OPPD proposes higher monthly service charge, but average users won’t see higher bills

Residential customers of the Omaha Public Power District could see big changes soon in how they’re billed for electricity.

OPPD is proposing to raise the monthly fixed service charge for residential customers while charging proportionately less for actual usage.

It’s a response to the same market and regulatory forces that led to a budget shortfall this year. The district will dip into reserves to make up the difference and probably propose a rate increase of about 4 percent for 2016.

If approved, the new rate structure would mean higher bills for low-use customers — homes with monthly bills under $90 — and lower bills for customers with high usage — homes with monthly bills over $125, said OPPD Chief Financial Officer Edward Easterlin. An average user’s bill wouldn’t change much.

The idea is to have bills more accurately reflect the actual cost to deliver power to each customer regardless of usage.