The Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) Board of Directors recently received a positive financial check-up for the Nebraska-based utility.
The information, which was presented to the OPPD board during its monthly meeting, was included in an annual monitoring report for Board Policy: Strategic Directive (SD) 3 - Access to Credit Markets.
For OPPD’s annual budgets, the board establishes a minimum total debt service coverage ratio of two times. OPPD has maintained this ratio for the past six years and is on track to meet the goal again for 2020.
With regards to rates, OPPD continues to uphold its commitment of no general rate increases for five years, through 2021.
The latest figures compiled from the Energy Information Administration show that OPPD’s rates are 8.9% below the regional average.
Based on these and other factors, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s latest ratings give OPPD an Aa2 and AA, respectively. These ratings are among the highest ratings a public power utility can receive, OPPD noted.
“OPPD’s solid financial position has allowed it to access credit markets during the current market downturn, while lower rated entities have had limited access,” it said.
The board accepted the SD-3 monitoring report, which means the board finds OPPD to be sufficiently in compliance with this policy.
Board also receives update on strategic initiative
The board also received an update on OPPD’s Pathways to Decarbonization strategic initiative.
A long-term study is underway to identify pathways to improve our environmental impact while maintaining reliability, resiliency and affordability.
The initiative has been broken into four focused areas: Energy Portfolio, Internal Operations, Customer, and Community.
The Energy Portfolio project is examining long-term generation strategies to eliminate or drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Internal Operations project is focused on creating an inventory of carbon emissions across all areas of the utility.
The Customer project involves customer education and product development to support decarbonization goals, and the Community project is focused on establishing OPPD as a leader and influencer to accomplish decarbonization goals with its communities.
OPPD is asking customers and other stakeholders to share their thoughts and perspectives on these projects at OPPDListens.com, as part of its State of the Utility presentation.
Future engagement on this initiative, beyond the State of Utility presentation, is already being planned and will continue as the initiative moves forward.
Power with Purpose plan
Meanwhile, OPPD’s Power with Purpose (PwP) plan, approved in November 2019, was also reviewed by the board.
The plan includes the addition of between 400 and 600 megawatts of accredited utility-scale solar generation, as well as the addition of modernized natural gas backup generation assets.
OPPD continues to assess site options and bid proposals for PwP generation resources, and an announcement will be made on specific generation resources and locations in the coming months.
More information is available within the State of the Utility at OPPDListens.com.