Idaho Power hits new peak

The heat wave, rising economy and suspended demand-reduction programs increase electricity use. .

rbarker@idahostatesman.comJuly 2, 2013 

The utility that serves more than 500,000 customers across southern Idaho and eastern Oregon reached a new megawatts mark Monday afternoon, and that number was expected to be exceeded in the evening.

"I can't tell you what the final number will be," said Bill Shawver, a spokesman for the company Monday afternoon.

Idaho Power Co. reached its previous record peak of 3,245 megawatts on July 13, 2012.

Monday's high usage came a week earlier in the year than last year's peak, in part because Idaho Power suspended two programs designed to reduce power use during high-demand periods.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission allowed Idaho Power to suspend its A/C Cool Credit and Irrigation Peak Rewards programs for one year. The utility said that because of the economic downturn it has enough peak power in the summer to meet its needs through 2016. The two programs, created in 2003 and 2004, reduced demand by 65 megawatts last summer.

A continuing industrial-demand control program reduced Idaho Power's peak use by 300 megawatts in 2012.

Idaho Power added its 300-megawatt Langley Gulch natural gas plant near New Plymouth just in time for last year's peak summer period.

The utility said Friday in its new Integrated Resource Plan that it can meet its demand for the next 20 years by building a 500-kilovolt transmission line from Boardman, Ore., to the Hemingway station near Melba and by using the three programs to manage demand.

It also would keep its existing hydro, coal and natural gas plants under the plan.

Rocky Barker: 377-6484

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