Idaho Power Agrees to Keep Revised A/C Cool Credit Program 

The revised A/C Cool Credit will be available on weekdays from June 15 to August 15. Participating customers would receive a $15 bill credit over three billing periods, as opposed to the $7 month per credit for the three-month season in previous years.

In 2003, Idaho Power introduced its "A/C Cool Credit" program, crediting customers $7 each month from June through August to allow Idaho Power to remotely cycle air conditioners on-and-off during peak use hours. Approximately 37,000 customers participated in the energy-saving program, allowing Idaho Power to install direct-load control devices on their air conditioning units.

But earlier this year, Idaho Power said it wanted to pull the plug on A/C Cool Credit, claiming it was losing money due to what it called "reduced demand on Idaho Power's generation system." Idaho Power claimed it spent about $5.5 million in 2012, with much of the expense in direct payments to customers who volunteered to participate in the program.

But the Idaho Public Utilities Commission said that, instead of suspending the program, a negotiated settlement would be created where customers would be paid $1 per month for the summer of 2013 even though air conditioner cycling didn't occur.

And on Oct. 11, parties agreed to a revised program, saying that the value to both Idaho Power and its customers combined would about $16.7 million annually.

The new plan will work as follows: The A/C Cool Credit will be available on weekdays from June 15 to August 15. Participating customers would receive a $15 bill credit over three billing periods, as opposed to the $7 per month credit for the three-month season in previous years. Idaho Power will not actively market the program, but will recruit customers who move into a home where a load-control device has already been installed. The company will accept new participants upon request.

Parties who signed the new agreement included the PUC, Idaho Power, the Idaho Conservation League and the Snake River Alliance.

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