Idahoans Deserve Clean Energy at a Fair Priceby Lisa Grow
Idaho Power, April 2012
Something needs to change about the way alternative energy is priced in Idaho.
Idahoans are already paying hundreds of millions of dollars in excess costs for electricity they many not even need. Unless something is done, they could pay millions more. That's why Idaho Power has asked the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) to update the way prices are calculated for the energy Idahoans are required to buy from wind, solar, and other alternative energy projects.
Federal law requires Idaho Power to buy electricity from independent producers, regardless of whether our customers need it or not. To make matters worse, prices for this energy are set far higher than the price of electricity readily available on the open market or from our own resources.
The result? Idaho Power customers will pay an estimated $850 million in additional costs associated with these purchases over the next 10 years. Contracts already signed with alternative energy (primarily large-scale wind) producers obligate Idaho Power customers to $4.8 billion in payments over the life of the contracts.
Something needs to change.
Idaho Power has a planning process for determining how to best meet customers' electricity needs now and into the future. We collaborate with community members and various interest groups on our Integrated Resource Plan, which is updated every two years. The plan considers all resource options based on cost, reliability and environmental stewardship. The requirement to buy energy from these producers at inflated prices circumvents this public planning process and results in Idaho Power's customers paying substantially more for their energy.
Idaho Power recently filed testimony with the IPUC recommending changes to the way prices are set for energy from these alternative energy projects. This is an important issue to all Idaho families and business owners. We all want reliable, responsible energy. But we need it at a fair price based on its value.
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