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No electricity rate increase for now, says Lehi electricity officials to Council



Matt Hemmert | Lehi Free Press

Joel Eves, Lehi City Power Director, met with the City Council last week in response to Rocky Mountain Power’s recent announcement of a proposed 35% consumer rate increase over two years. Eves explained the implications to Lehi residents and made a recommendation to the City Council regarding rate increases for the remainder of 2024. 

“Starting June 1, 2024, so last month, (Lehi City saw) a 45% rate increase to our transmission rates (from Rocky Mountain Power),” Eves explained. “They’re not requesting, they’ve already implemented that 45% rate increase. It’s not a 45% rate increase to our residents. In fact, it ends up being about a 2.8% increase for our budget this next year. It’s just a little over $1 million that was unexpected (the City has) to pay over this next year.” 

Eves further explained the reasons for Rocky Mountain Power’s rate increase. Rocky Mountain Power is owned by PacifiCorp, which was found “grossly negligent” and liable for over $5 billion in damages for wildfires during the summer of 2020. While there is no legal prohibition for a power supplier to pass financial liability for negligence to its customers, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) is now seeking federal legislation and exploring other options to prohibit such. UAMPS is a cooperative of 50 member communities in the intermountain region which provides comprehensive wholesale electric energy services. For transmission of electricity in Utah, UAMPS members use PacifiCorps’ existing infrastructure. The 45% rate increase Eves mentioned is for the use of that existing infrastructure, and does not apply to electricity purchased through UAMPS. 

Ultimately, Lehi City Power’s recommendation to the City Council was to keep rates as-is for the time being. “The recommendation we’d like to make is that we don’t change anything right now. I think we stay the course. Right now, we leave the 1.7% power purchase adjustment clause in place and reevaluate in January of 2025,” Eves said. 

Lehi City was the first city in Utah to provide its own power for both municipal and resident use. Lehi’s decision to own a power plant has helped insulate residents from large rate adjustments from regional power providers.

“With everything happening with Rocky Mountain Power, I want our residents to know that there’s no need to panic right now. Our rates are stable. We’ve taken measures to try to stabilize everything we can. The most exciting piece I can share with you, is for fiscal year 2025, nearly three-quarters of our [electrical] costs are fixed and that leaves about 25% available to [purchase from] markets,” said Mayor Mark Johnson, when reached for comment.