Idaho Falls Power seeks rate hike

POSTED: 08:37 AM MDT Jul 25, 2013    UPDATED: 11:09 AM MDT Jul 25, 2013 
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Idaho Falls Power residential customers can expect an average $3.65 per month increase in electricity rates beginning Oct. 1. The increase is linked to a new wholesale rate structure adopted by the Bonneville Power Administration.

The utility proposed the Idaho Falls City Council pass the increase on to customers this week.

The federal agency, which supplies most of Idaho Falls Power's electricity, wants to increase its wholesale power rates by 9 percent and transmission costs by 11 percent. 

Wholesale power is the single largest cost in Idaho Falls Power's budget.  The city budgeted purchases of $25 million from BPA in 2013. 

The last time Idaho Falls Power increased rates was in October 2011.

BPA Acting Administrator Elliot Mainzer said the increases are necessary to "preserve the long-term value of carbon-free federal generation and support the reliability of the high voltage transmission lines that serve Northwest public utilities."

The rate increase is due to higher costs to operate and maintain federal hydroelectric facilities, existing long-term agreements for fish and wildlife mitigation, and reduced revenues from surplus power sales due to lower market prices.