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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Rocky Mountain Power wants customers to pay more for electricity.
The utility said Monday it filed a rate increase that would raise average residential bills by $4.50 a month, starting in August, if approved by the Utah Public Service Commission.
"An increase in prices is essential to maintain and expand our systems for existing customers, provide for new customers and secure new generation and transmission resources for the future," said Richard Walje, Rocky Mountain Power president.
The $161 million increase is needed to pay for the rising cost of generating and purchasing electricity as well as capital projects, the utility said.
Rocky Mountain Power said it is adding 22,000 new Utah customers a year and now has 758,000. A year ago, a $115 million rate increase kicked in.
Customers pay 7.53 cents per kilowatt hour during winter months, and 7.53 cents to 10.07 cents per kilowatt hour in summer when electricity is at peak demand to run air conditioners.
"Our electricity prices remain a significant value when compared to other goods and services. Even with this increase, our prices will be among the lowest nationwide," Walje said.
He said Rocky Mountain Power cannot get lower-cost debt needed for capital projects without higher revenue. "Lower costs of financing in a vigorous construction phase mean lower prices for customers over the long term," Walje said in a statement.
Rocky Mountain Power, formerly known as Utah Power, is owned by PacifiCorp, based in Portland, Ore.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)