OMAHA (kptm) - Seven dollars and thirty cents. That's how much on average your energy bill could increase a month if OPPD approves a proposed rate hike.
Sharita Mitchell is a single mother on a budget. She says paying her bills every month is often a struggle. And hearing that OPPD may increase her rates by 6.9 percent makes her a little uneasy. "I don't think it should go up cause its already hard, even on just the budget plan. So, I don't think that's gonna work out for a lot of people," Mitchell says.
"I think nobody wants to pay more but it depends on whether or not it's warranted and I think people will disagree on that," Rachel Sepulveda says.
Since 2004 rates have risen every single year. And if this proposed increase passes, 2013 will be the second highest rate hike in 9 years. "I think there are often things business factors and business decisions that are made that not everybody is aware of, so I guess maybe more transparency into the process is what would help," Sepulveda says.
OPPD says there are three drivers for the proposed increase: the restart and recovery of the Fort Calhoun nuclear power station, which is still currently offline. In addition, they say they aren't making enough off their excess energy, natural gas prices are down over 70 percent. They also say the rate increase is to protect capital investments. Meaning they need more money to operate. "That's gonna hurt a lot of people. Especially just being on fixed incomes…If anyone on a fixed income because that's gonna hurt a lot of people, so I don't think they should go up, they should go down more then anything cause it's really high and even though they have that new go green thing and the energy saving bulbs…it's still kinda makes your bill high, higher than what you expect it to be," Mitchell says.
OPPD officials won't talk about the proposed rate increase until they meet on Thursday. However they do say that once the reactor at the Fort Calhoun station is back up, rates could go back down. "And how long is that gonna take for them to get that and then that's a could, there's no for definite yes it's gonna go down or no it's not gonna go down," Mitchell says.
"I don't like it, I just don't like what they're doing," Omaha resident, Terry Leflore says.
"There is no competition, so who else are we gonna go to? Ya know, light some candles that's gonna be about it," Mitchell says.
Hoping in her case, it doesn't come down to that.
OPPD officials will discuss the proposal at the board meeting on Thursday. They will vote on the plan December 13th.
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