Commission OKs new Idaho Power pricing plan
A new pricing option for a limited number of Idaho Power Company residential customers will allow them to pay less for electricity if they shift more of their electrical use to late night and weekend hours.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission today approved Idaho Power’s proposal to offer its Time Variant Pricing Plan to 1,200 volunteer customers. After submitting a report to the commission on its 2012 results, the utility may be able to expand the plan to more customers next year.
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.
Commission staff, the Idaho Conservation League, the U.S. Green Building Council Idaho (USGBCI) and the Snake River Alliance endorsed the pricing plan. USGBCI said the plan will “advance energy efficiency and reduce the utility’s need to purchase expensive power on the open market to meet high peak demand.”
A smaller-scale 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, the plan can now be expanded to include more customers.
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 Time Variant Pricing, customers will 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 Time Variant Pricing, customers will pay 6.26 cents per kWh for off-peak use and 11.35 cents for on-peak use.
Idaho Power will 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.
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.
The commission’s order, along with 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.