The commissioners of a public utility district in central Washington State have unanimously approved a rate hike for cryptocurrency miners. The utility serves over 46,000 customers throughout the county. The cost increase starts at 15 percent beginning next year, 35 percent the following year, and 50 percent thereafter.
Rate Hike for Crypto Miners Approved
The commissioners of the Grant County public utility district (PUD) in Washington State, on August 28, “unanimously approved the new Rate 17 for evolving industries,” according to the utility. Grant PUD serves over 46,000 customers throughout the county, its website states. PUDs are nonprofit, community-owned, governed utilities that provide electricity, water, wholesale telecommunications and sewer services.
The decision to raise the energy rates on crypto miners was made after “nearly a year of analysis, staff outreach to the county’s cryptocurrency firms and public comment on the new rate at every commission meeting since the rate’s initial proposal in early May,” the utility explained, elaborating:
Starting April 1, cryptocurrency miners and other ‘evolving-industry’ firms will pay the first of a three-year, graduated increase to a new, above-cost electric rate designed to protect Grant PUD from risk and preserve below-cost rates for core customers.
Mining Viewed as High-Risk
An industry falls under the Evolving Industry Class based on its risk, Grant PUD noted.
“At this time, all Grant PUD customers in the evolving-industry profile are miners of cryptocurrency, including bitcoin, each with very high energy demand,” the utility revealed. “Since summer 2017, Grant PUD has received new service inquiries for more than 2,000 megawatts of power — more than three times the electricity needed to power all Grant County homes, farms, businesses and industry. Approximately 75 percent of those requests are from cryptocurrency miners.”
Grant PUD detailed:
Rate 17 [Evolving Industry Class] customers will receive a 15-percent increase next year, a 35-percent increase in 2020 and a 50-percent increase in 2021, when the new rate will be fully in effect. Any new evolving-industry customers would come in at the rate-phase in effect at the time they begin operations
Furthermore, the utility added that “each annual increase will be calculated on the difference between what the evolving-industry customer is paying now (per kilowatt hour) and the higher, target rate.”
Tom Flint, a Grant PUD commissioner, told the miners who attended the meeting:
Your industry is unregulated and high-risk…This is the best way to ensure our ratepayers are not impacted by this unregulated, high-risk business.
What do you think of the new energy rate hike for crypto miners? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Grant PUD.
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