Amy Dominguez, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheyenne, WY – The Public Service Commission (PSC) orally announced today its decision on Rocky Mountain Power’s proposed rate increase. A written decision is expected to follow.
The PSC’s decision comes after over 5,000 submitted comments from community members who spoke to their concerns about raising utility costs, particularly for those on fixed incomes and small business owners who considered whether they could stay in operation as a result of the requested rate increase. Some spoke to the egregious nature of the rate hike proposal coming from a utility owned by multi-billion dollar parent company, Berkshire Hathaway.
By carefully scrutinizing Rocky Mountain Power’s proposed rate increase, the Commission responded to customers’ concerns and reduced the utility’s requested increase in net power costs (primarily coal and gas fuel) from approximately $354 million to $307 million, a significant decrease that will lessen the rate impact on customers. The Commission also rejected other rate increase requests from Rocky Mountain Power’s parent company, PacifiCorp.
Critically, the PSC also maintained a cost sharing mechanism for net power costs wherein the Company and customers share in the risk that costs will be higher than expected. Under this mechanism, when costs are higher than expected, the Company absorbs 20% of the cost increase. Keeping the 80/20 cost sharing band means that Rocky Mountain Power won’t be able to shift 100 percent of the cost risk for unpredictable and volatile fossil fuel prices onto customers as it had proposed. Instead, the sharing band will continue to incentivize the utility to reduce its costs, which it can do by more aggressively investing in renewable energy. The Company’s own analysis showed that without its current investment in clean energy, fuel costs would have been 65% higher. The 80/20 sharing band provides a check on the utility recklessly spending on volatile fuel costs on ratepayers’ dime.
“Community members turned out to voice their concerns about how Rocky Mountain Power’s rate increase would impact them, and that made all the difference in the decision that the Public Service Commission took today,” said Rob Joyce, Acting Director of Sierra Club’s Wyoming Chapter. “While there’s still work to be done to ensure that Rocky Mountain Power responsibly plans for Wyoming’s energy future, today’s deliberation outcome is a testament to the change we can make when we advocate for each other.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.