The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC), in an Oct. 14 order, authorized the use of a modified procedure and established deadlines for the filing of written comments relating to Idaho Power’s application pertaining to the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) that was formed in November 2014 by the California ISO (Cal-ISO) and PacifiCorp.
As noted in the order, Idaho Power in August filed an application requesting that the PUC make a finding that company participation in the proposed EIM could net customers long-term benefits; authorize a deferral account to track incremental costs associated with participating in the EIM; and allow the company to recover those costs from customers at a future rate proceeding. The company said that it intends to begin participating in the western EIM in April 2018.
According to the company, the PUC added, participation in the EIM could result in net power supply expense savings of $4.1m to $5.1m per year.
The PUC noted that it issued in September a notice of application and set a deadline of Oct. 4 for interested parties to petition for intervention. Three parties filed timely petitions, including the Industrial Customers of Idaho Power, and were granted interventions. Staff conferred with the parties, who agreed to the use of a modified procedure, with a comment deadline of Dec. 15, and a reply deadline of Jan. 5, 2017.
An EIM pools generation of interconnected electricity producers within a region and dispatches those resources with the goal of more accurately matching production with demand, the PUC noted, adding that the EIM operates on a nearly real-time basis with multiple participants, as opposed to more conventional long-term two-party contracts that deliver energy in hourly blocks.
The western EIM, which is a five-minute market administered by the Cal-ISO, utilizes an automatic model to identify the least-cost energy resources to serve real-time customer demand. EIM participants bid resources into the market, and the operator dispatches those resources based on marginal price for energy imbalances factoring in load and available generation.
The PUC noted that it has determined that the public interest may not require a formal hearing in the matter and will proceed under “Modified Procedure pursuant to Rules 201 through 204 of the” PUC’s rules of procedure. The PUC said that modified procedure and written comments have proven to be an effective means for obtaining public input and participation.
Any person desiring to state a position on the application may file a written comment in support or opposition with the PUC by Dec. 15, the PUC said, adding that the company may file reply comments, if necessary, by Jan. 5, 2017.
If no written comments or protests are received within the time limit set, then the PUC will consider the matter on its merits and enter its order without a formal hearing, the PUC said.