State to Hear Lower Valley Rate Requestby Noah Brenner
KNDO/KNDU, September 28, 2006
The Wyoming Public Service Commission will consider Lower Valley Energy's request to increase its electricity rates at 1:30 p.m. today in Cheyenne.
Lower Valley filed an amendment to its request Sept. 1 asking for an overall rate increase of 7.04 percent. In June, Lower Valley had filed a request for a 9.9 percent overall increase, but company officials later said they expected the final figure to be slightly lower. The proposed figure comes in less than even those expectations.
For the average customer who uses 1,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity, a monthly bill would increase by less than $10.
Lower Valley Energy customers had enjoyed some of the lowest electricity rates in the nation due to a 10-year agreement between the cooperative and Bonneville Power Administration that locked in wholesale power rates. That agreement expires in October, causing Lower Valley's wholesale power costs to rise as much as 25 percent.
The hearing is for a "pass on" rate increase, meaning the commission will consider only Lower Valley's request to pass on the increased rates from Bonneville to its customers. It will not address changes to the rate structure proposed by the member-owned cooperative. The commission often approves pass on cases with a single hearing, while rate structure changes are a more laborious process.
Lower Valley President and CEO Jim Webb said he could not speculate as to how the commission might receive the request. He was planning on attending the hearing.
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