Utah Power proposes 1.5 percent rider to fund conservation programs
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will be taking comments and conducting workshops hearings in southeast Idaho regarding an application by PacifiCorp (Utah Power) to add a 1.5 percent rider to customer bills to pay for a host of conservation programs.
The rider, which would cost an average residential customer who uses 790 kilowatt-hours a month about $1 per month, will raise $1.8 million annually to fund energy efficiency programs for residential, irrigation and commercial and industrial customers. The 1.5 percent rider, if approved, would begin appearing on customer bills after Jan. 1, 2006.
All the money generated from the rider goes to fund demand-side management programs designed to offset the growth in demand for new power plants and to reduce the need for Utah Power to acquire power from more expensive sources to meet growing customer demand. The money does not go to increase the company’s earnings. Successful DSM and energy efficiency programs can delay the construction of new power plants and reduce the company’s generation costs during times of peak use, thus slowing the increase in customer rates.
All customer classes from among Utah Power’s 60,000 eastern Idaho customers will have an opportunity to participate in the various programs. They include:
n an irrigation efficiency program to complement an existing irrigation load control program. The program offers irrigators no-cost equipment exchange, equipment testing and financial incentives for energy efficiency measures;
n energy efficiency measures for commercial and industrial customers that include efficient lighting, premium motors and mechanical upgrades associated with heating and cooling;
n a refrigerator-recycling program for residential customers called “See Ya Later Refrigerator.” The program offers incentives to homeowners and landlords to discontinue use of second refrigerators and freezers or replace them with more energy efficient models;
n an increase in money from Utah Power for low-income weatherization program to $150,000 from $100,000 and an increase in the maximum rebate allowed per weatherized home from $1,000 to $1,500;
n revisions to an energy efficiency program for businesses by converting it from a loan-based program to one that includes financial incentives for kilowatt-hours saved.
Utah Power estimates all the programs combined will save about 50 megawatts for each of the next three years. One megawatt is enough electricity to power about 750 homes.
Commission staff will conduct two public workshops on Utah Power’s proposal on Wednesday, Oct. 19 in Preston at the Robinson Building, 186 W. 2nd North and on Thursday, Oct. 20, in Rigby at the Senior Citizen Center, 367 Community Lane. Both workshops begin at 7 p.m.
Public hearings are scheduled for Nov. 9 in Preston, also in the Robinson Building and on Nov. 10th in Rexburg at the Best Western CottonTree, 450 W. Fourth St. The hearings begin at 7 p.m.
Workshops, attended by commission staff, are an opportunity for customers to ask questions of commission staff regarding Utah Power’s proposal. The more formal public hearings, attended by the three commissioners, give customers an opportunity to present formal testimony to the commission. The public may not ask questions during the public hearings.
Comments can also be submitted in writing by no later than Nov. 3. 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-05-10) 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 above case number.