Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. IPC-E-10-09, Order No. 32038

August 13, 2010

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

Website: www.puc.idaho.gov

 

PUC taking comments on prudency of efficiency rider

 

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comments through September 13 on an Idaho Power Company request that the commission declare that $50.7 million the utility spent during 2008 and 2009 on energy efficiency and demand response programs was prudently incurred and that customers benefit from the programs.

 

The money for the programs is funded by a 4.72 percent rider on customer bills. A finding by the commission that the expenditures were prudent does not impact rates at this time.

 

The Energy Efficiency 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 140,000 megawatt-hours in 2008 and an additional 148,000 megawatt-hours in 2009.

 

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 plans to handle this request in a modified procedure that uses written comments rather than conducting a hearing, unless customer comments can demonstrate a need for a public hearing. Comments are accepted via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on "Comments & Questions About a Case." Fill in the case number (IPC-E-10-09) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.