Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Utility asks to increase customer rates 7.6%

Via Wyoming News Exchange

CASPER — Rocky Mountain Power, Wyoming’s largest electric utility, wants to increase ratepayers’ bills by an average of 7.6% in response to higher-than-expected fuel and transmission costs during 2022. 

The rate adjustment would translate to an extra $50.3 million for the utility. 

The utility sources the vast majority of its electricity from its own power plants and through long-term contracts. But about 5% comes from the more volatile wholesale market. 

“Sharply higher prices in the wholesale power market during the severe summer weather of 2022 are responsible for nearly half of Wyoming’s share of increased power costs,” said Jack Painter, the utility’s net power cost specialist, in a statement. 

Severe weather events, extreme temperatures, high natural gas prices and supply chain disruptions also contributed to the higher costs, he said. 

The change in electricity prices would vary across rate classes under the utility’s proposal. Residential customers would see the smallest increase, at 5.1%, with the average residential bill going up by about $3.52 per month, according to the utility. That percentage rises to between 5.6% and 8.4% for general service users and between 6.4% and 9.2% for all other categories. 

Rocky Mountain Power has asked the Wyoming Public Service Commission to put the rate adjustment into effect on July 1. 

The request, which the utility submitted to state regulators on Monday, is separate from the ongoing rate case in which it is seeking a 21.6% average price increase over the next several years. 

It’s normal for a utility to adjust prices each year in response to shifts in the market. Rate cases typically involve more fundamental changes to utility payment structures. 

“These annual energy cost adjustments track costs beyond the company’s direct control and factor in 2022 investments made by the company to ensure reliable service to customers,” said Sharon Fain, Rocky Mountain Power’s vice president for Wyoming, in a statement. 

“This annual energy cost adjustment mechanism ensures our customers do not overpay or underpay for the electricity they use,” Fain added. 

Rocky Mountain Power encouraged ratepayers who may need assistance paying their bills to call 1-888-221-7070 or visit the utility’s website to learn about options for financial support.