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Geezer Group Talks Turkey Over Raising Rates

Taking advantage of the paucity of news during the holiday week, the oldtimers at AARP have issued a press release aimed at the electricity and water providers who want more cash for their current.

With Thanksgiving just days away, AARP Idaho has released the hotly anticipated winners of its first annual Gem State Turkey Award – and the winners are Idaho Power, Rocky Mountain Power and United Water.

The utility companies are cited for their attempts to press through a combined $122 million in rate hikes on Idaho consumers, as many, including the state’s 50+, struggle in a difficult economy.

“We couldn’t find better recipients for the first annual Gem State Turkey Award –asking consumers to keep paying more in this economy is a move worthy of recognition,” said Jim Wordelman, State Director for AARP in Idaho. “These rate hike proposals are the real turkeys this Thanksgiving, and AARP is calling on the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to ensure they don’t fly.”

The Turkey Award “winners”:
–Idaho Power is looking to sock state consumers with $83 million in rate hikes, resulting in the average residential consumer’s bill skyrocketing by nearly 9%, in addition to a $1 a month increase in customer’s service change (bringing in an additional roughly $500,000 to the company). A non-binding settlement agreement between the company and the interveners (none representing residential consumers) in the rate hike case, currently before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC), still calls for $34 million in rate hikes, hitting the typical residential consumer with a 4.19% higher monthly energy bill.

– Mountain Power has a $32.7 million rate hike before the PUC, which will mean Idaho consumers would see their monthly power bills climb by 7.2%. Their non-binding settlement agreement, with groups again lacking a residential consumer voice, provides the company with a $34 million in rate hikes over two years, hammering consumers with an 11.31% hike in their monthly bills.

–United Water is turning to the PUC for approval of $7.6 million in rate hikes, leaving consumers with an alarming 20% increase in their monthly bills.

“I’m betting the overwhelming majority of Idahoans didn’t get a 7%, 9% or 20% raise or cost of living increase last year, and neither should their utility companies,” said Wordelman.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Wait a minute –I didn’t know that the money Idaho Power had to pay for the PURPA rates (wind, solar,and waste to energy} would make my power bill higher

  2. I heard the reason the rates are going up is because people aren’t using enough power and water and the share holders are pissed. Ida Corp is trying to lay the blame on PURPA rates.

  3. CJ Petrovsky
    Nov 21, 2011, 2:57 pm

    Just for context, check out the latest Idacorp earnings (a/o 9/11):
    http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/11/03/1864377/idacorp-3q-earnings-top-100-million.html

    “…Idaho Power’s net income was $104.9 million, compared with $64.7 million in the third quarter of 2010.

    “The earnings were $40 million higher than the company’s 2010 third-quarter earnings, and about five times higher than last quarter’s…”

    (Hey Dave: I volunteer w/ ID AARP. If you’re sticking with “geezers” at least add “old broads” (or “old dames”, if you prefer). :)

    EDITOR NOTE–I didn’t realize GEEZER was gender sensitive, but I guess it is. Can you come up with a gender neutral term I can use in alliteration?

  4. Stupid consumer = Higher rates

    Say, can you tell us who sits on the PUC ? Are they watching out for me, or the power company?

    And all you greenies are screwing us too.

  5. PUC hasn’t had any balls since Bob Lenaghan was in charge. You’d better have a good reason to get a raise.

  6. We use less, they make more money, natural gas prices are down for creating electricity.
    Idaho Power’s profits are up and they still want a rate increase? WTH..is the PUC looking out for the consumers or are they buying into this monkey business.

  7. In 1990 I converted my house to natural gas it was $.42/therm today it is $.34/therm. You can look it up on Bloomberg.com it will be listed at $3.40/MM but it is sold to you and me per therm which is 100K butu’s.

    Let’s hope the PUC does the due diligence in this matter.

    Also, the PURPA rates have decreased to around $0.065/kwh at the last rate adjustment downward based on lower natural gas prices.

  8. chicago sam
    Nov 22, 2011, 7:46 pm

    Just announced that Idaho Power and Dynamis have agreed on the purchase price for electricity for their new waste to energy plant PURPA rates quoted above be damned apparently–price quoted is 92.35/mwhr which means we all will pay more if this gets thru the PUC That’s aprox. 50% increase over what I was charged on my last power bill.

  9. Gene Fadness
    Nov 23, 2011, 2:57 pm

    This is Gene Fadness from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. The commissioners are Paul Kjellander, Marsha Smith and Mack Redford. Our Web site is http://www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on “Press Releases” in the upper left hand corner to keep current on rate cases.
    The proposed settlement to the Idaho Power rate case is an increase of 4 percent. The company requested just under 10 percent. However, the company is also seeking approval of a 4.2 percent credit as the result of a tax incentive applied either to base rate’s or next year’s PCA that will render this year’s increase almost a wash.
    In 2010, the company’s customers got an average 3 percent decrease due primarily to a good water year.
    The PUC will not approve the Dynamis contract unless it is found to be in the public interest: a rate reasonable for customers and if the project delivers adequate and reliable service. We will soon be taking public comment and you will certainly be welcome to provide comments at that time.
    Gene Fadness

    EDITOR NOTE–Gene, many thanks for the transparency! Also, the names and contact info.

  10. CJ Petrovsky
    Nov 23, 2011, 6:25 pm

    Mr. Fadness: Thanks for your post. Gimlet-eyed skepticism on the Dynamis proposal, please.

    Dave: I’ve racked my brain for days for a better handle. (“Golden-agers”? Puh-lease.) I’m inadequate to the task.

    EDITOR NOTE–Believe it or not, our local elected assessor came up with “GEEZETTES.”

  11. chicago sam
    Nov 23, 2011, 8:01 pm

    Mr. Fadness thank you for your clarification and response to what I regard as an important subject.It is my understanding that Idaho Power has requested a written response only and oral testimony would not be allowed. Could you elaborate on this as I for one would like to look the commisssioners in the eye while giving my opinions to the Dynamis-Idaho Power proposal. Also are the commissioners or staff allowed to discuss this case informally?
    And I really don’t mind the geezer tag Dave

    EDITOR NOTE–I think this comment belongs on the PUC Dynamis post.

  12. CJ Petrovsky
    Nov 24, 2011, 2:35 am

    Of course! “Geezettes” will likely work better for other women AARPers as well, who may have found my suggestion a bit much. Grazie.

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