.
At the same time though, customers just down the road are paying less.
According to OPPD, the Lincoln Electric System is looking at a 2.3 percent rate hike next year.
As for Fort Calhoun Station, OPPD has scheduled a February start-up.
But there has been no indication from federal regulators that the plant will be up and running then, and OPPD officials admit February may be a bit optimistic.
The reactor has been offline for more than 18 months following safety violations and flooding problems on the Missouri River.