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PUC grants small rate hike for customers
Statewide residential power rates will increase 1.5 percent, while commercial, industrial and irrigation customers can expect to pay an extra 2.32 percent, starting Jan. 1.“The average residential customer who uses 900 kilowatt hours will see their bill go from $97.17 to $98.61, an increase of $1.44 or 1.48 percent,” according to a news release. Additional revenue will help pay for three main PacifiCorp expenses
“The reason we’ve been seeing so many increases is because they’ve been adding so many new resources. The upgrades are done to ensure consistent and safe power delivery,” said Bob Valdez, PUC public information officer.According to PacifiCorp spokesman Bob Gravely, the additional revenue will help pay for three main expenses: relicensing a hydroelectric project on the Lewis River in Idaho, installing upgrades at the Jim Bridger power plant in Wyoming and purchasing emergency equipment mandated by the Federal Communications Commission.
“Relicensing allows us to use that hydro project for decades. The upgrades at the coal-fired power plant increased efficiency without increasing emissions,” Gravely said.Valdez said as part of the settlement, PacifiCorp agreed not to file a new general rate case before 2015. That case applies to expenses ranging from administration costs to capital investments.
But, he added, consumers may still experience slight rate increases because utilities don’t generate all the power their customers need. This means utilities sometimes purchase electricity from other power providers. These prices fluctuate based on the price of coal, natural gas and hydroelectric conditions, which means they are evaluated more often, Valdez said.“The commission looks at that on a yearly basis rather than all at once after a few years,” he said.
Mark Stuntebeck, manager of the Klamath Irrigation District, said irrigators in the KID had a favorable power rate until 2006 when a long-standing contract between PacifiCorp and the irrigation district expired. Since then, annual increases have had a huge impact on farmers’ bottom line.“Increasing costs means if you don’t get higher prices for commodities you make less, he said.
The initial rate case claim requested a base rate increase of 4.6 percent, which would have generated $56 million. Gravely said PacifiCorp is pleased with the $23.7 million settlement that will remain in place until email@example.com @LMJatHandN
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Page Updated: Wednesday January 01, 2014 12:47 AM Pacific
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