Rate case workshops planned for Rexburg, Soda Springs
Staff from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission will be in eastern Idaho early next month to conduct public workshops regarding Rocky Mountain Power’s request for a rate increase.
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 workshops are scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 4, in Rexburg and Wednesday, Sept. 5, in Soda Springs. The workshops will allow Rocky Mountain customers an opportunity to hear from commission staff regarding the company’s application and ask questions of staff and representatives of the company. The workshops are put on by commission staff, not the company, ensuring a neutral presentation of the company’s application.
The Rexburg workshop will be at the Best Western CottonTree Inn on 450 W. Fourth So. in Rexburg. The Soda Springs workshop is in the commons area of Tigert Middle School, 250 E. 2nd South in Soda Springs. Both workshops begin at 7 p.m.
A 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 hearings have not yet been announced.
Parties granted intervenor status for the purpose of presenting testimony and cross-examining witnesses at technical and public hearings include Monsanto Company, the Idaho Irrigation Pumpers Association, Agrium, Inc., Community Action Partnership of Idaho and Timothy J. Shurtz.
Rocky Mountain, a division of PacifiCorp, is seeking an effective date of Jan. 1, 2008. 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.