Power users in Utah Power & Light Co.'s Salt Lake service area pay average rates for their utility bills, according to a national survey.

UP&L's Salt Lake service area was in 92nd place in the middle of the pack, with an 8 cent per kilowatt hour average, just barely less than the national average of 8.3 cents. That's according to a just released survey by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners involving 187 cities served by investor-owned private utilities.Lewiston, Idaho, residents have the lowest winter power bill in the United States. The survey notes that Lewiston residents, who are served by Washington Water Power Co., paid just 4.2 cents per kilowatt hour during January, February and December of 1990. In second place was Spokane, Wash., also served by Washington Power Water Co., at 4.3 cents.

The only Utah Power & Light Co. area in the top 25 was Rexburg, Idaho. At 5.7 cents, Rexburg ranked 18th on the list. UP&L's sister company, Pacific Power & Light Co., placed four service areas in the top 25 including Yakima, Wash., at third; Portland, Ore., at 13th, Kalispell, Mont., at 19th; and Casper, Wyo., at 22nd.

Not surprisingly, the hydropower rich Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) was the overall cheapest among the 10 regions surveyed with an average cost of 5.3 cents per kilowatt hour. The Rocky Mountain region, which includes Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and North and South Dakota, ranked second with a 7.1 cent average. Seven of the 10 cheapest areas were in the Northwest.

The most expensive area in the United States was Long Beach, N.Y., at 14.3 cents per kilowatt hour. New York and Hawaii place three service areas each in the 10 most expensive areas, followed by two each from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. At an average of 11.2 cents per kilowatt hour, the Northeast region (New York and New Jersey) was the most expensive.

The 8.3 cents national average was up slightly over 1989 when the average was 8.07 cents. The survey noted that there is a large disparity in rates nationwide. Of the cities surveyed, 17 had rates in excess of 11 cents while 21 areas pay less than 6 cents per kilowatt hour. The survey also notes that the higher rates paid in the Northeast and New England areas are due in large part to the use of more expensive fossil fuels (oil and coal) to generate electricity.

Nebraska was excluded from the survey because it does not regulate electric rates.



Power bills

Avg. monthly

bill (500 KWH) Cents/KWH

Least expensive:

Lewiston, Idaho $20.91 4.2

Spokane, Wash. 21.63 4.3

Yakima, Wash. 21.73 4.3

Boise 23.51 4.7

Ontario, Ore. 23.51 4.7 Most expensive:

Most expensive:

Long Beach, N.Y. 74.26 14.3

Nantucket, Mass. 75.95 14.2

Kauai, Hawaii 72.04 14.1

Philadelphia 67.72 13.5

New York City 66.93 13.4

National average 43.70 8.7

Salt Lake City 40.19 8.0