In this continuation from the journal on this issue in the previous post, I have posted my thoughts and comments in black to their verbatim responses in red so it is clear on what my position is as well as the concerns I have for the people of Idaho
1. As I learned in a conversation with Idaho power, Since they the PUC is funded by profits from Idaho Power and not necessarily from the tax payers, although they are in that profits come from their usage, is this another government agency essentially lobbying for a private corporation on how they can maximize their profits through regulation and make the taxpayers responsible for it.
2. Are the percentage of profits the PUC makes capped, what is “reasonable” They are allowed to earn only up to a rate of return that is capped by the Commission, So the regulating body that is funded by profits from the corporation determines the cap?
3. Idaho power has made the purchase and installation of AMI softmeters mandatory for all users, also claiming it is for the benefit of the customer. How is it beneficial to us? Iis it how regulate our costs so others can make profits that we pay for anyway. Out of all the studies, Has a study been done on how many people actually read their meters or if people users would feel it is an advantage or is this a means for taxpayers to pay for excessive corporate profits?. (0.34 percent) is to pay for automated meters that will provide tremendous advantages to both company and customers. that will eventually allow customers to monitor electric prices and adjust their use to take advantage of lower price-periods.
4. The present rate increase comes at a bad time economically and the suggestion that they take from our savings to pay for their employee pensions is wealth distribution. Instead of allowing users to protect themselves economically, through the retention of their savings, we are to protect the employees of the monopoly. May I demand of Idaho power that for them to be blessed by my choice to use their services that they should compensate me by me taking from their savings to pay for my retirement?. The commission is allowing Idaho Power to increase rates by 0.77 percent to allow it to collect $5.4 million over 12 months to replenish its pension plan, Recent market conditions and increasing pension obligations require Idaho Power to begin funding the plan again.
5. In there own words of this document supplied , they realize paying for their pensions it is wrong but who else is responsible? If individual employees retirements suffer a loss, is it not the responsibility of the tax payers to may the difference?…“ Customers have always been paying for Idaho Power’s contribution to its pension plan, It is unreasonable for Idaho Power’s customers to be solely responsible for large contributions to the company’s defined pension plan. Idaho Power is required to apply for pension funding in a separate case and must do so to meet federal deadlines, the Commission has allowed recovery of estimated projected contributions to the Company’s pension accounts. Idaho Power is required by federal law to replenish the pension account.
6. According to an employee I spoke to their really isn’t a cap on how much they can raise rates if they feel they are necessary. If Idaho Power deems they need more money, the tax payers are on the hook for the mandatory use of their services if they deem necessary?So the controlling entity that benefits directly from profits, the PUC, is trusted to control spending and contributions? The commission will not approve additional pension plan contributions from customers without evidence that Idaho Power has carefully reviewed alternatives to reduce the burden placed on customers.” During those years when the market doesn’t perform, Idaho Power is required by federal law to replenish the pension account.
7. Idaho power is a monopoly and we are rendered helpless to explore other alternatives for energy sources while they soak the taxpayers for their shortfalls and the users are made to believe that a government oversight committee and advocate for their own salaries are looking out for our best interests or perhaps the interests of their own?.
8. Mandatory meter installs are a loss of employment for Idaho power and a means in which to control power to our homes remotely violating our privacy and relinquishing control of the homeowners, to control our power consumption when it is a commodity we not only need but willingly pay for and get penalized by buying more than our neighbor in the form of a tiered cost structure where the more you use the more you are punished. The increased use of a product that is purchased by the user, to afford you profits, is penalized for a product you sell in order to make profits while economically we know that the more we buy, the more you profit without the need for tiered pricing. allow customers to monitor electric prices and adjust their use to take advantage of lower price-periods, The advanced meters can be read from a remote location, negating the need for an Idaho Power representative to access customer properties, can be read from a remote location, negating the need for an Idaho Power representative to access customer properties, potentially allowing them to manage their use and reduce their bills.
