Lake Tahoe, CA. December 12, 2016. In 2015 and 2016, Liberty submitted a series of interconnected rate adjustment requests, for both increases and decreases, that will have an impact on rates beginning in 2017.
Effective January 1, 2017, the net effect of these requests will be that average residential and small commercial customers (A1) will see an increase of less than 1%, while average medium and large commercial customers (A2 and A3) will see increases of approximately 16% and 17%, respectively.
The rate adjustment includes increases based on capital improvements, including two major projects:
Luning Solar Project. This 50 MW solar installation located in Mineral County, Nevada is the first-ever solar facility owned by Liberty Utilities. Once it is put into service in first quarter of 2017, it will supply about 25% of Liberty customers’ energy needs. Luning will provide clean, emissions-free solar power at competitive rates to customers for many years. Power generated from this new solar facility will replace energy currently purchased from other sources. In addition, in the years following 2017 the capital costs associated with this project will decrease due to depreciation and customers will correspondingly pay a declining amount. This solar plant will also contribute significantly and cost-effectively toward Liberty meeting California’s mandated Renewables Portfolio Standard in 2017 and beyond.
650 Electric Line Upgrade Project. Phase 1 of this project was completed in the fall of 2016, and consisted primarily of upgrading and replacing an aging power line between Truckee and Kings Beach to improve reliability. Old wooden poles were replaced with those constructed of a steel material that weathers with time to resemble wood, as well as replacing wire to eventually operate at a higher voltage.
It should be noted that other significant system improvements were made, including projects in Alpine and Mono counties, as well as the Portola area.
Vegetation Management. Liberty’s annual investment of $2.5 million in vegetation management also contributed to the overall rate increase. Projects include trimming trees and branches around structures to reduce outage and fire-related risks. These efforts have proven to be significantly effective, especially given the multi-year California drought and resultant dead and diseased trees in the Sierra Nevada.
The rate adjustment also includes decreases due to savings in fuel and energy costs.
November Rate Notice. The CPUC requires utilities to notify their customers of any pending rate increase 30 days prior to implementation. Liberty Utilities sent a notice to all customers in late November to inform them about a PTAM increase effective January 1, 2017. After the notice was sent, the CPUC approved decisions in two other Liberty Utilities proceedings, both of which reduced rates resulting in the net impact detailed above.
What Makes up Rates? As a regulated utility, any expenses incurred to provide power to customers must be reviewed and approved by the CPUC, often involving extensive public review. Of the total rate customers pay for their Liberty Utilities0 service, 90 percent is a direct pass-through of our costs, with 50 percent of that covering fuel and energy costs alone.
What Can Customers do to Reduce Utility Bills? The best way to reduce your utility bill is to be energy smart. Liberty Utilities offers free advice and programs to help customers manage their electricity costs, including offering a free energy audit by our energy expert. Customers may also be income-eligible for programs that help pay for utility expenses and make energy efficient improvements. Please visit www.libertyutilities.com and click on the “Smart Energy Use” link at the top of the screen or call one of our local Customer Care Representatives at 1-800-782-2506.
About Liberty Utilities
Liberty Utilities is a regulated water, natural gas and electric transmission and distribution utility, delivering responsive and reliable essential services to nearly half a million customers across the United States. With a local approach to management, service and support, Liberty Utilities delivers efficient, dependable services to meet customer needs. Liberty Utilities provides a superior customer experience through locally focused conservation and energy efficiency initiatives, and programs for businesses and residential customers. Performance is measured in terms of service reliability, an enjoyable customer experience, and an unconditional dedication to public and workplace safety. Liberty Utilities currently operates in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Texas. In California, Liberty Utilities serves nearly 50,000 customers on the California side of Lake Tahoe and adjacent areas to the south and north including the cities of Markleeville, Woodfords, Topaz, Coleville, Walker, parts of Truckee & Verdi, Portola & Loyalton. For more information, visit www.LibertyUtilities.com.