BOISE, Idaho — Rocky Mountain Power’s costs for fuel and wholesale electricity increased in 2021 because of higher energy market prices, which made purchased power to serve its customers more expensive. As part of an annual review of these costs, the company requested an average 4.5 percent price increase for Idaho residential customers. Typical residential customers using 783 kilowatt-hours per month would see a 3.2 percent increase of about $2.97 per month on their electricity bill.
“We recognize that no price increase is welcome. Still, we’re committed to bringing the best value to our customers for their hard-earned dollars, and we’re acutely aware that we provide one of the most essential public services,” said Tim Solomon, regional business manager for Rocky Mountain Power in Rexburg. “Our prices are among the lowest in the country and we’ve worked hard to keep our expenses low. While we are strict with our budgets, we have also recently completed significant improvements to our system to improve reliability for our 85,669 customers in southeastern Idaho, because we know the importance of reliable service.
“The energy costs in the annual adjustment are generally beyond the company’s direct control,” Solomon added, “This annual adjustment makes sure Rocky Mountain Power customers always pay a fair price for the energy they need.”
Last year was characterized by many extreme and unforeseeable historic weather events that collectively shaped the actual net power cost throughout the year. The result was the company experienced a significant impact to these costs with the Western North America heat wave, a 13-day long extreme weather event that occurred between June 25, 2021, and July 7, 2021.
“That period saw a temperature peak of 119 degrees Fahrenheit in the Western United States and had a significant impact on market prices for June and July as compared to the same period in 2020,” said PacifiCorp Net Power Cost Specialist Jack Painter. “Additionally, ongoing drought has caused negative effects to net power cost because it impacts the availability of hydro resources. In 2021, actual generation from hydro resources were 27 percent lower than forecasted generation. Unrealized hydro MWhs need to be replaced to meet customer demand.”
The annual energy cost adjustment mechanism is designed to track the difference between the company’s actual expenses for fuel and electricity purchased from the wholesale market, against the amount being collected from customers through current rates. During the past year, the company’s energy-related expenses have increased by $28.4 million. Pending commission approval, the changes would take effect June 1, 2022, with the following impact on each rate schedule:
Residential Schedule 1 – 3.2% increase
Residential Schedule 36 – 3.7% increase
General Service Schedule 6 – 4.6% increase
General Service Schedule 9 – 5.8% increase
Irrigation Service Schedule 10 – 4.1% increase
General Service Schedule 23 – 3.8% increase
General Service Schedule 35 – 4.4% increase
Public Street Lighting – 2.2% increase
Tariff Contract 400 – 6.0% increase
The public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposal as the commission studies the company’s request. The commission must approve the proposed changes before they can take effect. A copy of the company’s application is available for public review on the commission’s website, www.puc.idaho.gov, under Case No. PAC-E-22-05. Customers may also subscribe to the commission’s RSS feed to receive periodic updates via email. The request is required to be available at the company’s offices in Rexburg, Preston, Shelley, and Montpelier, although the company urges customers to visit our website at rockymountainpower.net/rates.
Idaho Public Utilities Commission
11331 W. Chinden Blvd. Building 8, Suite 201-A
Boise, ID 83714
Rocky Mountain Power offices
Rexburg – 127 East Main
Preston – 509 S. 2nd East
Shelley – 852 E. 1400 North
Montpelier – 24852 U.S. Hwy 89