Idaho Power Co. began shipping surplus power to Utah over the weekend and may soon sell electricity to Nevada.
The power transfer is made possible by a federal order last year requiring Utah Power & Light Co. to make its excess transmission line capacity available to other utilities.Boise-based Idaho Power has a contract to provide up to 65 megawatts of electricity to Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, a coalition of 29 municipal and public power systems known as UAMPS, Larry Crowley, Idaho Power's resource management manager.
The utility also has an agreement to sell as much as 15 megawatts to Washington, near St. George.
Crowley said Idaho Power expects to receive more than $6 million in revenues during the first year from UAMPS and about $600,000 from Washington.
Meanwhile, Idaho Power is waiting the outcome of a request by Sierra Pacific Power Co. to utility regulators in Nevada for permission to buy 75 megawatts, Crowley said.
If the Nevada Public Service Commission approves the sale, Idaho Power will ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to move electricity to the Reno-based utility for an annual revenue of almost $13 million.
The three contracts will provide Idaho Power a market for about 77 percent of its current 200-megawatt surplus, spokesman Larry Taylor said.
However, that surplus is expected to grow later this year when the Oregon Trail Electrical Consumers Cooperative in eastern Oregon ends its contract to buy 60 megawatts of Idaho Power electricity.
"We view these contracts as good for Idaho Power because they provide us firm sales during the period we're going to have a surplus," Taylor said.
Idaho Power signed contracts with UAMPS and Washington two years ago. Both were looking for power considerably cheaper than UP&L's prices, Idaho Power Executive Vice President Joe Marshall has said.
However, Idaho Power electricity was unable to reach Utah because UP&L was unwilling to let its transmission lines be used by outside producers.
That barrier came down last year when the FERC approved the merger of UP&L with Pacific Power & Light Co.