Every three years Liberty Utilities is required to file a General Rate Case (GRC) with the CPUC. The design of the actual rates themselves (prices charged to customer classes) and the cost of fuel and purchased power and other energy-related costs (known as ECAC—Energy Cost Adjustment Clause) will be determined in Phase II of this application, expected to be filed in early June.
At this time, the overall revenue requirement would increase 17.34% over that which is presently collected in rates. The increase is necessary to continue Liberty’s focus on delivering safe and reliable electric service to its customers. Components of the increase include vegetation management (trimming trees and branches from infrastructure that may cause outages), compliance with California’s requirements related to drought-related fire prevention along utility power lines, additional funding for the existing energy efficiency programs/incentives and funding to implement a new solar incentive program, as well as maintenance and upgrades to the existing electrical system.
The last time Liberty filed a GRC was in 2013 which resulted in an overall 4.97% increase in rates effective January 1, 2013. If Liberty is granted this request for an overall 17.34% increase effective January 1, 2016, its projected new residential rate of 16.73 cents per kwh (compared to the current 14.26 cents per kwh) is still equal or less than residential rates for neighboring electric utilities.
“While no one likes to see an increase in any of their bills, our customers have told us repeatedly over the years that reliability is paramount,” stated Michael Smart, President of Liberty Utilities-California. “Since acquiring the former Sierra Pacific Power California service territory in January 2011, we’ve made much needed improvements to our facilities and performed necessary maintenance on aging infrastructure that allows Liberty to provide better service in the long term. This GRC reflects the costs associated with those improvements.”
The utility’s most recent annual customer satisfaction survey showed customers are seeing the results of the utility’s focus on improvements and maintenance. The October 2014 survey reported that 83 percent of Liberty Utilities’ customers are “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the utility’s overall customer service.
The GRC legal notice and full application can be found at www.libertyutilities.com/west
Liberty Utilities is your local electric company serving approximately 49,000 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. Visit www.libertyutilities.com/west