Rocky Mountain Power announced earlier this month that customers may see an average rate increase of four percent.
The utility company filed a request with the Public Service Commission of Utah on Jan. 3 for the increase that could take affect as soon as this September.
According to Rocky Mountain Power, a four percent increase would generate approximately $76.3 million and would increase monthly residential bills by about $3.73. On average, it takes about eight months for the service commission to review and approve any proposed rate increases. Therefore, customers should not see a change to their bill before this fall.
Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson David Eskelsen explained that revenue generated from the proposed rate increase will be used to support several projects and environmental controls. Two such projects are the new Lake Side Power Plant in Utah County, which will serve customers this summer, and the recently completed Mona-Oquirrh transmission line, which runs from Mona to Salt Lake City.
“These projects were previously approved for construction by the public service commission and provide great benefits to customers,” Eskelsen stated. “As well, the company must comply with increasingly strict environmental regulations. New or upgraded equipment is needed to meet new federal and state environmental rules. This includes investments for the Hunter Plant in Castle Dale.”
Eskelsen explained that together, these projects amount to $2.4 billion in capital investment needed to keep electric service reliable and reasonably priced for customers.
Prior to submitting the proposal, the utility company looked over operating expenses closely and cut costs where applicable. “We looked at all our choices before asking for a rate increase,” Eskelsen assured. “Decisions were made based on customer need, service reliability and what’s in the best interest of our consumers.”
According to Rocky Mountain Power, the company spent $16 million less this year by reducing corporate and operation costs and by lowering financing rates. Still, a price change is needed to keep electricity safe and reliable for customers.
Eskelsen explained that the proposed change is mild and that every attempt has been made to make the increase moderate and predictable. “The last rate increase was made in a two-step process,” he explained. “It was approved in 2011. Rates then increased by about five percent in October 2012. Then the second step came in September 2013 with an increase of just under three percent.”
In a brief summary issued by Eskelsen, Rocky Mountain Power considers all aspects carefully before requesting an increase because the company understands the impact the change has on customers and businesses.
The power company assures customers that Utah has some of the lowest electricity prices in the country. A recent ranking by the Edison Electric Institute shows Rocky Mountain Power is priced in the lower third of all electricity providers in the U.S.