- Associated Press - Friday, April 15, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - About 6,000 low-income electricity customers will qualify for a temporary assistance program, according to the Omaha Public Power District.

The program is meant to provide relief to low-income consumers whose bills are expected to increase when the utility’s restructured rates go into effect later this spring, the Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/265qn9D ).

OPPD’s vice president of customer service, Juli Comstock, said the program was created after concerns were raised about the utility’s plans to increase rates for residential customers.

The restructuring plan is meant to help the OPPD balance its costs amid falling demand, but critics have said it poses an undue burden on low-income customers.

In June, residential customers will start paying higher fixed fees on their monthly bills. The utility will gradually raise those fees from $10.25 a month to $30 a month in 2019. Also, the rate customers pay per kilowatt-hour of electricity will drop by 22 percent.

Under the new assistance program, customers who use fewer than 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month qualify for the initiative. They also must apply for the existing Nebraska Low Income Energy Assistance Program and meet its income requirements.

Qualified residents will receive a monthly credit on their bills, ranging from $2.50 to $7.50, through May 2020.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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