Commission sets deadlines in Rocky Mountain case
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission this week established filing deadlines and set a technical hearing date for the Rocky Mountain Power rate case.
Rocky Mountain Power, formerly Utah Power & Light, is seeking an average 10.3 percent increase in rates for its 67,000 customers in eastern Idaho.
The commission set a September 28 deadline for commission staff and intervenors to file direct testimony and exhibits. Rebuttal testimony and exhibits are due Oct. 25. The technical hearing is set to begin on Nov. 6 and may continue through Nov. 8 if necessary. The technical hearing will be conducted in the commission hearing room at 472 W. Washington St. in Boise. The dates and places for possible public workshops and hearings have not yet been announced, but would take place in Rocky Mountain’s service territory in eastern Idaho.
Parties granted intervenor status for the purpose of presenting testimony and cross-examining witnesses include Monsanto Company, the Idaho Irrigation Pumpers Association, Agrium, Inc., Community Action Partnership of Idaho and Timothy J. Shurtz.
The commission will also soon establish a deadline for written comments from the general public.
Rocky Mountain, a division of PacifiCorp, is seeking an effective date of Jan. 1, 2008. The commission’s staff of auditors, engineers and attorneys are now auditing the company’s books and examining the application. The commission has the authority to accept, deny or modify the company’s proposal. State statute requires that regulated electric utilities be allowed to recover all prudently incurred expenses in addition to a rate of return that is reasonable for ratepayers, but enough for the company to attract capital investment in new transmission, distribution and generation. The company is seeking a rate of return of 10.75 percent. It is currently earning an ROE of 5.3 percent, which the company maintains is not enough to attract the capital investment needed to maintain its utility infrastructure.
Rocky Mountain claims it must collect $18.5 million more in annual revenue to meet cost increases for fuel, wholesale market power, new generation, transmission and distribution plant investment and for labor-related cost increases. The company claims it actually needs about $22 million more in annual revenue but is capped from an annual revenue requirement increase of no more than 1.67 percent through March 31, 2009, as the result of a rate mitigation agreement involving all the states in PacifiCorp’s six-state territory.
The size of the proposed increase varies for customer class. The average proposed increase for residential and irrigation customers is 6.7 percent. For a residential customer who uses about 1,000 kWh a month, the monthly increase would be about $5.56, according to the company’s figures.
The company proposes a 24.1 percent increase for its large contract customer, Monsanto Corporation, and 14.5 percent increase for Agrium. Both are based in Soda Springs, with Monsanto as PacifiCorp’s largest customer in its six-state territory. Rates for public street lighting are proposed to increase by 20.7 percent. There is no increase proposed for commercial customers. Rates to serve customer classes are based primarily upon the cost to serve each class.
The company’s application, testimony and workpapers are available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on the electric icon, then on “Open Electric Cases” and scroll down to Case No. PAC-E-07-05. Copies are also available for viewing at the company’s offices on 200 N. 170 West, Rexburg; 509 S. 200 East, Preston; 852 E. 1400 North, Shelley; 24852 U.S. Highway 89, Montpelier and at commission headquarters, 472 W. Washington St. Boise.