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NE: OPPD hikes electric bills

By   /   December 13, 2012  /   7 Comments

By Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

TROUBLED REACTOR: Costs to fix the nuclear power plant at Fort Calhoun (pictured here during the Missouri River flooding in 2011) are the main reason behind next year’s rate hike.

OMAHA — Ignoring calls to delay Thursday’s vote to raise rates, the Omaha Public Power District board unanimously increased home electric costs by nearly 8 percent next year.

The bulk of the increase, aimed at closing a $60 million shortfall, is due to the continued shutdown of the problem-plagued nuclear power plant at Fort Calhoun.

Before the vote, several residents who tried to put the vote on hold complained that the board’s nuclear fix — hiring Exelon Corp. to run the reactor — is a mistake.

Lynn Moorer, a lawyer representing OPPD ratepayers, accused Exelon of suffering from a “deeply flawed safety culture.”

Nebraska Watchdog first reported earlier this year that OPPD signed Exelon to a 20-year $400-million deal.

OPPD President Gary Gates defended Exelon’s hiring, but insisted that the utility “continually monitors Exelon’s performance.”

Gates said the contract with Exelon comes with several “exit ramps”, allowing OPPD to get out of the deal if needed.

RATE HIKE “RESPONSIBLE”: Mike Cavanaugh, OPPD Director

Before voting for the rate hike, which adds $88 a year to the average residential user’s bill, board member Mike Cavanaugh said he doesn’t “want to pay this increase either”, but argued it’s the “responsible” thing to do.

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org.

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Joe Jordan

  • ProgressiveOasis

    Beyonds the bozos on the OPPD Board, I’m mystified as to how Gary Gates still has a job, since he is the self-proclaimed “nuclear expert” of OPPD. He should have been shown the door quite some time ago. I’m sure Exelon will do a better job of running Ft. Calhoun than Gates or the previous plant management had done. All those OPPD managers have been replaced already and the level of performance expectations has been raised to above OPPD standards. I keep wondering why Mr. Jordan has his panties in a wad about OPPD but let’s MUD skate on their constant rates increases???

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Harbert/100001406372795 David Harbert

    Unfortunately, the most dangerous threat to nuclear power plant safety has now been introduced to the plant at Ft. Calhoon, profit. I am not a profit hater, or anti-capitalist, or a business hater. Its just that some industries should not be operated on that basis. I would bet that there is something in the contract for bonuses if certain goals are achieved. Will we see less technicians working per shift? Will they try to cover up radioactive releases? Is this a reincarnation of Enron or Halliberton? Just food for thought.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.kean.754 Brian Kean
  • ProgressiveOasis

    We’ve already seen what the lack of focus on “profit” has produced under OPPD’s management at Ft. Calhoun. It has taken the admission that OPPD’s corporate and plant management team had failed and was going to continue to fail to prompt the Board to bring in an outside management company to clean house and get the plant back online and operating safely and efficiently…which it was supposed to be doing all along. Bringing up Enron is just a red herring. The real “heart” of Enron was its natural gas pipeline companies. The all survived the massive accounting fraud and never failed to deliver natural gas for even one day…and their customers never saw any increase in their costs due to the failure of “Enron”. Only a douche bag progressive moron would try to imply that the new plant management company is like Enron.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Harbert/100001406372795 David Harbert

    Well, progress-ass, there were plenty of service interruptions to Enron customers. In California, Enron thievs would shut down gass powered plants and cause rolling blackouts to run-up the costs of the electricity being produced. There were even deaths reported as a result of these events.
    And no, they didn’t see increases after enron (private company) failed, they saw all the increases during Enrons “missmanagement”.

  • ProgressiveOasis

    You might want to check some of your facts there idiot. The fact that electric generation plant operators conspired with Enron’s electricity traders with the help of an incompetent state run grid operation panel to create and exploit “shortages” has nothing to do with the natural gas pipeline companies or employees that Enron owned at the time…in fact, those were the only “real” assets the whole house of cards really did own. So the fact that some traders and plant operators broke existing laws and regulations in CA doesn’t really apply at all does it??? Maybe if you quit watching MSNBC for all your news and did a little actual research it would become apparent that you’re a moron…but you’re a self-described progressive so we already know you’re a moron.

  • Mike-Omaha

    There is enough info in this article to cause Ft.Calhoun to be shut permanently. It shows that the plant wasn’t even built correctly and OPPD has known it for years.

    http://www.simplyinfo.org/?p=8671