Idaho PUC Schedules Rate Case Workshops


Staff members from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will be in Rexburg and Preston Jan. 7-8 to present information about PacifiCorp's (doing business as Rocky Mountain Power in eastern Idaho) application for an average 4% rate increase.

Rocky Mountain Power, which is the eastern (Utah, Idaho and Wyoming) portion of PacifiCorp's six-state territory, serves about 70,000 customers. On Sept. 19, PacifiCorp filed an application with the commission to increase base rates by 4%, or $5.9 million annually.

The size of the increase varies according to customer class. PacifiCorp proposes a 4.73% for residential customers, 7.96% for large commercial customers, 2.3% for irrigation customers and no increase for small commercial or public street lighting customers.

The utility says the increase is needed to pay for load growth, capital investment and operating costs beyond the company's control. According to Rocky Mountain Power President Richard Walje, the company plans to spend about $20 billion over the next decade on new generation resources, transmission lines and distribution facilities.

PacifiCorp seeks cost recovery for two new wind projects and a natural gas plant. The wind projects are Goodnoe Hills, a 94 MW project in south central Washington, and the 70.2 MW Marengo II project in southeast Washington. The natural gas plant is the 500 MW Chehalis project near Centralia, Washington. Costs for those projects are shared proportionately by those customers in PacifiCorp's territory who benefit from the projects.

According to PacifiCorp, the utility is attempting to reduce customer demand by implementing demand-side management (DSM) programs, which reduced 300 MW of demand over the last decade. The company estimates that expanded DSM programs will reduce demand by 750 MW over the next 10 years. Those programs are principally incentives to customers to reduce consumption by cutting back on air-conditioning and irrigation during peak-use teams.

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SOURCE: Idaho Public Utilities Commission

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