Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. IPC-E-10-09, Order No. 32019

June 25, 2010

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

Website: www.puc.idaho.gov

 

 

Utility wants its energy efficiency expense declared ‘prudent’

 

Idaho Power Company is asking state regulators to declare that $50.7 million it spent during 2008 and 2009 on energy efficiency and demand response programs funded by a rider on customer bills was “prudently incurred.”

 

A declaration of prudency by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission means the company will be able to recover its investment in the programs.

 

The rider funds 16 energy efficiency programs and three demand-response programs. Energy efficiency programs reduce consumption by encouraging more efficient use of electricity. Demand-side programs reduce demand on the utility’s system, primarily by shifting use of electricity, such as that from air conditioning and irrigation, to non-peak hours of the day when fewer people are using electricity.

 

The energy saved by the energy efficiency programs increased by 62 percent from 2007 to 2009, according to Idaho Power. The company reports energy saved by the programs totaled 140 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2008 and an additional 148 GWh in 2009. A gigawatt-hour is 1 million kilowatt-hours. One kilowatt-hour is enough power to operate ten 100-watt light bulbs for one hour.

 

Idaho Power reports the three demand-response programs reduced the company’s total electrical load by 48 megawatts in 2007, 61 MWs in 2008 and 218 MWs in 2009. A megawatt is one million watts, enough electricity to power about 650 average homes and light 10,000 100-watt light bulbs.

 

Idaho Power claims it invested about $21 million in demand-side management (DSM) programs in 2008, of which $18.8 million came from the customer rider. In 2009, it invested $35 million in DSM-related activities of which $31.8 million came from the rider.

 

The company claims that all but one of the programs passed three cost-effectiveness tests that demonstrate customers would have paid more had the programs not been in place. The lone exception was a holiday lighting program which, due mostly to its small participation rate and the incremental costs of LED bulbs, failed one of the three cost-effectiveness tests.

 

The commission has set a July 9 deadline for interested parties who may want to intervene in this case for the purpose of presenting testimony, cross-examining witnesses or participating in settlement discussions.

 

More information about the case is available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on the electric icon, then on “Open Electric Cases,” and scroll down to Case No. IPC-E-10-09.