files for 25 percent rate hike on Ore. irrigators
By TIM HINSHAW Oregon Staff Writer
Power has filed an application with the Public
Utility Commission of Oregon (OPUC) to increase
the company’s general rates an average of 17.52
percent for its Oregon customers, including a 25
percent hike for irrigators.
If approved, company revenues would increase $4.4
million annually. IPCo. serves about 18,000 Oregon
The company’s filing also includes a request to
increase Oregon customers’ monthly service charges
and to introduce summer and non-summer rates.
An Oregon PUC official said an investigation into
the proposed rate increases is likely, and that
open house-style public meetings will be held in
Eastern Oregon before any ruling is made.
IPCo. said that while its Oregon rates have
periodically been adjusted to allow for
extraordinary power costs incurred in 2001, the
company has not filed for a change in its overall
rates since 1995. Rates at that time were based
upon the company’s costs in 1993. “Since then,
Idaho Power has invested more than $850 million in
its electrical system including upgrades in the
facilities that serve its nearly 18,000 Oregon
customers,” the company said in a news release.
In a recent letter to its Oregon customers, Idaho
Power vice president of regulatory affairs Ric
Gale wrote, “Although our customer base in Oregon
is small, we have seen escalating costs over the
past 10 years associated with providing service to
you as well as to an increased number of
customers. We have made considerable investments
in our power system, including a new power plant
at Mountain Home and additional infrastructure
improvements like a major upgrade to lines from
Hells Canyon and additonal investments in our
“Other inflationary costs, such as replacing
equipoment, tools, vehicle fuel, labor, postage
and computers have all contributed to the need to
increase your base rates,” Gale wrote.
The company is seeking an overall increase of
17.52 percent to its rates. However, because the
cost of providing electricity to various customer
groups varies, the overall percentage increase
differs between them.
For residential, small general service and
industrial customers the proposed increase is
17.52 percent. Irrigation and large general
service customers would see increases of 25
percent and 15.88 percent, respectively.
The proposal would increase the average Oregon
residential customer’s monthly bill from $62.51 to
$77.06 during the summer and to $71.22 during the
rest of the year.
Gale said the filing reflects recently approved
changes for Idaho Power customers in Idaho.
OPUC’s Bob Valdez said OPUC will consider the
request at its next meeting on Oct. 19.
“Staff will recommend the request be suspended,
and will ask for an investigation,” said Valdez,
public information officer for OPUC, adding that
the investigation could take about nine months.
Valdez said OPUC has planned open house sessions
in Ontario in November and again in January to
invite public comment on the proposed rate hike.
The company has requested a change in rates to
reflect how the time of year impacts electricity
costs. June through August normally is the period
of highest demand for electricity as air
conditioning and irrigation loads coincide.
If approved, prices for electricity during the
summer months would reflect the company’s
seasonably higher costs of producing or purchasing
power, resulting in the establishment of summer
and non-summer rates.
For residential customers the proposed summer rate
for electricity use over 300 kilowatt-hours (kWh)
would be 12 percent greater than during non-summer
Included in the filing is a proposal to increase
the monthly service charge, currently called the
The service charge is designed to recover a
portion of the costs associated with providing
metering and billing services.
These are service-related expenses that do not
vary with the amount of electricity used by a
customer; however, those expenses do vary by
For residential customers the proposed change
would increase the monthly charge from $4 to
Copies of the filing are available on Idaho
Power’s website (www.idahopower.com) or at the
OPUC offices, 550 Capitol St. NE #215, P.O. Box
2148, Salem, Ore., 97308-2148. Copies also are
available at Idaho Power’s corporate headquarters,
1221 W. Idaho St., Boise, or at Idaho Power’s
Payette Operations Center, 1550 South Main Street,
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