Idaho Public Utilities Commission
Case No. IPC-E-11-05, Order No. 32232
June 3, 2011
Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712
PUC taking comments on Idaho Power conservation programs
Idaho Power Company is asking state regulators to determine that nearly $43 million the company spent on energy conservation programs were expenses that were prudently incurred and benefit customers.
Such a determination by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission does not impact customer rates at this time.
The commission is accepting public comment on the application through June 26.
Most of the money that Idaho Power spends on energy conservation programs is raised through a 4.7 percent Energy Efficiency Rider on customer bills. Each of the conservation programs funded by the rider funds must pass at least three tests, all of which must show that without the program’s energy savings, the utility would have had to generate or buy even more costly energy resulting in even higher costs for customers. Programs that do not pass the cost-effectiveness tests are not included in rates.
Idaho Power has 16 energy efficiency programs and three demand-response programs.
Energy efficiency programs – such as the residential efficient lighting and weatherization programs or the commercial Building Efficiency program – reduce the amount of energy used through more efficient use of lighting, appliances and commercial equipment. Demand response programs – such as the residential air conditioner cycling program and the irrigation load control program – shift consumption away from peak-use times of day when power is most expensive to those hours when energy is less costly.
During 2010, energy savings from efficiency programs totaled 187,626 megawatt-hours, a 31 percent increase over savings achieved in 2009, or enough energy to power more than 13,500 homes.
Demand response programs resulted in a total load reduction of 336 megawatts, compared to 218 megawatts in 2009 and 61 megawatts in 2008. The 336 MW is more than twice the capacity of Idaho Power’s Bennett Mountain natural gas plant near Mountain Home and about the same capacity as the 330-MW natural gas plant now being built near New Plymouth.
From a cost standpoint and an environmental perspective, cost-effective conservation programs are Idaho Power’s resource of choice. Energy not used or shifted away from peak-use periods is less costly to customers than generation from any of Idaho Power’s plants, including its least-cost hydroelectric facilities.
Since energy efficiency programs began to be included in the Energy Efficiency Rider, megawatt-hours reduced have increased from 16,701 in 2002 to 187,626 in 2010. Demand reduction has increased from 6 megawatts in 2004 to 336 MW in 2010. A megawatt is one million watts, enough electricity to power about 650 average homes. Company expenditures on demand-reduction programs have increased from $2 million in 2002 to $45.8 million in 2010.
A copy of Idaho Power’s 2010 Demand Side Management report is available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. The report details each of the programs used by Idaho Power. The report can be accessed by clicking on the electric icon and scrolling down to Case No. IPC-E-11-05.
Comments are accepted through June 26 via e-mail by accessing the commission’s Website, clicking on "Comments & Questions About a Case" and filling in the above case number. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.