Idaho Power Company today was granted a request to immediately raise power rates to collect from its customers $168 million.
Irrigators, who were braced for an increase somewhere in the 20-25 percent range, will see their rates increased by 31.3 percent. Idaho industrial customers, which include several large potato processors, will see rates go up by 42.1 percent. The company had requested 62.8 percent for that category of users.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission made the ruling after the company had filed a rate-increase plan to make up for lost revenues experienced over the past year and for anticipated costs for purchasing power over the next year.
The company will experience a power supply challenge like it hasn't seen before because of low water flows that turn its many hydro-generators. It is by this means the company generates most of its electrical power.
Despite the fact many irrigators agreed to take a per kilowatt-hour payment in lieu of using power to irrigate crops this summer, and other conservation measures have been put into place, the company will still come up short of its needed electricity.
The new rates will go into effect today, just as many irrigators start their pumps. Idaho growers have seen very little rain. Nearly continuous winds have taken topsoil moisture leaving growers tilling and planting in clouds of dust.
Utah Power and Light Co., customers in eastern Idaho could see similar increases as that utility has also filed for rate hikes.