More mountain snow means lower power bills, eventually

More mountain snow means lower power bills, eventually

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by Andrea Lutz

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KTVB.COM

Posted on February 9, 2014 at 11:29 PM

Updated Sunday, Feb 9 at 11:43 PM

BOISE – The more snow there is in the Idaho mountains, the lower your electric bill could be long-term.

Lynette Berriochoa, a spokesperson for Idaho Power, said Idaho Power generates a little more than half of their energy through 17 hydro-electric dams located on the Snake River.

By using hydro, Idaho Power can use less energy from other resources like coal, natural gas or wind, which are more expensive.

But, there is a need to maintain adequate water storage in the reservoirs. That's where the snow comes in.

Snow in the mountains translates to future water in area reservoirs.

“So to see this storm come through and then build precipitation in the forecast has just been wonderful," said Berriochoa. "We are very excited about it."

However as a customer, you might be asking 'does this mean my power bill will go down?'

Berriochoa says the long-term answer is 'yes,' but because of regulatory lag, it could take some time to see lower rates. The Public Utilities Commission decides the rate every spring and that rate is determined by the current economic conditions and how they impact market prices for electricity.

“So we like to produce as much hydro power as we can," said Berriochoa. "That is our least cost resource which in the end really benefits customer.”

Simply put, the less it costs to produce power, the better it is for customer in the long run.

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