Columbus – The monthly Board ofDirectors meeting Friday held good news for some NPPD customers. There will beno hike in the electric rates of wholesale and retail customers of Nebraska Public Power District,following approval by the Board.
Earlierin the year NPPD had alerted consumers of a possible 3.5 percent rate hike.
Presidentand CEO Pat Pope informed the Board in September a proposed two percent rateincrease had been reduced to zero for the upcoming year.
Severalfactors have made this possible, including statewide efforts by management andemployees to reduce costs without compromising reliability or safety; strongsummer revenues; a reduction of personnel by nearly 50 positions from theDistrict's annual budget; and ongoing efficiency improvements.
"Staffhas done an excellent job in reducing unnecessary expenses to get us to thepoint we will not need an increase," Pope said.
"Inthe past, cost pressures have forced us to raise rates. Today, we are in aperiod where rigorous efforts to reduce expenses, better than anticipatedrevenues, and slightly less cost pressures are giving NPPD an opportunity toavoid a rate increase," he said.
Earlierthis year, NPPD alerted its wholesale and retail customers it would likely needa projected a 3.5 percent increase. Cost cutting measures, however, were ableto reduce that proposed increase to two percent.
Continuedefficiencies and a strong financial summer closed the gap to zero.
Popeadded, "The bottom line is we have had a much better year in 2013 than webudgeted, and staff has done an excellent job in scrubbing budgets and reducingcosts without compromising reliability and safety. We will be doing everythingwe can to keep future rate increases to a minimum and help keep public power inNebraska as competitive as possible."
Asa public power utility, NPPD rates are set to cover costs and do not include aprofit margin. Revenues received are used to pay operating expenses and makenecessary investments in maintenance, construction, and system upgrades.