Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014

Rocky Mountain Power wants net metering customers to pay 'fair share'

By Jasen Lee, Deseret News

Published: Tue, Jan. 7 5:02 p.m. MST

 Rocky Mountain Power is asking some customers-turned-electricity producers to pay a little more for the privilege. The utility claims the company is required to credit customers too much for excess generation.

Rocky Mountain Power is asking some customers-turned-electricity producers to pay a little more for the privilege. The utility claims the company is required to credit customers too much for excess generation.

(David Quinn, Associated Press )

SALT LAKE CITY — The state's largest power supplier is asking some customers-turned-electricity producers to pay a little more for the privilege.

Last week, Rocky Mountain Power announced a rate increase request of $76.3 million, or 4 percent, from the Utah Public Service Commission. If approved, the typical residential electricity bill would rise about $3.73 per month.

The request also included a $4.25 monthly fee for net metering customers. Net metering is a service to an electric consumer under which electric energy generated by that consumer from an eligible on-site generating facility — such as solar panels and wind turbines — and delivered to the local distribution facilities may be used to offset electric energy provided by the utility to the consumer.

The utility claims that under current state regulations, the company is required to credit customers for excess generation at the full retail rate even though the customer electric generation does not include the capital investment of infrastructure, voltage lines or the utility's overall power generation.

Rocky Mountain Power estimates the utility's per kilowatt cost of electricity is slightly less than 11.2 cents, while net metering customers' cost was just under 2.6 cents per kilowatt. Still, the utility is forced to credit the customer the much higher amount for excess energy.

Rocky Mountain Power President and CEO Rich Walje told the Deseret News Editorial Board on Tuesday that while the company embraces evolving customer expectations for choice, the issue needs to be addressed before it becomes a real burden for other Utah customers who choose not to participate in net metering.

The proposed monthly fee would help offset some of the fixed costs to both supply electric service to net metering customers and receive the extra power they produce, he said.

Walje said other reasons for the increase request include higher costs to maintain reliable electric service such as the new Lake Side 2 natural gas power plant, new high-voltage transmission lines and equipment upgrades to comply with environmental regulations.

By law, the Utah Public Service Commission has 180 days to review the rate case. Any new rates would take effect in September.

E-mail: jlee@deseretnews.com, Twitter: JasenLee1

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1. Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT,
Jan. 7, 2014

You try and conserve and Big Business wants to charge you for being part of the solution, greed at it's best.
How about we charge CA for burning their fossil fuels in Utah for their power?
Who paid for those dams that generate electricity in Utah?

2. srw
Riverton, UT,
Jan. 7, 2014

"The utility claims that under current state regulations, the company is required to credit customers for excess generation at the full retail rate even though the customer electric generation does not include the capital investment of infrastructure,..."

Customers can generate electricity without equipment?

"Rocky Mountain Power estimates the utility's per kilowatt cost of electricity is slightly less than 11.2 cents, while net metering customers' cost was just under 2.6 cents per kilowatt."

It seems odd for Rocky Mountain Power to announce that amateurs can generate electricity for 1/4 the cost that RMP can...

3. Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT,
Jan. 7, 2014

This is Rocky Mountain Powers' discreet way of saying "we won't let anyone cut into our business" (without a fight). Despite all the commercials (paid for by ratepayers)towards conservation, you can bet if/when ANYONE starts to threaten their obscene revenue stream they will anything they can to discourage them.

4. Kings Court
Alpine, UT,
Jan. 7, 2014

So basically Rocky Mountain Power wants to charge you for the privilege to sell them the power that they in turn sell to other customers through the very power lines they complain about people using to buy/sell the power from/to them. Wow. It is enough to make your head spin.

To me it sounds like they want to profit at the consumer's expense no matter if they are buying or selling. Only they win.

5. Morgan Duel
Taylorsville, UT,
Jan. 7, 2014

Rock Mountain Power is a fine outstanding American Company who always tries to do their best to reward the user of their services by providing cheap power or if they make a mistake and destroy another persons property they are willing to correct that mistake no matter the cost! LOL