Boise, ID, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- September 19, 2008 - The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has requested comments on a request by Idaho Power Co. to install advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) through its southern Idaho service territory over the next three years.

Idaho Power filed an application on August 8 to implement AMI technology throughout its service territory commencing in January 2009. A phased implementation is proposed, beginning with the Ontario to Boise region in 2009, then moving to the Canyon and Payette county areas in 2010 and further east to the Magic Valley and eastern Idaho in 2011.

The cost of the implementation is estimated at $70.1 million, but Idaho Power does not propose to increase rates at this time. The capital costs of the project will be included in base rates as the meters are placed in service. The company is also seeking accelerated depreciation on its existing metering infrastructure replaced by AMI over the three-year deployment, and to include the operation and maintenance benefits in the accounting methodology.

After the Western energy crisis of 2000-01, the commission said advanced metering technology, such as net metering and time-of-day metering, was becoming more necessary. At that time, the commission ordered Idaho Power to evaluate and report on advanced metering technology. Subsequently Idaho Power was ordered to complete installation of advanced metering by 2004, but financial and technical problems made it impossible for the company to meet that time frame.

The commission eventually adopted a phased-in implementation and evaluation approach, with advanced meters installed in test areas such as Emmett. In an earlier order the commission stated … “the potential benefits of advanced metering to ratepayers and the company are too great to delay … implementation indefinitely.”

Following a review of the application the commission decided that the case should be handled through written public comments rather than by public hearing, although a public hearing may be requested.