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Idahoans using electricity are soon going to see upcoming power bills rise. Idaho Power Company customers will pay more for power supply because the Idaho Public Utilities Commission last week approved the company’s application to apply a one-fourth of one-cent per kWh surcharge to pay for extra power supply costs not already covered in base rates. Because of a dry winter and spring, the water levels are low and the company’s hydroelectric dams can’t generate enough electricity to meet customer demand, so the power company has to get it from other sources.

Power Rates Go Up for Idahoans

Idahoans using electricity are soon going to see upcoming power bills rise.

Idaho Power Company customers will pay more for power supply because the Idaho Public Utilities Commission last week approved the company’s application to apply a one-fourth of one-cent per kWh surcharge to pay for extra power supply costs not already covered in base rates.

Because of a dry winter and spring, the water levels are low and the company’s hydroelectric dams can’t generate enough electricity to meet customer demand, so the power company has to get it from other sources. Idaho Power calculates its annual power costs are $77.5 million more than what is collected in current rates.

The percentage increase varies according to customer class because of different rates. Residential customers should see an 11 percent increase; small commercial companies should see an 8.8 percent increase; large commercial companies a 16.6 percent increase; irrigation a 14.6 percent increase; and industrial a 22.5 percent increase. The average increase for all customer classes is 14.5 percent.

For reference, a customer who uses 1,050 kWh per month, an average amount, will see a monthly increase of $6.41, according to the company’s figures.

The revenues from the one-year surcharge go directly to pay for power supply, not toward the company earnings. But anyone interested in petitioning the commission for reconsideration can submit an appeal by June 21. Reconsideration petitions must specifically explain why the petitioner considers the order unreasonable, unlawful or erroneous and should also include a statement about the evidence the petitioner will offer if reconsideration is granted.

Take the petitions to the commission at 472 W. Washington St. in Boise, mail them to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID, 83720-0074, or fax them to 208-334-3762.

About J. Gelband

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3 comments

  1. Irwin Horowitz

    I believe it is important to note two things with regards to the rates being charged by Idaho Power. First, our rates declined last year by some 10-15% across the board due to the extremely wet conditions we experienced last spring (remember the flooding in Eagle?). As such, this year’s increase roughly returns rates to their 2005 levels.

    Second, even with this newest increase, the rates charged by Idaho Power are amongst the lowest in our country. We pay, on average, less than 6 cents/kWh (prior to this increase). The national average for residential customers is 9.88 cents/kWh according to the Energy Information Administration (http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_6_a.html).

    As those who read my blog know, I am an independent ecopreneur with a new solar PV company called Citizenre. At the present time, I am unable to market these systems here in Idaho because of these low rates. As such, I admittedly have a personal reason to see the rates charged by Idaho Power increase, but even so, if having to pay a few dollars more each month for your electricity upsets you, just contemplate how much you would be paying if you lived in California (or most anywhere else in the country).

  2. That doesn’t make us like it Irwin. But it helps.

    Speaking of which I’m interested in your company. I understand that going solar has significant initial investment. I’m in favor of allowing large tax breaks for consumers who want to undertake the investment. I also think its in the country’s interest to encourage decreased dependence on foriegn sources of power and to encourage clean generators like solar. Have you had any luck in pursuading government in providing such an incentive? Would Idaho Power be as cooperative with such a proposal as you are forgiving of this rate hike?

  3. Irwin Horowitz

    Sisyphus,

    I’d love to discuss Citizenre with you, but would prefer to do so via e-mail (you can find my address on my blog here). This is primarily because I don’t wish to abuse the good graces of the folks at New West by getting free advertising for this company. I am trying to only sparingly make such references either on my blog or in comments for articles related to energy issues here at New West.