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Another Proposed Rate Hike From RMP

Electrical Power Line Workers
Electrical Power Line Workers (Getty)

Another proposed rate increase from Rocky Mountain Power.  This one for 17 percent, which could mean about a 15 dollar a month increase for the average household.

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Last spring a two-step rate increase for Rocky Mountain Power was approved by the Public Service Commission; 5.1 percent in July and another 1.9 percent comes into effect this February.

Jeff Hymas, spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power, says customers should expect continued yearly increases.

The request he says reflect the company’s  increased costs, inparticular to the cost of coal for power plants.   “We’ve had very beneficial contracts for coal that we use at our power plants.  They’ve been very low cost, but now,  those contracts have expired, also for energy purchases on the market and were having to go back in and renegotiate contracts at much higher prices today than we’ve been paying for these resources.”

He sites those price increases  as the biggest driver behind the request.  Investment in environmental controls, new transmission lines, and wind projects, are also pushing prices up.  Hymas notes that, so far, carbon legislation and  carbon taxes are not in place.  “With the number of coal resources that we have we’re a little more vulnerable to price increases than other parts of the country and that’s why its a good thing that were adding wind resources and having more diverse generation.  You dont want to have all your eggs in one basket, because then, if a carbon tax comes along and all you have is coal powered plants,  you can be in a lot of trouble pricewise.”

Hymas says the requests tend to take about 10 months to process.  Meantime, their last rate proposal was cut in half by the Public Service Commission during its review and public hearing phase.  He says they’re asking for an effective date of September 22nd 2011.

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