Rocky Mountain Power requests price increase
Overall average of 5.3% starting 2015
by Rocky Mountain Power
March 21, 2014
Rocky Mountain Power is requesting a price change to occur in January 2015 to support the growing costs of serving its Wyoming customers. If approved by the Wyoming Public Service Commission, prices would increase by an overall average of 5.3 percent beginning next year.
A residential customer with average electricity use of 780 kilowatt-hours per month would see an increase of about $4.50 on their monthly bill. Proposed price changes vary for different types of customers and would impact customers’ bills differently based on their individual electricity use.
"This requested price increase is needed to support the growing costs of maintaining reliable electric service for our Wyoming customers," said Rita Meyer, Rocky Mountain Power vice president for Wyoming. "Our electricity prices will remain a good value. Dependable, reasonably priced electric service is essential to homes and businesses in Wyoming, and to help our state and local economies grow."
The latest ranking by Edison Electric Institute shows Rocky Mountain Power is priced in the lowest third of all electricity providers nationally.
New capital investment, totaling $2.3 billion companywide, is the largest reason for the requested price increase and is necessary to maintain reliable electric service today and for the future. This includes the new Lake Side 2 natural gas-fueled power plant in Utah that will begin serving customers this summer, and the recently completed Mona-Oquirrh transmission line that improves the reliability of the transmission system and adds needed capacity. Wyoming customers would pay only a portion of these costs that are shared among customers in six states.
In Wyoming, these capital investments also include the new Red Butte substation in Casper; parts of the 115-kilovolt transmission loop around Casper; and the new Standpipe substation in central Wyoming that will help stabilize voltage and improve reliability.
Overall electricity use by Rocky Mountain Power’s Wyoming customers is growing at a faster rate than in other states served by the company. This is a good indicator of economic growth in the state, as more businesses choose to expand or locate in Wyoming. However, it also increases system costs allocated to Wyoming for generation, transmission and other shared expenses, resulting in higher costs in this price request.
Another significant factor in this price request is higher depreciation rates approved last year. Those rates determine how a utility spreads the recovery of its capital costs of power plants, electric transmission and distribution systems, buildings and other necessary equipment over their useful lives.
"We are committed to remaining a low-cost electricity provider, controlling expenses and helping customers save money by using electricity efficiently," said Meyer. "We understand that any price increase can be difficult for customers and we work hard to make sure every dollar we spend aligns with what our customers truly need and expect."
As part of its efforts to control costs, Rocky Mountain Power spent $16 million less last year by reducing corporate and operating expenses and through lower financing rates.
Information about programs and resources available to help qualifying low-income customers is available at rockymountainpower.net. Rocky Mountain Power’s wattsmart energy-efficiency programs and incentives can also help all customers save energy and money. Visit wattsmart.com to learn more.