Idaho Power wants you to pay for added costs. Here’s how much your bill would rise

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Posted at 5:09 PM, Apr 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-18 19:09:35-04

This article was originally written by John Sowell for the Idaho Statesman.

Idaho Power charges some of the lowest rates for electricity in the United States. But the Boise electric utility wants to add about $2.50 to each monthly bill paid by its customers.

Idaho Power has filed for an annual power cost adjustment with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. If approved, it would bring the company $39.1 million in added annual revenue, an increase of about 3.4%.

The money will not directly benefit the company or shareholders. It allows a utility to account for fluctuations in the cost of energy from year to year without seeking a permanent rate increase.

Residential customers would pay an added 2.7%. The $2.57 per month added cost is based upon a residential customer billed for 950 kilowatt hours of electricity. A customer bill from last summer with use of 835 kilowatt hours totaled $86.67.

Business and irrigation customers would pay from 2.5% to 5% more.

Even with the increase, Idaho Power says its prices remain about 20% lower than the national average for residential customers and 30% lower for business customers.

Last year, the PUC approved Idaho Power’s request for a 4.2% increase for residential customers — adding $4.01 to the average bill — and increases of 3.5% to 7.5% for business and irrigation users. That resulted in added estimated revenue of $58.7 million.

Idaho Power expects to generate less electricity from its hydroelectric plants this year than last due to lower stream levels, and to pay higher market prices for energy, according to a document filed with the PUC. The cost of natural gas used to produce electricity is expected to increase 34%, while coal-fuel expenses are projected to increase 16%.

If approved, the rate increase would go into effect June 1.