Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. IPC-E-08-10, Notice of Public Workshops

September 30, 2008

Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712

Website: www.puc.idaho.gov

 

Workshops scheduled in Pocatello, Twin Falls and Boise

 

Idaho Power Co. customers will get an opportunity to ask questions about the company’s application for an average 9.89 percent rate increase at workshops scheduled in Twin Falls, Pocatello and Boise next month.

Staff from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission will explain the company’s application at public workshops scheduled for 7 p.m. on Oct. 8 in Pocatello, Oct. 9 in Twin Falls and Oct. 15 in Boise.

The size of the increase varies for customer class. For residential customers, the average increase is 6.3 percent, while for industrial and irrigation customers the proposal is for a 15 percent increase.

Idaho Power claims it needs to increase its annual revenue by $66.6 million. During the last three years, the company claims it has invested $578 million for 13 new substations, 1,157 miles of distribution lines and 190 miles of transmission lines. During the same three years, the company claims it increased the amount of electricity it buys from other utilities from $876 million to more than $2 billion. That includes purchases from renewable sources, including wind and geothermal.

During the workshops, commission staff will give a presentation explaining the company’s application and the commission’s role in reviewing it. Customers will be able to ask questions of the staff. Representatives from the company may also be on hand to answer questions.

Customer groups have already intervened in the case for the purpose of presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses and participating in settlement or negotiation conferences. Intervenors include the Industrial Customers of Idaho Power, the Idaho Irrigation Pumpers Association, the Community Action Partnership of Idaho, the Snake River Alliance, Micron Technology, Inc., the Kroger Company (dba as Fred Meyer and Smith’s Food and Drug) and the Department of Energy, on behalf of the Idaho National Laboratory.

State statute requires that regulated electric utilities – who perform an essential and necessary service and cannot quit serving customers as costs increase – be allowed to recover all prudently incurred expenses. Part of the commission’s job will be to determine if the added investment was necessary to serve customers and if the company was prudent in its financial decision-making. The commission also determines a rate of return for regulated utilities. The rate of return cannot be excessive, but it must also be high enough to attract investment from Wall Street for transmission, distribution and generation projects. 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. Commission decisions can be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

The time and places for the workshops are as follows:

--Wednesday, Oct 8, 7 p.m., at the Newberry Building, 160 North Main St., in Pocatello.

--Thursday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m. at the Twin Falls City Council Chambers, 305 Third Avenue East, Twin Falls.

--Wednesday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m. at the Idaho Public Utilities Commission hearing room, 472 W. Washington St., Boise.

Idaho Power customers can read all the documents filed in the case thus far by going to www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on the electric icon, then on “Open Electric Cases,” and scroll down to Case No. IPC-E-08-10.