Idaho Power Co. has asked the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to declare its energy efficiency spending prudent so consumers, not stockholders pay for it.
If the commission approves the $42.64 million in expenses, the rates won’t immediately rise. Instead it will count toward the 4 percent Energy Efficiency Rider currently on customer bills.
Seventeen of 20 conservation programs offer customers incentives to use their energy more efficiently. The other three reduce demand on Idaho Power’s grid by shifting energy use to off-peak times of the day.
Idaho Power must show that savings from the programs are greater than the costs. Its energy efficiency programs also must save all customers money, not just participants and it must reduce the need for Idaho Power to build or buy more costly power.
But Idaho Power doesn’t make any money on the deal. It doesn’t have a profit center in saving its consumers money.
During 2011, Idaho Power achieved 179,424 megawatt-hours of energy savings, or enough energy to service more than 12,900 average homes for a year. It came from financial incentives for customers who invest in efficient lighting, in Energy Star products and heating and cooling efficiencies.
The three demand reduction programs, including air conditioner cycling and irrigation load control, provided a total demand reduction of 403 megawatts, a 20 percent increase over 2010 levels, PUC staff said.