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Idaho Power wants to change irrigation incentive program

Idaho Power Co. wants the state Public Utilities Commission to change a load-control program for irrigators who volunteer to participate.

The company, which sees demand peak in the summer, turns off irrigation pumps during high-demand periods of the day between June 15 and Aug. 15. Participating irrigators get a monthly credit on their bills.

Idaho Power now shuts off irrigation pumps from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the period and credits participating irrigators based on a fixed rate. The company wants to extend the shutoff period to 9 p.m., and credit irrigators based on a rate that would be 40 percent fixed and 60 percent variable.

Summer peaks in demand often last until 9 p.m., said Scott Sparks, senior regulatory affairs analyst with Idaho Power. Running the company’s Irrigation Peak Rewards program for this additional high-demand hour will help the company reduce demand on the system, he said.

Changing the payment from fixed to a combination of fixed and variable components will better align the payments Idaho Power makes with the benefits the company and its customers receive, he said.

“It better aligns our incentive payments with the benefits the company receives through the reduction in demand,” Sparks said.

Irrigation accounted for 23 percent of total demand as of the 2009 long-range plan that Idaho Power filed with the PUC, company spokeswoman Stephanie McCurdy said. The company is working to update the plan.

Participants in Irrigation Peak Rewards would receive the 40 percent fixed portion of the credit whether or not Idaho Power turns off their pumps, she said. They would receive all or part of the 60 percent variable portion based on whether and for how long the company were to turn off a particpant’s pumps for the maximum allowed 60 hours during the irrigation season.

Customers would not be required to participate during the proposed additional hour but will receive a higher variable payment if they do, McCurdy said.

The commission is taking comments through Feb. 9.

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  1. Thansk for posting this. I found it pretty helpful. I will be checking back soon for updates.