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.