Transmission line project

The City of Fremont has a $20 million cost associated with the new transmission line being built by the Omaha Public Power District. This cost, along with the $50 million scrubber installed in 2015 at the Lon D. Wright Power Plant, is once again leading to a 4-percent increase in customer electrical rates.

Customers associated with the Fremont Department of Utilities will again see their electric rates increase by 4-percent in both 2018 and 2019.

During its Tuesday evening meeting, the Fremont City Council approved and had the third and final reading of an ordinance establishing rate schedules for electricity consumed by customers of the Municipal Electric System.

In 2015, JK Energy Consulting, LLC, was hired to conduct a Cost of Service Study of the Department of Utility’s electric rates, Staff Report information shows. A Cost of Service Study reviews revenues and expenses ensuring that electric rates are adequate to cover costs and pay for projected expenses.

In addition, the study also ensures that the customer charge for each rate class is paying its proportional share of expenses and that each rate is fair and non-discriminatory.

The 2015 study, said John Krajewski of JK Energy Consulting, recommended that the City of Fremont implement 4-percent rate increases in November 2015, 2016 and beyond to cover projected expenses. The driving factor for the increase was the addition of the $50 million scrubber installed in 2015 at the Lon D. Wright Power Plant; as well as a new transmission line being built from the grid to Fremont by the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), staff report information says.

The projected expenditures projected in the 2017-2019 biennial budget warrant the 4-percent rate increase, staff report information says

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These increases include: a $1 monthly increase for residential and suburban customers, $2 monthly increase for commercial service single-phase customers, $5 increase monthly for a three-phase customer, $5 monthly increase in the general power customer charge and $10 monthly increase for large power and large power contract customers.

The increase will take effect Nov.2 of 2017 and 2018. The ordinance was passed by a vote of 5-2 – Ward 2 Councilmember Susan Jacobus and Ward 4 Councilmember Matt Bechtel no-voted – after Mayor Scott Getzschman cast the deciding vote in Ward 3 Councilmember Scott Schaller’s absence.

Jacobus’ no vote came after she questioned the need to automatically increase rates for two years, why not implement the 4-percent increase for one year, assess where the city is, and hold another vote next year?, she asked.

For more information regarding City Council activity, people are encouraged to visit www.fremontne.gov.

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