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Rocky Mountain Power customers’ bills will go up in January – albeit less than originally thought 

Transmission lines against a partly cloudy sky.
Michael Kappel
Flickr Creative Commons

It’s official – those who get their electricity from Rocky Mountain Power will see an increase starting in January. While it's not as high as initially thought, the final numbers still have to be calculated.

It was a long day of dense deliberation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, for the Wyoming Public Service Commission (WPSC) – they are in charge of regulating public utilities in the state. Before them was Rocky Mountain Power’s request to charge its customers 21.6 percent more each month.

The commission ultimately decided on a smaller increase. Commission Chair Mary Throne said the specifics will be calculated in the coming weeks.

“I want to stress for the public who may be listening that we are done with our proceedings,” she said. “But we don’t have a number until all of the numbers we have discussed today are run through the model and calculated.”

According to original reporting from Wyofile’s Dustin Bleizeffer, inside sources say it’ll likely be about half of the 21 percent request. That calculation will create a new increase that will kick in for customers in January 2024.

Over the last half a year since the request was filed, Rocky Mountain Power argued that utility rates in the state are low and the cost of providing power is high and volatile. The company filed a separate, smaller temporary 12-month increase of about eight percent that customers saw on their bills starting in July – this request is still pending final approval from the WPSC and is still subject to change.

Over the several public hearings held over the summer, many customers have said the increases will financially break them.

Toni Bate of Rock Springs said at a summer Rock Springs meeting that if the full increases were implemented this could amount to almost $90 extra per month.

“I have hardly any money. I don't know where I'm gonna get the money to pay this,” Bate said. “I just can’t do this.”

The large number of state officials, advocacy groups, industry and residents that have spoken out have unanimously opposed the increases. All three commissioners acknowledged that the public outcry weighed heavily in their decision making. But, Throne acknowledged to some extent their hands are tied.

“Some elected officials suggested that we just deny the application or negotiate a better deal for the ratepayers,” she said.

But, the commission is bound by certain rules, mainly that if the request has valid reasons, they can’t deny it.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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