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OPPD won't increase electricity rates next year

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Customers of the Omaha Public Power District won't see their electricity rates increase next year.

The utility's board approved a nearly $1.15 billion budget Thursday that keeps rates unchanged going into next year.

In January, OPPD increased electricity rates 6.9 percent largely to pay for the cost of repairing the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant.

The utility that serves 13 southeast Nebraska counties just got permission to restart the nuclear plant earlier this week. Fort Calhoun had been idle since April 2011.

OPPD officials say they were able to negotiate cheaper coal contracts earlier this year, and the utility worked to limit expenses.

And the cost of electricity the utility had to buy to replace Fort Calhoun's output is being spread over three years.