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    First time in over a decade, Idaho Power seeks base rate hike. See how much it could be

    June 2, 2023 - Angela Palermo, The Idaho Statesman


      Idaho Power customers should expect their electric bills to increase next year.

      The Boise-based company filed an application with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission on Thursday to raise its overall base rate by 8.61%, for an increase of $111 million. For residential customers, the proposal is a 10.78% rate hike.

      The average residential customer would pay about $11.61 more each month, the utility said in a news release.

      The PUC plans to evaluate the proposal over the next several months and then approve, reject or modify it, according to the news release. After approval, the increase would take effect no sooner than January.

      “We are sensitive to the impacts rate increases have on our customers, and our company works hard to keep our expenses low and our prices well below the national average,” Idaho Power President and CEO Lisa Grow said in the news release. “This case is largely focused on the infrastructure additions that have been necessary to reliably serve our growing customer base.”

      Idaho Power, the largest electric utility in the state, said it invested more than $3 billion in the grid over the past decade, while its customer base grew by 23%. It said operating expenses have increased by about $50 million, or 1% annually, over this time.

      The company last filed a general rate case in 2011.

      In that case, the company requested an increase of 9.9%, or $83 million, but the PUC eventually approved a rate hike of 4.07%, or $34 million, in 2012, Idaho Power spokesperson Jordan Rodriguez told the Idaho Statesman by phone.

      Idaho Power said in the news release that the rates proposed in the latest case would ensure the company collects enough revenue to cover costs and allow for a reasonable rate of return.

      In addition to the proposed hike to Idaho Power’s base rate, the utility company in April requested to increase rates by 10.3% for residential customers, 8.1% for small commercial customers and 16.2% for large commercial customers. Those proposals were part of Idaho Power’s annual spring cost adjustments, which it said would provide no financial return for the utility or its shareholders.

      “We understand times are tough for many, and we are sensitive to the impacts price increases have on our customers,” Ryan Adelman, vice president of power supply at Idaho Power, said in a prior news release about the annual spring cost adjustments.

      Those adjustments, if approved as-is, would raise monthly bills for the average residential customer by about $11.06.

      The proposed 8.61% increase to Idaho Power’s base rate does not affect its customers in Oregon.

      The Idaho commission, while tasked with ensuring that utility companies provide adequate, safe and reliable service at fair rates, is also obligated to give companies the opportunity to recover expenses and earn a reasonable rate of return. The regulatory body comprises three governor-appointed commissioners.

      Written comments regarding the base rate case can be filed on the PUC’s website or mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise ID, 83720. The case number is IPC-E-23-11.

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      ©2023 The Idaho Statesman. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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