A Peek at the State's Electric Industry

Nebraska is the only state with no investor-owned electric companies operating within its borders, so a federal energy information agency believes the state could be affected differently than all other states by federal proposals to restructure the electric industry.

The restructuring report identified 164 utilities serving almost 855,000 customers in the state. According to the Energy Information Administration in 1997, 55 percent of the electricity in the state came from coal and the two nuclear power plants in the state supplied 22 percent. Virtually all the coal used for electricity production comes from Wyoming's Powder River Basin. 

The average price of electricity in the state is 5.32 cents per kilowatthour, which is the twelfth lowest in the nation.  The national price average in 1997 was 6.86 cents.  Nebraska's low cost of electricity is due, in part, to the proximity of the coal fields and low transportation costs associated with moving the coal from Wyoming to the power plants.

The average age of the state's generating systems is not young:  coal and oil-fired plants average 21 years, nuclear plants average 22 years, gas-fired plants average 30 years and hydroelectric plants average 46 years.

Between 1986 and 1996, the growth rates for various types of customers ranged from two percent annually for residential customers, to three percent for commercial customers and more than five percent for industrial customers.

The amount of pollution emissions related to electricity generation ranked the state at 33rd, 35th and 38th for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions, respectively.

The complete overview of Nebraska's electric industry is available at the Energy Information Administration web site at www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/st_profiles/nebraska/ne.html 

Return to the Summer 1999 Newsletter