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Your Electric Bills May Be Going Up — Again.

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Rocky Mountain Power has announced it’s seeking a 12.3% rate hike this year with the Wyoming Public Service Commission.  The hike would come on the heels of last year’s request of a nearly 30% hike.  That request was whittled down to 8.3% and provided RMP with nearly $54 million in revenue.

This latest rate hike request would result in the average Wyoming residential customer bill going up roughly $12 per month.

RMP says it needs this latest hike to make up for coal and fuel chain disruptions.

The rate increase is based on a complicated formula involving what the company pays for fuel to burn in power plants, and what they are permitted by regulators to charge customers, according to Cowboy State Daily.  Prices fluctuate on an annual basis, which is why utility bills can rise or fall.

Joelle Steward, RMP’s senior vice president for regulation and customer and community solutions, said in a statement that coal inventories here in the U.S. are low in part because of the war in Ukraine.  U.S. mines, including those in Utah and Colorado, took advantage of high coal prices by exporting coal to Europe.  That forced RMP to shift more of its power output to natural gas.

The company said that a major Wyoming coal supplier and all of its PacifiCorp mines in Utah declared an emergency contract declaration resulting in significant delivery shortfalls.  Peabody Energy’s North Antelope Rochelle mine in northeast Wyoming was hit by a tornado in June of last year that caused it to be temporarily shut down.

The Wyoming Public Service Commission will do its own numbers-crunching before it can determine what is a fair increase. Among the factors that it will consider is the end of a tax benefit from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 that lowered electric bills for the past three years.  The benefit goes away beginning July 1st.

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