Idaho Public Utilities Commission

Case No. PAC-E-08-08, Order No. 30862

Notice of Proposed Settlement and Comment Deadline

July 17, 2009

Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712




Utility proposes annual rate adjustment to cover unanticipated power supply costs



The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking public comment through Aug. 14 on a proposal by Rocky Mountain Power and major customer groups to create a new rate mechanism that would adjust customer rates either up or down each year on April 1.


The mechanism, called the Energy Cost Adjustment Mechanism (ECAM), is similar to the annual Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) now in place for Idaho’s other regulated electric utilities, Idaho Power Company in southern Idaho and Avista Utilities in northern Idaho.


The ECAM proposal is the result of a settlement between Rocky Mountain, Public Utilities Commission staff, Monsanto Company and the Idaho Irrigation Pumpers Association. Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp, serves about 70,000 customers in eastern Idaho.


The settlement proposes that Rocky Mountain defer its net power costs (the difference between power supply costs established in the most recent rate case and actual power supply costs) and true-up the difference every April 1 with a one-year surcharge or a one-year credit to customers.


Net power costs include those expenses the company incurs generating power or buying power to serve customers as well as related fuel and transportation expense. Anticipated power supply expenses are included in customer rates after every rate case, but those expenses will vary every year as expenses, such as fuel costs, fluctuate. When net power costs are higher than the amount collected in base rates, customers would get a one-year surcharge to allow the company to recover the difference. When net power costs are lower than the amount collected in rates, customers would get a one-year credit. Rocky Mountain Power’s earnings would not increase as a result of the proposed ECAM. Money collected in the surcharge can go only toward meeting power supply expense.


The proposed settlement also includes these features:



The commission plans to handle this case in a modified procedure that uses written comments rather than conducting a hearing, unless customer comments can demonstrate a need for a public hearing. Comments are accepted via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at and clicking on "Comments & Questions." Fill in the case number (PAC-E-08-08) 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, is available on the commission’s Web site at Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to the above case number.