Riverton residents expressed their strong opposition to Rocky Mountain Power’s requested rate hikes during a public listening session held by the Wyoming Public Service Commission (PSC). These rate hikes would result in a nearly 30% increase in power rates. The meeting was part of a series of sessions leading up to the PSC’s hearing on the proposal in October.
Residents criticized Rocky Mountain Power for its investments in renewable energy, which they believed mainly served customers outside of Wyoming. The utility costs are shared among all states based on their power consumption, with Wyoming’s share being 15%. Some residents argued that if other states want to benefit from wind energy, they should bear the financial burden, rather than Wyoming customers.
Rocky Mountain Power explained that one of the rate increases they are requesting is a general hike of 21.6%. This increase is driven by net power costs, which include the cost of providing power to customers. The utility also requested an energy cost adjustment mechanism of 7.6% to recover costs associated with purchasing power from the markets, including higher natural gas prices and increasing costs of coal-fired power.
Residents expressed concerns about the reliance on wind energy, as it is intermittent and may not always align with the demand for power. This reliance on wind power has led to increased costs for fossil fuels, as the utility has to purchase coal and natural gas when wind resources are insufficient. Some residents argued that these financial decisions made by Rocky Mountain Power should not be transferred to customers.
The business community also voiced their criticism, stating that the rate increases would have a severe impact on small businesses in the area. Many businesses already face increased fuel costs, and an additional increase in electricity rates would be too much to bear. This could potentially lead to business closures and job losses in the region.
Ultimately, the Public Service Commission has the responsibility to ensure that rate increases are just and reasonable and in the public interest. Rocky Mountain Power needs to demonstrate that their decisions regarding their assets were made in the best interest of the public. The PSC will continue to hold hearings before making a decision on the proposed rate hikes.
Overall, the opposition from Riverton residents and the business community highlights the concerns over the impact of these rate hikes on individuals and local businesses. The PSC’s decision will have far-reaching implications for the affordability and accessibility of electricity for Wyoming residents.
– Wyoming Public Service Commission (PSC): A regulatory body responsible for overseeing public utility services in Wyoming.
– Rocky Mountain Power: Wyoming’s largest utility company.
– Rate hikes: Increases in the rates charged to customers for electricity consumption.
– Wind energy: Power generated through the use of wind turbines.
– Fossil fuels: Non-renewable energy sources such as coal and natural gas.
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