Idaho Falls Power is proposing an electric rate increase following Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) announced 6 percent increase for its wholesale customers.
The rate increase, if approved by City Council, would be effective Oct. 1.
“BPA provides the majority of the power consumed in Idaho Falls and is the single largest expense in Idaho Falls Power’s annual operating budget,” IFP General Manager Jackie Flowers states. “IFP cannot absorb the rate increase particularly given that we absorbed BPA’s 9 percent increase in 2015. We have worked to minimize the impact to customers by delaying some previously planned system improvement projects while still maintaining a reliable electric grid and providing quality customer service.”
Included in its rate adjustment proposal, IFP also proposes to credit $1.3 million back to customers through the Power Cost Adjustment (PCA) mechanism over the next 12 months.
Under the proposed rate structure, the average residential customer using 800 kWh per month can expect to see a $4.16 increase in their monthly bill. However, actual rates will vary depending on electric consumption.
Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper says, “Even with these rate increases, Idaho Falls Power will still offer one of the lowest electric power rates in the region and nation. This, combined with the carbon-free and renewable nature of our electricity, gives Idaho Falls a tremendous economic advantage when it comes to attracting new business as well as keeping local businesses competitive.”
BPA’s rate increase comes at a time when they are experiencing falling revenues and depleted cash reserves caused by low wholesale market prices for hydropower. Low wholesale market prices also directly affect IFP.
Each year, IFP has surplus energy produced from the utility’s four run-of-the-river hydro dams that run through town. Revenue from these surplus sales is used to offset the utility’s operating expenses.
BPA has indicated that the rate increase will help support their long-term rate stability and maximize the value of the regional federal power and transmission systems.
IFP, which is contracted with BPA until 2028, continues to be active in BPA’s cost-cutting discussions, as well as discussions about the future of power supply agreements.
Customers may request a personalized energy consultation by contacting the utility at (208) 612-8430 or via the website. This consultation will allow customers to meet with experts to learn more about their eligibility to participate in energy efficiency programs and available bill-paying options. Customers scheduling a consultation will receive a free energy-saver kit.
The Idaho Falls City Council will hold a special meeting and public hearing on all purposed fee increases at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 17 in Council Chambers, City Annex Building, 680 Park Avenue. The meeting will also be streamed live via the city’s website and archived for later viewing.
For additional information on the budget, including budget presentations, calendars and fee resolutions, see budget links on the homepage of the city’s website or click HERE.