Commission begins evaluating Idaho Power rate case
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission issued a notice today that suspends for six months a request by Idaho Power Co. to increase rates an average 10.35 percent. The added time allows interested parties and the commission’s staff of auditors, engineers and attorneys to evaluate the request.
For residential customers, the requested increase is 4.5 percent. If Idaho Power’s request were granted in full, the average non-summer monthly bill for a residential customer who uses 1,050 kWh per month would increase from $64.42 to $67.22. An average summer bill would increase from $69.91 to $72.65.
The company last filed a rate case in 2005, when it sought 7.8 percent and, after a settlement, received 3.2 percent.
Today’s notice also establishes an intervention deadline of July 12 for parties that want to intervene in the case to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. The Industrial Customers of Idaho Power have already been granted intervention. Members of the general public may offer comments at any time without having to file petitions to intervene. A schedule of public workshops and/or hearings will be announced at a later date.
Commission staff now begins a thorough audit and examination of Idaho Power’s request. The commission has the authority to accept, deny or modify the company’s proposal.
State statute requires that regulated electric utilities be allowed to recover all prudently incurred expenses in addition to a reasonable rate of return, but enough to attract capital investment in new transmission, distribution and generation.
Idaho Power claims it must increase its annual revenue by nearly $64 million to recover more than $200 million investment in 650 miles of new distribution and transmission lines and 10 new substations. In addition, the company claims more than $80 million investment for maintenance to existing transmission and distribution. Commission staff will determine whether that investment was necessary to serve customers and if the amounts expended were reasonable and cost-efficient. When the commission denies cost recovery to a utility, it must be able to legally demonstrate why the utility’s costs were not prudently incurred or in the best interest of customers. All commission decisions can be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
A complete copy of the company’s application is available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to Case Number IPC-E-07-08. Petitions for intervention can be sent to 472 W. Washington St. in Boise or P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID, 83720-0074, or faxed to 208-334-3762.