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Rocky Mountain Power Asks For Rate Decrease For Wyoming

Karen-Snyder-K2-Radio
Karen-Snyder-K2-Radio

Here’s some happy news, and we should be thanking California in part for it.

Rocky Mountain Power on Monday asked the Wyoming Public Service Commission for a $16.2 million rate decrease for customers, according to a news release from the company.

For the average residential customer using 733 kilowatt hours per month, this means you will pay about $15.36 a year less for electricity.

“In days when everything else is going up, it’s nice to see prices stay the same or actually go down, so it’s a nice bonus to let our customers know that we’re really working hard to keep the prices low,” company spokesman Paul Murphy said.

The Salt Lake City-based Rocky Mountain, a division of PacifiCorp, also pledged to not increase base rates before Jan. 1, 2020.

“When customers’ rates are set, they include the costs of electricity such as fuel and wholesale electricity purchases,” Rocky Mountain Power Vice President Rita Meyer said in a news release.
“These costs fluctuate, so there is a method to adjust rates for our customers,” Meyer said. “This proposed decrease is the result of an annual filing and, if approved by the Wyoming Public Service Commission, will be effective June 15, 2017, on an interim basis.”

The Wyoming Public Service Commission sets the rates for natural gas, electric and telephone utilities and some commercial water utilities and intrastate pipelines.

Part of this requested decrease includes adjustment for the sale of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). They represent the environmental attributes of renewable energy produced by the company. RECs are sold on the open market and revenues are credited to customers to lower their bills.

Murphy said a combination of factors have lowered costs. The price of fuel is down. The company also joined an energy and balance market that allows it to buy electricity from California, he said.

“California has a glut of solar, and at some points the state pays us to take their electricity,” Murphy said. “So when we get those lower prices we pass those on to customers.”

Rocky Mountain Power submitted its proposal to the Public Service Commission on Monday, he said.

The PSC will review the request with interim rates scheduled to take effect June 15, 2017. “When you’re asking for less money, there’s not that much of a controversy,” Murphy said.

The proposed rate decrease contrasts with reports in December when some Casper customers said their their most recent bills were much higher than previous months, and the colder weather alone didn’t explain the problem.

A thread on the Casper Classifieds Facebook page soliciting comments quickly gathered nearly 300 responses.

However, Murphy said rates have been going down in Wyoming for the past several years. The recent very cold winter resulted in higher electricity use and consequently higher bills.

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