For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Ben Otto, Energy Associate, Idaho Conservation League, (208) 345-6933 x 212
Abby Urbanek, Communications Manager, Idaho Conservation League, (208) 345-6933 x 214
Idaho Conservation League plan would lower power bills, help customers
Financing alternative for Idaho Power’s departure from Jim Bridger Power Plant would save customers up to $70 million
BOISE, ID – The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) is proposing an alternative plan to help Idaho Power exit the Bridger coal plant in Wyoming that would save customers up to $70 million compared to the plan announced by Idaho Power.
To exit Bridger coal, Idaho Power claims they need roughly $460 million to cover spending at the site and cleanup after closure. Those costs will be passed on to Idaho Power customers through higher power bills, which leaves low-income and high-use ratepayers especially hard hit.
To finance these costs, Idaho Power proposes a 7.8 percent interest rate for their customers. ICL’s plan for Idaho Power would use modern financial tools to access lower cost financing, bringing the interest rate much lower and saving customers between $60-70 million, while still ensuring the full costs of closure are met.
“Idaho Power’s analysis shows that a transition to clean energy is a smart investment for Idaho consumers that will pay long term dividends. While there are short term costs, smart financing can minimize those costs” said Ben Otto, Energy Associate with the Idaho Conservation League. “The Idaho Power financing plan is based on a method developed in 1914, instead we need to use modern financing tools that will save consumers millions.”
In 2005, to provide lower cost alternatives, the Idaho legislature adopted Utility Cost Reduction Bonds as a means to reduce utility rates to pay for large expenses. By financing costs with these bonds, Idaho Power could meet their goals while saving energy consumers $70 million.
“In the 21st century, we should be using modern financing tools that provide necessary funding and keep consumer costs low, while supporting a transition to clean energy,” said Otto.
Customers are encouraged to contact the Idaho Public Utilities Commission before April 27 at secretary@puc.Idaho.gov, or on the PUC website at https://puc.idaho.gov/Form/CaseComment (Case Number: IPC-E-21-17) and urge Idaho Power to save customers money by using Idaho Utility Cost Reduction Bonds.
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