PRECorp granted permission for COPA changes
February 17, 2022
The Wyoming Public Service Commission (PSC) has granted permission for Powder River Energy (PRECorp) to increase its Cost of Power Adjustment (COPA) by $1,386,882 per annum to reflect a change in wholesale power costs. The effect of this will be a modest increase to residential monthly bills.
In a second filing, the cooperative has also been given permission to increase the discount offered to members who have permanent electric resistance heat or electric heat pump space heating systems.
COPA is the mechanism by which the cooperative makes sure it is only ever recovering from members the cost of the power that is actually purchased from its wholesale supplier, Basin Electric. COPA is calculated using projected sales and power costs.
Every year, PRECorp estimates how much power will need to be purchased to cover members’ usage. The cooperative looks back over the last 12 months at the end of each year and compares how much revenue was collected to cover the purchase of wholesale power to the actual cost of that power.
The difference is usually small, but the estimates can be impacted by such things as a colder or hotter season than expected, leading members to use an unexpected amount of power. COPA is looked at annually, but doesn’t always require a change.
If it does, PRECorp files a request with the Public Service Commission to become effective in January. This year’s request, according to the ruling from the PSC, will see a monthly increase for residential members who use an average of 1182 kWh per month will see a typical residential account using approximately 1000 kWh per month increase by around $2.36.
“The commission previously authorized PRECorp to establish a CBA mechanism to account for the difference between commodity or commodity-related revenues collected, based on projected wholesale costs and actual, prudent commodity or commodity-related costs,” stated the PSC in its decision.
On February 8, based on PRECorp’s application and recommendations from PSC staff, the commission concluded that the request conformed to its requirements and approved it becoming effective for usage on and after January 1.
A calculator is available for customers to calculate the impact COPA will have on their bill on the PRECorp website.
On February 7, the PSC approved a second request from PRECorp related to its heat rate discount. Members who are equipped for this will now see a larger discount on their bill.
“The Heat Rate Tariff provides an option to members who have permanent electric resistance heat and/or electric heat pump space heating systems to receive a credit (reduction) against their heating charges,” states the PSC in its ruling.
“The Heat Rate Tariff requires separate metering of the heating system, applies only to the heating usage and is not available to seasonal customers.”
The heat rate is applied for electric resistant heat usage from October to April and was previously set at $.03875 per kWh. The new heat credit, effective since January 1, would be $.03975 per kWh.
Between October 2020 and April 2021, a total of 363 members on 389 meters were served under this tariff.
The heat credit is designed to equal PRECorp’s total avoided wholesale cost per kWh, based on the published electric heat rate from Basin Electric. Basin proposed a change to its base rates for 2022 and PRECorp revised its own heat credit accordingly.
The proposed change will result in a revenue reduction of $9506 for PRECorp, according to the PSC ruling.