The Omaha Public Power District's flood fight has cost the utility about $57 million so far, with costs continuing to mount.
However, it's still unclear how the flood will affect rates.
"We're in better shape than we expected; we're trying to make it work," said Edward Easterlin, OPPD chief financial officer.
Easterlin told the OPPD board during a work session Tuesday that August brought generally good financial news, including electricity use that continues to be higher than projected.
Not all the news, though, was good. Damage assessment at the flood-idled Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station is pointing to a longer-than-hoped outage.
Initially, David Bannister, vice president and chief nuclear officer, had said that if all went well, the plant could fire up in September. November has become the new target, though the schedule could move again, he said.
The damage assessment is finding a mixed bag. Some systems fared better than expected, he said, some worse. The final damage tally won't be known until after the assessments.
Tim Burke, OPPD's vice president of customer service and public affairs, said any talk of a rate increase depends on the level of reimbursements from federal disaster aid and insurance, the extent of damage to the nuclear plant and how long Fort Calhoun remains off line.
To improve the utility's cash on hand, management plans to ask the board during Thursday's monthly meeting to OK accelerating an already-planned $300 million bond issue. Bonds would be sold between now and December 2012, Eastlerin said.
Half the bonds would refinance existing debt. The rest would pay for capital improvements and offset the domino effect of flood costs. Those flood costs have been paid, but doing so has required money from elsewhere in the budget, he said.
With August expenses, the direct cost of the flood fight is up $12.5 million from last month.