Rocky Mountain Power files for price increase
Increased cost to serve Wyoming customers’ growing electricity needs prompts request
by Rocky Mountain Power
October 5, 2009
Rocky Mountain Power is in the midst of an extensive construction program designed to respond to growing demand for electricity in Wyoming and across its system, meet the needs of the state’s expanding industrial customers and build a secure energy future for Wyoming’s economy that is environmentally sound.
To support this objective, the utility filed a request with the Wyoming Public Service Commission, Oct. 2, proposing a price increase of $70.9 million, or an overall increase of 13.7 percent. Price changes to individual customers will vary based on their customer class and level of energy consumption. The increase is necessary to more closely match electricity prices with the utility’s rising costs of providing safe and reliable service to Wyoming customers.
"We are acquiring new cost-effective wind generation, as well as building new transmission and distribution facilities required to deliver electricity to our customers in Wyoming and the other states we serve," said Richard Walje, president of Rocky Mountain Power. "Even in the current economy, electricity use by our Wyoming customers continues to increase, and at a faster pace than in the other five states in which the company operates.
"Despite the increase in revenues associated with the growth in electricity use, existing electricity prices are insufficient to finance the construction of new facilities, improve emissions controls at power plants and cover rising fuel and power costs," said Walje. "The expense to build any new generation or transmission resource today is significantly higher than in the past."
Price increases to residential customers would vary considerably based on individual customers’ electricity usage. The proposed pricing structure continues to provide residential customers an incentive to use electricity wisely, because those who use less pay a lower rate. For a residential customer using the average of 813 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, the proposed change would amount to an increase of just over one cent per kilowatt-hour. In this example, the customer’s bill would increase by about 30 cents per day.
Rocky Mountain Power has requested that the rate change be effective August 1, 2010, but the request must first be reviewed and approved by the Wyoming Public Service Commission before any change can take effect.
For decades, Rocky Mountain Power’s Wyoming customers have paid among the lowest prices for electricity in the nation. Even with the proposed changes, Rocky Mountain Power’s prices will remain competitive with other electricity providers in the state and region.
"We understand price increases of any amount may be difficult for customers," said Walje. "Energy efficiency programs introduced by Rocky Mountain Power earlier this year in Wyoming are available to help both residential and business customers manage their electricity costs."