Idaho Power proposes new pricing option for customers
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comments through March 14 on an Idaho Power Company plan to offer 1,200 volunteer customers a pricing plan that may help them reduce their bills. The “Time Variant Pricing” plan would allow customers to shift their energy consumption to off-peak time periods when energy is in less demand and thus less expensive for both the utility and customers.
A pricing plan similar to this proposed plan, called Time-of-Day, is now offered (under the company’s Schedule 5 tariff) in the Emmett area. With the installation of automated meters throughout Idaho Power’s service territory, that plan can now be expanded to include more customers. Idaho Power plans to further expand the pricing option beyond 1,200 customers in 2013.
During the non-summer months, customers on the standard Schedule 1 residential tariff pay 6.83 cents per kWh for the first 800 kWh of use, 7.58 cents for use between 801 kWh and 2,000 kWh and 8.46 cents for use of 2,001 kWh and more. Under the Time Variant Pricing Plan, customers would pay 6.26 cents per kWh during off peak hours and 8.22 cents during peak hours. Peak hours are 1 to 9 p.m. on weekdays. All other hours, including all weekend hours, are off-peak.
During the summer months, residential customers pay 7.4 cents for the first 800 kWh; 9 cents for consumption between 801 and 2000 kWh and 10.8 cents for use above 2,000 kWh. Under the proposed Time Variant Pricing, customers would pay 6.26 cents per kWh for off-peak use and 11.35 cents for on-peak use.
The company proposes to send up to 60,000 invitation letters to customers in the Treasure Valley area (where automated meters have been in place 12 months or longer) with the hope of getting 1,200 participants. Idaho Power plans to expand its offering 2013 once a new customer billing system is in place.
Customers invited to participate will have access to an online Energy Use Advising Tool that will calculate their monthly and annual bills under the standard Schedule1 tariff the last 12 months. With the use of a calculator provided, the company will help customers determine the impact on their bills if they use energy the same as the previous year or if they can shift a percentage of their use to off-peak hours.
The company also proposes to make the tariff available to owners of electric vehicles throughout its southern Idaho territory by providing educational materials about the pricing plan to car dealerships. Under the plan, electric car owners could charge their cars during off-peak hours which could reduce their bills as well as reduce the negative impact of this new end-use load on Idaho Power’s grid.
Idaho Power says Time Variant Pricing, if approved, will offer customers a choice of pricing plans while providing them better tools to manage their energy use and provide the company an opportunity to further study the effects of pricing options on customer use patterns.
When applied to a large number of customers, shifting demand on Idaho Power’s system away from on-peak hours can reduce power supply expense to the utility and delay or eliminate the need to build new power plants, all of which reduces expense for customers, even those who don’t directly participate in the program.
The company’s complete application and other documents related to the case, is available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to Case No. IPC-E-12-05. Comments are accepted through March 14 via e-mail by accessing the commission’s Website and clicking on "Comments & Questions About a Case." Fill in the above case number and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.