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NE senator wants more details on electric bills so 'people know what they're paying for'

Do you know what you're really paying the power company for?

You already get itemized bills from gas and cell phone companies, but now one Nebraska senator wants you to have more details on your electricity bill.

"Make sure that people know what they're paying for,” said Sen. Justin Wayne (Dist. 13)

Omaha Senator Justin Wayne is calling for more transparency from electric companies with legislative bill 657.

"It's really that simple," said Sen. Wayne.

A bill for a Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) customer shows they owe $88.13 after taxes, but it's the number labeled "electric charges" that has Sen. Wayne concerned.

At first glance, it looks like $82.36 is the charge for the amount of electricity used that month, but it's not. According to NPPD, this customer used $47.71 of electricity. The rest of this charge is fees and a base rate every customer pays.

Senator Wayne wants this information to be included in every bill, so you know exactly where your money is going.

"If they can do that now, then they should be able to put that on a bill, so you don't have to call," said Sen. Wayne.

"I'm not totally opposed to unbundling, I'm more concerned about the extent of unbundling," said Pat Pope, CEO & President of NPPD

Pope says the language in the legislation is too broad and would require companies to detail information he thinks would only confuse customers and clutter the bill. Pope thinks customers are more concerned about the bottom line.

"Most people really aren't going to know how to deal with that data, they're not even going to understand what that means in the bigger picture of things," said Pope.

The Nebraska Power Association is also against the proposed law and says some power districts would have to pay for more staff or system upgrades to round up all the information required by this legislation.

"If I call a company and I say, I want to know what my costs are, I would hope right now they should still be able to tell me that," said Sen. Wayne.

Senator Wayne agrees the legislation does call for a lot of information, but he's willing to scale it back if companies believe that would better serve Nebraskans.

"If we can find common ground somewhere, I'm all for that," said Sen. Wayne.

The Nebraska Power Association says instead of creating new state regulation, it would like to see power districts address this with customers at the local level.

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