Pacific Power rate settlement approved
Wyoming customers will see a 6.9% average rate increase
by Pacific Power
February 14, 2006
On February 10, 2006, the Wyoming Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a bench order approving an all-party settlement agreement on PacifiCorp’s general rate request application filed in October 2005. Approval of the settlement will result in a total average rate increase of 6.9 percent for the electric utility’s Wyoming customers. PacifiCorp operates in the state as Pacific Power.
The total $25 million annual rate increase will be implemented in two steps, with a 4.1 percent average increase taking effect on March 1, 2006, and an additional 2.8 percent average increase taking effect on July 1, 2006. As part of the approved settlement, PacifiCorp will request dismissal of its pass-on application for recovery of net wholesale purchased power costs, filed in December 2005.
Parties to the settlement include PacifiCorp, the Wyoming Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA), AARP, the Wyoming Industrial Energy Consumers (WIEC) and the Big Horn Basin Irrigators.
"We are pleased that the Public Service Commission determined this all-party agreement to be in the public interest, following many months of discussions and negotiations between Pacific Power and organizations representing residential, commercial and industrial electricity consumers," said Bob Tarantola, Pacific Power regional vice president for Wyoming. "Even with approval of the rate increases included in this settlement, Pacific Power customers in Wyoming will continue to pay among the lowest rates for electricity in the Western U.S."
The typical residential customer in Wyoming using 700 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month will see an average monthly increase of about $4.75. Pacific Power customers in Wyoming have not experienced a rate increase since September 2004. The approved rate increases are needed to allow Pacific Power to continue to invest in and maintain its critical infrastructure and provide a safe and reliable power supply for its Wyoming customers.
The approved settlement includes implementation of a Power Cost Adjustment Mechanism (PCAM) to compare actual total net power costs against a pre-determined baseline and adjust rates accordingly on an annual basis. Similar mechanisms are already utilized by most other Wyoming utilities. Implementation of a PCAM will help reduce the frequency of general rate requests and provide better rate predictability for Pacific Power’s Wyoming customers.
Additional terms of the approved settlement include commitments by PacifiCorp to review Demand Side Management (DSM) options for Wyoming; initiate a Wyoming irrigation load research program; and contribute $30,000 from shareholder funds to Energy Share of Wyoming for emergency energy assistance.
As a result of the settlement, Pacific Power customers in each major customer class will pay the same rates for electricity regardless of their location in Wyoming. Achieving statewide rate parity represents a significant milestone for the company. Pacific Power rates have varied geographically in Wyoming since the utility merged with Utah Power in 1989, and rate parity has been accomplished by a phased leveling of rates through rate cases over several years.
Additional information about Pacific Power is available online at: www.pacificpower.net