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Omaha Public Power District board approves 2017 budget; no rate increase planned

The board of directors for the Omaha Public Power District on Dec. 15 approved its 2017 budget with no plans to increase rates for customers.

The $1.1 billion budget includes funding for the decommissioning of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, which the utility closed in October. Other factors in the budget, according to a news release, include transmission facility construction, compliance with regulations and the expectation of low load growth as a result of energy efficiency and changing customer usage.

The board voted to select Salt Lake City-based EnergySolutions as the decommissioning services provider for Fort Calhoun, and OPPD said it will cancel its current operating services agreement with Exelon Generation Co. LLC, a subsidiary of Exelon Corp. The OPPD board also voted to set up a "Decommissioning and Benefits Reserve Account" to manage any risks related to unexpected cost overruns or retirement plan liabilities that might arise related to the Fort Calhoun decommissioning, according to the news release.

Additionally, OPPD staff recommended to the board an integrated resource plan that would result in 50% of retail sales coming from renewable energy. The board approved utility management to negotiate and add additional wind generation to the OPPD portfolio.