Agreement between Utah Power, City of Idaho Falls approved
Boise – State regulators have approved an agreement between Utah Power and Idaho Falls Power outlining how customers in overlapping areas will be served.
Idaho Public Utilities Commission staff opposed an original application from the two utilities because it had the potential of creating duplicate facilities in the same geographic area, which is a violation of the state Electric Suppliers Stabilization Act (ESSA). The agreement has since been revised and approved by the commission.
Idaho Falls Power, a municipal utility, serves more than 22,000 customers primarily within the city limits, but it also has customers outside city limits. PacifiCorp, which does business as Utah Power in eastern Idaho, serves more than 50,000 customers in eastern Idaho, including the area immediately surrounding Idaho Falls. However, Utah Power does have some consumers within Idaho Falls city limits.
The agreement states 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.
Commission staff disagreed with a section of the original agreement dealing with areas the city annexes that are served by Utah Power. The original agreement said the city could agree to provide electric service to a Utah Power customer in the annexed area if that customer made a written request to the city. Commission staff objected, citing the potential for some annexed areas that would have both Utah Power and City of Idaho Falls customers.
The revised agreement, effective immediately, requires the city to either serve every customer in a newly annexed parcel or to serve no customers in the parcel.
The revised agreement also addresses potential requests from existing customers who desire to change providers. In the event a Utah Power customer living inside Idaho Falls wants to switch to city service, the customer can make a written request to the city for electric service and the city must agree to pay Utah Power just compensation. Similarly, an Idaho Falls Power customer living outside city limits may change to Utah Power with written approval from Utah Power and the latter’s agreement to compensate the city.
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 promote harmony between electric suppliers, prohibit the “pirating” of consumers and discourage the duplication of electric facilities.
A full text of the commission’s order, along with other documents related to this case, are available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to Case Number PAC-E-05-07.