- Energy efficiency is helping to keep power demand stable in Nebraska, but that may mean higher fixed fees as utilities in the state struggle to maintain revenues.
- According to the Omaha World-Herald, Omaha Public Power District now expects declining demand through 2035 and Nebraska Public Power District has cut its predictions to just 0.1% annual growth.
- Stagnant demand has created challenges for utilities, and last year OPPD approved gradually increasing customer fixed fees. The new fees went into effect in June.
Utilities across the country are working to develop new business models that account for and encourage energy efficiency, but the near-term result has meant higher fixed fees for customers.
The Omaha World-Herald reports on a new piece of analysts from the Nebraska Power Association, which shows public utilities are slashing their demand growth forecasts: OPPD has recently reversed its expectations of annual growth, dropping them from 0.9% down to -0.3% between 2016 and 2035. NPPD has also reduced its expectations, from 0.5% to a paltry 0.1%.
In July, an OPPD report found 20% of the district’s projected retail energy sales will come from renewable energy sources by the end of this year, and the district is on track to surpass 30% by 2018. OPPD also said it continues to make progress in reducing peak demand on the hottest days and initiated programs to reduce peak demand by 300 MW by 2023.
Those efforts and others helped OPPD shave nearly 56 MW of demand last year, and the utility said it us projected to shave nearly 72 MW this year.
Many utilities are looking to fixed fees as a way to recoup the declining revenues. Last year, North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center’s quarterly review of solar policy proceedings showed 18 states were considering raising fixed fees, and the average requested fee increase was 70%.