The state’s largest utility provider, Rocky Mountain Power and several large electric consumers, along with the Wyoming Office of Consumer Advocate announced June 15, 2012 that they had agreed to a settlement of Rocky Mountain Power’s latest rate case, where they initially asked the Wyoming Public Service Commission for permission to raise electricity bills by $62.8 million.
See Also: Affordable Utilities Now
AARP, a formal intervening party to the case, chose not sign onto the settlement.
“We can’t go along with yet another increase at this time,” AARP Wyoming Director Tim Summers said. “Our members have had their electric rates go up every year since 2007 – they’re getting tired of annual rate hikes and those who live on fixed incomes are having trouble keeping up.”
Under the agreement reached by the settling groups with Rocky Mountain Power (RMP), rates would go up in increments over a two-year period. RMP and the settling parties presented their proposal to the Wyoming Public Service Commission at a hearing July 16 in Cheyenne. AARP presented a summary of our contentions to the Commission at that time. The Commission has yet to formally rule in the case.
AARP focused its comments on the rate impacts to its members. For residential customers, the monthly charge would have increased from $20 to $22 (it increased from $10.18 to $20 as recently as 2009), which amounts to an increase of 8.8 percent, although RMP officials had said they would increase it to a range from 5.9 percent to 8.7 percent for low-use customers, who tend to also be low-income or fixed-income customers.
The Wyoming Public Service Commission received more than 500 emails and calls from AARP members before the public hearing period closed.
Following the public hearing phase of the case, Rocky Mountain Power entered into settlement negotiations with all the intervening parties, including AARP. As a result of the negotiations, the rate case was cut down from $68 million to $32 million, saving rate payers $36 million in 2012. Rocky Mountain Power agreed to not file another rate case until April 2014, in return for an $18 million increase in 2013.
Rocky Mountain Power has requested rate hikes six times in 6 years, and eight times in 10 years. AARP has intervened in most of those cases, helping save Wyoming consumers over $250 million.
“About half of AARP Wyoming members live in the RMP territory and they are tired of the continual rate hikes,” Summers said. “They told us clearly, enough is enough.”