Utah Power Gets OK for Rate Hikes

Utah Power Gets OK for Rate Hikes

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah Power has received approval to increase rates an average of 7.7 percent.

The Utah Public Service Commission on Friday allowed the company to raise rates for residential, commercial and industrial users.

The typical residential user, one using about 700 kilowatt-hours per month, will see a 6 percent increase, which is less than $3 a month.

Irrigators will see their bills increase by 7.4 percent a month, while small commercial users can expect a 3.7 percent increase.

The rates take effect April 1.

The company originally sought to increase rates an overall $125 million annually in Utah, but an agreement among the parties in the case, including consumer advocates, set the overall figure at $65 million. The commission also officially approved that Friday.

In an effort to encourage energy efficiency, the agreement on how the rate increase will be spread among customers features higher rates for high-demand summer months.

Residential customers using large or multiple air conditioning units will see an increase higher than the 7.7 percent average increase. Customers using less-costly cooling technologies will see an increase of approximately 6 percent, the commission said.

Commercial rates also will be higher in summer.

Utah Power has about 673,000 Utah customers.

The utility has said the rate increase is needed to help pay for infrastructure investments to meet growth along the Wasatch Front.

The company has expanded the Gadsby generation plant and leased power from a new West Valley City facility as a way to help meet power demand during the high-usage summer months.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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