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Electric Power Rate Hike Request Raises Hackles at AARP

May 31, 2011

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Utility company Rocky Mountain Power is looking to raise electricity rates to the tune of about $80 million, which would boost residential customer bills by 12 dollars a month. While the hike request has been scaled back from an initial $98 million, Tim Summers, AARP Wyoming director, says it's still potentially the largest utility rate hike in state history, and it comes less than a year after Rocky Mountain Power filed a $71 million rate hike request.

"Several electricity consumer groups jumped in, including AARP; we fought back and we were able to cut the rate hike in half. Well, fast-forward a few months; here we are again."

Summers says households and small businesses would be charged the most in this rate hike, and with a poor economy and static incomes, the timing is wrong.

"One of our biggest concerns is this just keeps coming year after year. We need to keep in mind that a great deal of Wyoming's population, especially in this service territory, is over the age of 65."

Rocky Mountain Power says the rate hike is needed to keep up with rising energy costs, and Summers says while utility companies are entitled to generate profits, he says this request goes too far.

The Wyoming Public Service Commission is holding a hearing on the request this Thursday in Casper.

The hearing is June 2, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Casper City Hall. Comments can be made at ht.ly/569Yt

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY