OWH Editorial Board - Who Does It Support?

Last weekend the Omaha World Herald passed by a great opportunity to endorse my candidacy for the OPPD Board representing Subdivision 4.

I'm amused. It looks like a backhanded compliment for him at best.


The two reasons OWH gives for supporting him?

1. His close tie to the management of the Ft. Calhoun nuclear plant, and

2. He “…has been forceful in defending the need to boost the fixed charge on all residential customers…”

Mmmm, ok. Thank you for your unstated support, OWH. I can read between the lines. I spent summer and fall traveling the seven counties of OPPD 4 and can say confidently people in the district know:

1. Ft. Calhoun was long overdue for closure. I most often run into voters angered with the enormity of the money lost there. Some lament its closing - even I have a relative working there and watching part of my family move from Omaha saddens me. But management ran up the costs of that plant far in excess of anything one could call good business decision-making – the "478 MW Fort Calhoun unit [had] generating costs above $70/MWh (much higher than the ~$44/MWh average for single-unit plants)." Every Husker fan knows that sometimes you simply have to move on rather than stick with a bad decision. (Think of Coach Callahan and the West Coast Offense). That is simply Business 101 – you don’t throw good money after bad. But OPPD management and board decided they would be more loyal to their employees rather than to their customers. (Ft. Calhoun represents the first layoffs in OPPD history). It’s time to put OPPD customers first.

2. The annual increase in service charge every year for ’16, ’17, ’18, and ’19 hurts. Not one of the other candidates in this race – since the primary – have supported the increase. The restructure hurts those on a fixed income and those in OPPD 4 the most, and it perversely removes incentives for customers to invest and install energy efficiency technologies and practices in their homes. This increase in costs comes at the same time that corn prices are struggling to stay above $3.00/bushel, the consumer price index for electricity (yes, there is a CPI for electricity!) is down, social security had a 0% increase, and US banks are considering charging negative interest rates like banks have started doing in the EU and Japan. Adding insult to this injury is last month’s 4.5% pay increase for CEO Burke – paid for with these higher rates! I was the only person to speak out against the higher pay for the CEO at the OPPD board meeting. If elected I will work to change this rate restructuring and to establish energy efficiency goals.

I understand OWH wants to support a 30 year incumbent. But heck, even Tom Osborne left the head coaching job after 25.

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