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Rocky Mountain Power Lowers Electricity Prices - For Now

Judy Fahys/KUER
Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Paul Murphy stands outside the Gadsby plant in Salt Lake City. The 2015 energy mix means a rate reduction for customers over the next year.

Rocky Mountain Power is trimming the cost of electricity thanks to the annual exercise of rebalancing. The electric-power company announced plans Tuesday to cut customer electricity bills by $14.3 million because of last year’s energy markets.

“Basically, customers will see a slight decrease in their monthly electricity bill,” says Paul Murphy, a spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power.

Murphy says the reduction is based on a typical Utah customer who buys an average of 700 kilowatts of electricity per month.

The Public Service Commission will review the request before any reductions go into effect later this year.

Murphy says this price adjustment is part of an annual practice of trueing-up some of the power company’s costs of doing business.

“We overestimated how much it would cost for the power and underestimated how much we would receive from renewable energy credits,” he says, “and the end result is we’re giving our customers about a $6.48 decrease in prices.”

Lawmakers revamped the formula for determining the price correction during the legislative session that ended last week as part of SB115.

Consumer advocates had warned lawmakers against the change. They said the new formula means that Rocky Mountain Power customers will bear more of the risk of energy market uncertainties beginning later this year, and that could result in higher rates in the long run.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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