9. Tiered costs are a means of punishment in that I pay for a service and commodity from a business. If I decide to buy more, I am hit with penalties in the form of higher KW usage depending on the time of day I use it and am forced to regulate my power usage because the government conservation committee is telling me to by charging me overages on usage according to the time of day and the amount of usage? Can we apply this economic theory to anything and everything like gasoline for our cars or propane for our homes?.
10. Is power really more expensive to use during a particular time of day and is that something that taxpayers who pay for the service should be responsible for?
11. Why do utility companies have to invest in conservation programs? In other words, as long as Idaho power adheres to the environmental regulations they would get something in return, The Commission does several cost-effectiveness tests that must show that without the conservation programs funded by the FCA, customers would be paying even higher rates. utilities would have little or no incentive to invest in conservation programs because when customers reduce consumption, the company loses revenue. In exchange for Idaho Power agreeing to continue to invest in conservation programs (the cheapest form of electricity for all customers), the Commission agreed that Idaho Power should be able to receive back at least its fixed costs of serving customers.
12. Why was it necessary for the PUC and Idaho power to use “deliberate speed” to have these new meters installed? the commission directed Idaho Power to "move forward with all deliberate speed" with installation
13. Why do rates have to differ for different classes of people. Do I pay more than some one that has no job, that pays no taxes, that is illegal? Is this a form or wealth distribution where we charge more to those who can pay to afford to give to those who don’t’ can’t ot won’t? The percentage of decrease will vary because the adjustments don’t apply to all customer classes and vary in size according to customer class.
14. Why was it important to have these meters installed during a time when the state is experiencing financial difficulty and doesn’t it concern the company that this may not be a good time to hit us for this expense? The current meters appear to have worked fine, why the additional costs now? Idaho Power may include $2.36 million in base rates for the second year of a three-year installation of automated meters throughout its territory. expenditures are at $47.3 million.
15. How will these increased charges benefit the customers with the loss of control? So the benefit to the customer only comes with the reduction in power consumption, that ends up costing the taxpayer anyway due to the lack of power usage and allows them to Idaho power to recoup lost funds?
The Fixed Cost Adjustment allows Idaho Power to recover its fixed cost of serving customers when sales of electricity are reduced because of energy conservation and efficiency programs ? “will inevitably benefit customers and lower the pressure for increased rates,” Reducing demand on a utility’s generating system, particularly during times of peak-use, is less expensive per kilowatt-hour than building new power plants to meet demand. By enrolling in these programs, customers can benefit by using electricity more efficiently,Without recovery of at least their fixed costs, utilities would have little or no incentive to invest in conservation programs because when customers reduce consumption, the company loses revenue. Idaho Power is allowed to assess a one-year surcharge to recover those costs.
16. As we know with environmental entities, there purpose appears more to create more regulation and government control over citizens, how can the endorsement of an environmental entity benefit taxpayers? The Idaho Conservation League submitted comments supporting the FCA, By enrolling in conservation programs, customers can benefit by using electricity more efficiently,
17. So the PUc determines what to charge, that conveniently determines their own profit margine in addition to that of Idaho power? abide by our promise to regulated utilities that they recover prudently incurred costs of doing business, plus a rate of return, which is also set by the Commission, They are allowed to earn only up to a rate of return that is capped by the Commission, In exchange for their promise to serve every customer, the state ensures utilities recovery of all prudently incurred expenses plus a reasonable rate of return, also set by the state.
18. According to this document statement, paying our bill is not mandatory because it Is required by the state, regardless of cost because it is essential to life, or is it again the burden of the tax payers to pay for those who don’t work, don’t pay taxes including illegal immigrants? Utilities are required by state statute to provide reliable and adequate service to every customer in their assigned territory regardless of how many customers request service and regardless of cost. If costs go up, utilities cannot deny service or cut back on service because the service they provide is essential to life. can appeal to the state Supreme Court as can any customer or customer class.
19. Why are conservation programs the cheapest form of electricity? In exchange for Idaho Power agreeing to continue to invest in conservation programs (the cheapest form of electricity for all customers), the Commission agreed that Idaho Power should be able to receive back at least its fixed costs of serving customers.