Rocky Mountain Power Residential Rates and Guidelines

Historical Utah power rates from Rocky Mountain Power, associated solar facts, and what to expect from this utility company in the future.

The Benefits of Commercial solar in Utah and Reno, Nevada

Utah Power has a steady history of energy rate increases and decreases, although more price increases have occurred over the years. In this guide to Rocky Mountain Power costs, discover why coal power costs ebb and flow and what solar customers can expect.

Rocky Mountain Power and Fossil Fuels

As a locally managed, wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, PacifiCorp (aka Rocky Mountain Power and Pacific Power) has become a leading western U.S. energy services provider. The largest grid owner-operator in the West, PacifiCorp, serves 1.9 million customers across 141,000 square miles in six western states, including Utah. 

While Rocky Mountian Power has made efforts to reduce fossil fuels, Coal-fired power plants still comprised 66 percent of Utah's electricity generation in 2018, making it the 12th largest coal-producing state that year. 

Emissions of harmful waste come from burning coal such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide sulfuric acids, arsenic and ash. 

Learn more about the 2016 environmental degradation of coal burning in Utah. For a short history on the origins of fossil fuels visit, energy.gov.

Rocky Mountain Power Rates History graph 1992 to 2017

Rocky Mountain Power's Rising Rates

The rise in Rocky Mountain Power's rates comes as no surprise. A rising trend in energy costs is one of the reasons renewable energy production has developed significantly in Utah over the past two decades.

Rocky Mountain Power offers a tiered-rate system with different rate schedules for Summer and Winter. The more energy used, the more customers pay per kWh for electricity.

Each season has a low, mid and high tier for electricity rates, with rate increases for each threshold of energy use. However, homeowners with residential solar can achieve a greater degree of energy independence from these rate hikes by taking their homes solar.

What if someone told you that 15 years ago, you could have locked in the price you paid for gasoline? Would you have done it? Of course! Private solar power production is now providing the ability to lock in your energy costs for the next 25+ years (and likely longer - many residential solar arrays last 40+years)!

Residential solar pulls customers down from the high-tier or mid-tier and enables them to earn energy credits, which covers the cost of high energy bills in the darker winter months. Through Net Metering and the Rocky Mountain Power solar program rate structure solar can help customers save money.

To see how you can counter these rising costs, see our guide to solar incentives.

Rocky Mountain Power Solar Customer Charges Breakdown

Since most solar customers stay connected to the grid, they still get a monthly power bill from their utility, at least the amount of the utility company's connection fee, which is roughly $10.
However, if grid consumption exceeds production, utility fees can increase. When homeowners are charged for power consumption, the monthly bill divides into four parts. Knowledge of these charges and what fraction of the power bill they consume gives customers a greater understanding of the rates.

Customer Service Charge

The customer service charge covers billing and grid connection. These services include mailing bills, meter maintenance and meter reading.

Power Factor Charge

The relationship between the amount of real power and apparent power is known as the power factor charge. It measures the efficiency of homes power usage and charges more when it doesn't meet these expectations.
Real power is the capacity of the circuit to perform its intended work. Apparent power is the amount of current and voltage used by the power circuit itself.
If more power than the circuit can perform is used, you will get charged for the extra power. Fluorescent lights, motors, and induction furnaces tend to increase the rate of these charges. In Utah, if the power factor percentage goes below 90 percent, this charge will increase.

Power Charge

A power charge, or demand charge, bills customers for the highest amount of energy used in a billing cycle. Utah measures this in 15-minute intervals. Individuals with solar power can minimize costs by running appliances during the day or opting in for battery backup

Saving money on this charge may mean coming home on your lunch break and putting in a load of laundry or starting the dishwasher. Many appliances have delay timers, allowing machines to turn on mid-day on their own. Running fewer high-energy machines at once will also decrease the amount of this charge.

Energy Charge

The energy charge comes from the amount of electricity your home uses to pull off the grid. Solar customers don't need to worry about this charge. The solar array should offset regular night usage and typical weather for the area. Regardless of whether you have solar, conserving electricity will help save money. Upgrading old appliances with Energy Star -rated levels reduces energy use. Cutting back on the use of appliances also helps. Rocky Mountain Power has a rebate program called Wattsmart. This program has incentives for certain low-power rated appliances.

Expectations for the Future of Solar in Utah

As fossil fuels become increasingly scarce, the cost of energy production will increase. While rates go down some years, the long-term trend shows that utility rates increase over time. 

Even utilities that have started adding renewable energy to their energy production charge more. Most utility companies charge a premium on top of their regular rate if the customer wants renewable energy.  

Residential solar has become the only way to escape these ever-increasing rates. However, solar-powered homes with home batteries don't need to worry about Utah's future net metering changes. 

Ready to lock in your rates? Go Solar today!

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