By K Kaufmann
The Desert Sun
Imperial Irrigation District ratepayers in the Coachella Valley could see a bump in their electric bills in the coming months due to a double whammy of rising fuel costs and power demand.
The IID Board of Directors voted last month to increase a fee called the Energy Cost Adjustment that is included on all bills to cover variations in districts’ costs for buying energy. The current fee is $3.24 per kilowatt-hour of power used.
Base rates will not increase, IID officials said, but this month, ratepayers will see that energy fee rise to $3.70 per kilowatt-hour and, then in March, to $4.15 per kilowatthour.
Figures from the district show that for ratepayers using average amounts of energy, the fee increases will add a total of about $112 to their bills by year’s end. Estimated monthly increases will run from $3 in February, when energy use is low, to $17.17 during the peak of summer usage in August.
District officials said the jump in the fee is due to higher costs for fuel, purchased power and transmission.
A staff report to the board estimated that costs for power purchases, natural gas and transmission would hit an annual total of $172,578,000, a figure up 5 percent from energy costs recovered by the fee in 2013, IID officials said.
At the ISO, spokesman Steven Greenlee said the agency is keeping a close watch on power supplies, but is not expecting another conservation alert in the next few days.
“The weekend is in our favor because we have lower loads,” he said. “There is a cold snap in the Pacific Northwest that is drawing gas supplies. Temperatures are cooler regionally; electricity demand is up a little bit, but we’re looking OK.”
K Kaufmann can be reached at (760) 778-4622 or firstname.lastname@example.org