The state's largest electric utility informed the Utah Public Service Commission this week that it will reduce its current general rate increase request from approximately $100 million down to $75.45 million.

If approved, the revised hike would cost the typical residential customer about $1.65 more per month.

The spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power, David Eskelsen, said the reduction is a result of accounting adjustments the company has made to its application that lowered its revenue requirement.

In its initial request last December, the utility had asked for a $161 million rate increase, but scaled back that request to $100 million in March following a ruling from the commission that ordered Rocky Mountain Power to resubmit its rate-increase application using new parameters that included a forecast "test" year of 2008. Eskelsen said those parameters are part of the reason the company plans to make its second rate request, to be filed with the PSC later this year.

"We know for certain that there are going to be significant investments to serve customers' demand that are going to be continuing beyond the end of calendar year 2008," said Eskelsen. "If our test periods don't look very far into the future, we're probably going to have to file fairly regular rate increases to make sure that rates really cover the cost of providing service."

In April, Rocky Mountain Power told the commission it planned to file a second request for a general rate increase, possibly this month, though the amount of the request has yet to be determined.

Each rate case must be resolved by the commission within 240 days, said PSC spokeswoman Julie Orchard. The deadline for the first rate case is Aug. 13, while the deadline for the second case, if filed in June, would be February 2009.

If approved, the initial rate hike would be the third for Rocky Mountain Power in as many years.


E-mail: jlee@desnews.com