Utilities seek commission approval of allocation agreement
Boise – Utah Power and Idaho Falls Power are seeking Idaho Public Utilities Commission approval of an agreement between the two electric utilities on how they will allocate customers in overlapping service areas.
Idaho Falls Power, a municipal utility, serves customers primarily within the city limits of Idaho Falls, but it also has customers outside city limits. PacifiCorp, which does business as Utah Power in eastern Idaho, serves customers primarily outside city limits but does have some consumers within Idaho Falls city limits.
The proposed agreement says Utah Power will no longer provide electric service to new customers within Idaho Falls and the city will not provide service to new customers outside its municipal boundaries. The agreement does not affect existing customers who will continue to be served by their current provider no matter their location.
The agreement also states that when the city annexes property served by Utah Power, the city may offer electric service provided that the Utah Power customer makes a written request to the city for electric service and the city pays Utah Power just compensation. The agreement stipulates that the city utility would pay Utah Power an amount equal to 167 percent of the exchanging customer’s total electric bills for the previous 12 months. The city would also purchase all wires, cross arms, insulators, guys and other facilities provided those facilities are no longer needed by Utah Power and are necessary to provide new service.
The state Electric Suppliers Stabilization Act (ESSA) allows electric suppliers to contract with each other for the purpose of allocating territory, consumers and future consumers. However, the commission must approve the allocation agreements. The commission approves the contracts based on the finding that the allocation or transfer is consistent with the purposes of ESSA, which are to: 1) promote harmony between electric suppliers, 2) prohibit the “pirating” of consumers, 3) discourage the duplication of electric facilities, 4) actively supervise the conduct of electric suppliers, and 5) stabilize the territories and consumers served by electric providers.
While the commission has authority to approve or reject an agreement between a municipality and a regulated investor-owned utility, such as Utah Power, the commission has jurisdiction over only the investor-owned regulated utility. Idaho Falls Power, a publicly owned municipality, is regulated by the Idaho Falls City Council.
The commission will proceed under a modified procedure that allows the case to be handled through written public comments rather than by public hearing. However, comments may request a public hearing. Those wishing to submit comments must do so by no later than Aug. 5. Comments are accepted via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on "Comments & Questions." Fill in the case number (PAC-E-05-7) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.
A full text of the commission’s order, along with other documents related to this case, are available on the commission’s Web site. Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to the case number.