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Idaho Power agrees to reduce hydro relicensing costs to $216.5M

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Idaho Power agrees to reduce hydro relicensing costs to $216.5M

Idaho Power Co. is asking Idaho regulators to approve a settlement stipulation calls for including $216.5 million in expenditures tied to the relicensing of its Hells Canyon hydroelectric complex to its customer rates at a later date.

The IDACORP Inc. utility reached the settlement with the state Idaho Public Utilities Commission staff and a third-party intervenor, according a Form 8-K filed Dec. 8. The amount is less than the $220.8 million in expenditures that Idaho Power originally sought to include in its future retail rates.

The Hells Canyon complex of three hydroelectric projects — Brownlee, Oxbow and Hells Canyon, spread out along 38 miles of the Snake River — has 1,167 MW of total generating capacity, which is 34% of Idaho Power's total capacity, according to a PUC staff memorandum. FERC issued the original license, which lasts for 50 years, for the three dams in 1955 and the last dam went online in the late 1960s.

The settlement stipulation is subject to review and approval by the commission. (Idaho PUC Case No. IPC-E-16-32)

In connection with the settlement, Idaho Power expects to record a fourth-quarter 2017 pretax expense of $4.3 million related to expenditures incurred through 2015. However, IDACORP continues to target 2017 EPS in the range of $4.05 to $4.15.