Idaho's power conservation efforts took another leap forward and growers have been given another option as the Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved a power buy back program for Utah Power and Light Co. (PacifiCorp) April 4.
Eastern Idaho irrigators, under the UP and L system which covers most of the potato production areas of east Idaho, will be able to sign up for one of two programs offering 13.5 and 15 cents per qualifying kWh of electricity not used for pumping.
Of its 4,500 qualifying pumps in Idaho, UP and L expects between 20-25 percent to be signed up. Most of the company's irrigation customers are served under the load-control program and may face outages if supply cannot meet demand.
Joining Idaho Power Company with the power savings program, UP and L has set a May 1 sign-up deadline. Customers must agree to curtail use throughout the entire 2001 irrigation season, June 1 to Sept. 15.
The purchase price will be 13.5 cents per kWh for loads connected to the company's system and 15 cents for loads disconnected from the system.
The programs are being offered because of the current volatility in the Pacific Northwest regional power market and projected low stream flows for hydro generation. The energy saved will be used to meet power needs elsewhere in the state, preventing the utilities from having to buy high-cost power on the open market.