Rocky Mountain Power is seeking state approval for a rate increase that would boost residential energy prices by 4.7 percent while providing a 0.8 percent rate cut for its industrial customers, it announced Tuesday.
The company, Wyoming’s largest energy provider, said in a news release it will use much of the extra income from its first rate increase in five years to finance its renewable energy initiatives.
“That’s the direction our customers are asking for,” spokesman Spencer Hall said in an interview. “As a company, we’ve made it clear there are huge benefits to providing power from no-fuel-cost sources.”
If approved by the Wyoming Public Service Commission, the rate increase would take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
Under the proposal, the costs for residential users would increase by an average of $3.69 per month, Rocky Mountain Power’s news release said.
The cost for commercial users would go up by 4.1 percent, while rates for industrial users would drop by 0.8 percent.
The decline for industrial users is based on the fact that power consumption by such users is easy to predict, Hall said.
“Supplying always-on industrial users is one thing, we know pretty much what the usage will be,” Hall said. “Commercial customers come in, turn on their lights, do work and go home at night. It’s more volatile.”
The added revenue from the rate increase will cover implementation of the company’s “Vision 2020” renewable energy initiative, as well as the refurbishment of wind turbines at the company’s Foote Creek Wind Farm near Arlington. Other items to be paid for with the increase will include the conversion of a coal-fired energy plant near Kemmerer to burn natural gas and the installation of catalytic reduction equipment on some power generating units.
The changes will help Wyoming stay in the forefront of the energy industry, Hall said.
“Its a great opportunity for Wyoming as the industry changes and moves away from coal,” he said. “We want Wyomign to continue to be the center of the energy exporting world.”
The company’s news release noted Rocky Mountain Power has invested in its Wyoming operations for the last five years without asking for a rate increase. It also said Rocky Mountain Power’s average electric rate is 10 percent lower than the average price in Wyoming and 34 percent lower than the national average.
Rocky Mountain Power provides electric service to more than 146,000 customers in the state. It is part of PacifiCorp, which serves more than 1.9 million customers in six states.