TWIN FALLS — The jury’s still out, but Idaho Power Co. customers are likely to see their power costs go down for a second year in a row.
The company has filed its fourth and final rate adjustment this spring with state regulators. If all of its requests are approved as presented, Idaho Power would decrease what it’s collecting from customers by $40 million. Larger customer bills would go down by 5-7% while homeowners would see a slight decrease of 0.65% — or about 59 cents per month for the typical residential customer.
All four of the company’s recent rate filings are pending final approval from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. They would go into effect June 1.
“We’re definitely mindful of costs and want to provide affordable energy for our customers,” Idaho Power spokesman Jordan Rodriguez told the Times-News in a phone interview Tuesday.
Here’s a breakdown of what the company has asked from regulators, starting with the most recent filing:
Power Cost Adjustment
Idaho Power has asked to decrease revenue collected through its annual Power Cost Adjustment by $50 million. The PCA is determined by actual costs from the previous year, and a forecast of the year to come. It essentially passes on both the costs and benefits of supplying energy to customers.
“It was a good water year and (we saw) good natural gas prices as well,” Rodriguez said. “The power supply costs were less than forecasted.”
The company also forecasts an increase in energy sales for the coming year. That’s in part due to its joining the Western Energy Imbalance Market, where Idaho Power can more easily buy and sell energy in real time.
“We anticipate an increase in the sale of surplus energy, and we pass on those benefits to customers,” Rodriguez said.
Also included in this rate filing is a $5 million revenue sharing credit to Idaho customers, he said. When the utility’s earnings exceed 10 percent, it shares a portion of that revenue with customers.
Finally, the PCA would include a $2.7 million decrease to account for a tax reform benefit that is credited to customers.
Overall, the PCA would decrease 3.49% for residential customers, resulting in a savings of $3.35 a month for the typical homeowner using 950 kilowatt-hours per month.
Fixed Cost Adjustment
Idaho Power on March 15 asked to increase its Fixed Cost Adjustment and collect an additional $19.2 million. If the proposal is approved in full by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, the 3.64% increase would raise the bill for the typical residential customer using 950 kilowatt-hours per month by $3.49.
The company is allowed to recover its fixed costs through the annual FCA filing. This rate would increase because the energy use per customer was down last year, Rodriguez said.
Energy Efficiency Rider
Idaho Power proposes to lower its Energy Efficiency Rider by 0.9% to 2.75%, collecting $10.4 million less than the past year. If approved, the typical homeowner using 950 kwh per month would save 83 cents on his or her monthly bill.
The Energy Efficiency Rider pays for certain programs Idaho Power uses to help customers use energy more efficiently. The rate is based on forecasts of funding and expenditures.
Increase for North Valmy
Idaho Power seeks to exit its North Valmy, Nev., coal-fired plant by 2025. The company has asked to recover costs of its early exit through a $1.2 million — or 0.11% — rate increase. If approved, this would increase the typical residential customer’s monthly bill by 10 cents.
Editor's Note: This story was edited April 17 to correct a statement about the tax reform benefits.