BPA reduces credit available to southeast Idaho customers
The size of credits given to small-farm and irrigation customers of Rocky Mountain Power through Bonneville Power Administration’s Residential Exchange Program will decrease slightly effective Friday.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission today approved Rocky Mountain Power’s application to reduce the size of the BPA credit for the utility’s customers in eastern Idaho. The reduction in the size of the credit will increase the monthly bill of an average residential customer who uses 800 kWh per month by about $2.
In 2004, PacifiCorp, the parent company of Rocky Mountain Power, and several other Northwest utilities entered into a five-year agreement with BPA that establishes the credit for October 2006 through October 2011. As part of that agreement, BPA reduced the amount of the credit available to Rocky Mountain’s Idaho customers by $3.8 million. Rocky Mountain passes through to customers all of the credit it receives from BPA, so changes in the credit by BPA do not increase or decrease Rocky Mountain’s revenues.
For residential customers, the credit was about 2 cents per kWh subtracted from an overall winter rate of about 8 cents per kWh and a summer rate of 10.38 cents per kWh. Beginning Friday, the credit is about 1.68 cents per kWh. For small-farm irrigation customers the credit of 3.15 cents per kWh is reduced to 2.64 cents per kWh.
BPA, headquartered in Portland, is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Energy. BPA serves the Pacific Northwest through operating an extensive electricity transmission system and marketing wholesale electrical power at cost from federal dams, one nuclear plant and other non-federal hydroelectric and wind energy generation facilities. The Northwest Power Act of 1980 required that residential and small-farm customers in the Northwest share in the benefits of the federal hydroelectric projects located in the region. Regional utilities sell BPA an amount of power equal to their residential and small-farm load at their average system cost in exchange for federal electric power, and pass on the cost benefits to their residential and small-farm customers in the form of lower retail rates. While publicly owned utilities, such as municipal and rural cooperatives take their benefits in the form of power, customers of investor-owned utilities, such as Rocky Mountain Power, receive a monetary benefit in the form of a credit on their electric bills. That credit is periodically adjusted to reflect changes in the cost of power generation and wholesale market prices for power.
The commission also approved Rocky Mountain Power’s request that long-term care facilities whose residents have an average length of stay of 30 days or longer should also be eligible to receive the credit. There are 17 such facilities in Rocky Mountain’s southeast Idaho territory.
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 Case Number PAC-E-07-01.