Economy

Idaho Power Gets 15% Rate Hike

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has authorized Idaho Power to bump power rates with an average hike of 15.3% due to low water levels.

About 70% of all water in the West comes from snowpack and this year’s low levels are already putting a crimp on everything from fish to power generators.
Spillway of the C.J. Strike Dam on the Snake River near Grand View, Idaho, USA.
Here’s how the PUC explained the situation in a press release:
Declining water, reduced revenue from surplus energy sales and ongoing wind power expenses all contributed to a $140 million Power Cost Adjustment, the fourth highest in PCA history. To make up for the shortfall caused by these factors, Idaho Power Company’s residential customers will be assessed a one-year surcharge of an average 12.5 percent effective June 1. For all customers classes combined, the average increase is 15.3 percent.

None of the money collected in the surcharge can be used to increase Idaho Power earnings or salaries, but is kept in a deferred account, audited by the commission, to be used only for paying extraordinary power supply expense. While base rates cover fixed costs, the PCA, adjusted every June 1, covers costs that vary from year to year, and are largely outside the company’s control. These costs are related largely to water levels, gas and fuel expense, transportation expense and renewable power contracts for projects mandated by federal law. In six of the last 11 years, the PCA has been a decrease or no change, but this year’s is the fourth highest on record due largely to a 19 percent reduction in water the company uses to power its hydroelectric plants.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Hog wash!

  2. What, they just got another exemption from property taxes. AND THEY RAISE THIER RATES AGAIN. Go figure.

  3. I think the consumer should have the option of buying cheap coal power or expensive wind power.

  4. They also cut the intermittent power-saving cuts to AC use –I chose to get that serice and my electricity bills were lower despite using the AC.

    I might choose to tough out the heat this summer rather than turn on the AC. Blast!

  5. chicago sam
    Jun 2, 2013, 12:55 pm

    We are probably stuck with a considerable portion of the rate increase for a long time. Idaho Power is required to purchase the wind power whether they need it or no but the wind developers are not required to deliver when the power is needed

  6. All governments (and utilities, hospitals etc.) will always work to increase their revenue and operations base.

    There is no motivation to do otherwise. They count on the fact that voters, customers and others will never amass enough political or financial clout to challenge them or reform the law.

    The rule is simply this…get more, spend more, build more, control more, repeat.

  7. Welcome to the bad side of wind power. IP is forced to take and pay for all the wind power the PUC has allowed to be built. It has gotten way out of hand and now the rate payers are stuck paying for the high costs of wind power, even when it isn’t needed.

    Certainly the low water year is a factor in this rate increase but it really galls me about wind power.

  8. “Not used for salaries” yeah right. The head honchos of Idaho Power might want to possibly send that memo to their employee’s or at least a gag order of some sort. Yes, I am looking at you Chris H.

    Idaho Power has a poor history of getting a benefit from the legislature under the poor businessman’s mantra of “If I don’t get this handout, I’ll go under, I certainly will.” Then they turn around and increase rates.

    IPUC has Clement Leroy’s appointee’s on it, so go figure.

    The definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome.” Which is why I wonder why people vote Republican continuously in Idaho. Not saying the Democrats are any better, but which party is the strongest.

  9. I am SO angrythat our power bill went UP in July and we don’t even have AC!!!!! Haven’t seen a power bill less than $150 in years—thanks idiot Obama and Greenies…not!

  10. Bonnie Preston
    Aug 29, 2013, 2:48 pm

    Where is everyone’s heads at IDAHO POWER PROMISED US THAT WHEN WE LET WASHINGTON STATE PUT THE POWER PLANT IN AT LUCKY PEAK OUR ELECTRICITY WOULD NOT GO UP, WASHINGTON STATE HAS THE ELECTRICITY FOR 20 YEARS AND MEAN WHILE OUR BILLS GO UP TO UGLY MONTHLY BILLS, CAN IDAHO POWER ANSWER WHY THEY ALLOWED THAT TO HAPPEN AND WHY DID THEY NOT PUT IT IN THEM SELVES SO THAT ELECTRICITY STAYED HERE????????

    EDITOR NOTE–The dam is a corps of engineers dam. Idaho Power had no water rights–it was actually the irrigation folks who sold the power rights to the city of Seattle as I recall.

  11. Bonnie Preston
    Aug 29, 2013, 2:59 pm

    The difference between the Republican who wants just one company or business so as that they can control it into their pockets,

    The Democrat wants to spread the wealth around with other businesses r companies so as to have competition to bring the cost of things down.

    This is coming from and ol lady who has seen the parents and then her self and then the grands and great grands deal with this issue mmmmm you might know this is food for thought take a good look at Idaho just about 35 eateries on 4 corners and streets like Eagle and Overland and down town full of eateries then a few head offices then Micron, HP and ????? what on I left the government out, mmmm and oh yes them I am a native, and have said my thoughts

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